Tips and Tricks for Celebrating at Walt Disney World!

Yesterday was my dear husband’s birthday, so it seems like a great time to talk about celebrations!

Disney World vacations are kind of a big deal. Whether you’re traveling for a first visit, birthday, anniversary, reunion, graduation, or just for fun, there’s always something to celebrate. Disney likes to know about all of your celebrations to share in your joy and excitement. This starts immediately with the planning phase of your trip. When you book your trip, you are able to notify Disney of any celebrations during your trip. If booking with a travel agent, they are able to note these for you. EVERYONE is celebrating something at Disney World. I try not to let anyone go to Disney without some sort of button. Available celebrations are:

  • Birthdayimcelebrating
  • Anniversary
  • Engagement
  • First Visit
  • Honeymoon
  • Reunion
  • Wedding
  • Graduation
  • Personal Triumph
  • Other

The “other” option won’t let you free text, but you’ll know you’re celebrating something! For birthday and anniversary, you also have the option to provide an age or # of years married for anniversary.

Additionally, I like to call Disney Dining after I make reservations for my clients to make sure their celebration is noted on their dining. We celebrated my birthday a few years ago at California Grill in Contemporary Resort. In addition to a wonderful meal, our table was set especially for us and decorated with some Mickey Confetti (which I won’t lie, I took some with and stashed it in my purse!)

Button, button, who’s got the button?

Once you arrive at your Disney resort, a cast member will provide you with a special button just for your celebration. There are available buttons for almost every situation listed above. For birthday buttons, there is a space to add a name for cast members and other guests to wish you a happy birthday during your entire trip. I wish I would have kept count of how many times I was wished happy birthday. It was well over 100 in our 5 night vacation. I even took the button off for awhile, too! If you are not offered a button on check in, ask for one! You can’t be celebrated if no one knows about it! Sometimes there’s an oversight on the cast member checking you in, but typically it’s park of the whole magical process. If you don’t want the recognition for whatever event you’re celebrating, stash your button in your luggage and take it home as a keepsake!

If you’re not staying on Disney property or you didn’t get a button on check in, head over to City Hall in Magic Kingdom. There are similar locations at EVERY theme park to get a celebration  button.

What does the celebrating at Disney get me?CG dessert

Buttons are meant for recognition and allowing others to celebrate with you. Don’t expect anything for free, but I’d suggest wearing them throughout your vacation. During our stay, we had 5 dining reservations (2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners). Our first dinner: California Grill came with confetti as well as a free dessert. The breakfasts were just standard meals, lunch came with a birthday card as well as an embarrassing rendition of happy birthday sung by the entire restaurant, and the last dinner was just a run of the mill meal. It was definitely more than I was expecting, but appreciated nonetheless. It’s also worth noting that we were NOT in Disney’s Dining Plan which makes giving a free dessert much easier. I have heard stories of people celebrating honeymoons or anniversaries receiving free champagne from some of the signature restaurants.

I had a great client celebrate her birthday while on the deluxe dining plan and she received a birthday cupcake or a candle or something special in her dessert at every restaurant (even sometimes a cupcake at breakfast!) It was a really special experience!

Having a special celebration listed on your reservation or wearing a celebration button may give you an advantage for making magic! I’ve heard stories of guests receiving room upgrades for celebrating a honeymoon, getting chosen for special events around the theme parks because of a kid’s birthday button, and just a little extra pixie dust by getting VIP seating for a parade or fireworks. Don’t expect any of these things and remember, kindness gets you everywhere!

What can I do for my loved one’s celebration?

Disney has many opportunities to provide additional ways to celebrate your family and friends during your Disney vacation. Disney World Floral does room and gift delivery for any celebration. You can choose from a pre-made gift basket or create your own through Disney Floral and Gifts.  You can also order a cake for delivery either in your room or for one of your dining reservations. Un-decorated cakes are available at a handful of restaurants and can be ordered when you arrive for your reservation. If you are dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, they have some special options for cake and unique gifting options as well!

MinnieBoxThe Minnie Box

Magical Vacations, LLC offers a special gift (for qualifying packages)! It’s called The Minnie Box. This special box is just a little added bonus and is the signature of our little family. As with every travel group, there are minimum dollar value requirements, but it’s pretty reasonable. The Minnie Box is different for each family. I received one before departed for our vacation as a special surprise including a special welcome and happy birthday from one of my favorite Disney Characters, Gaston! This also included a specialized Magical Vacations itinerary to help you get through the most attractions in the least amount of time. Did you know that a “good” day at Disney is about 8 attractions? Our first Magic Kingdom day, we got through 14 (including a few repeats) which is an incredibly successful day. We also enjoyed lunch at Be Our Guest. We also received some special Pixie Dust to sprinkle on our already Magical trip!

Let’s celebrate!

Ready to get started planning your 2016Disney World CELEBRATION vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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A room with a view at your Disney World resort!

Disney World offers so many available resorts and room options that it can be hard to choose.Something that many guests (including me) consider is a room with a view! Disney allows you to book in many different booking categories in each resort which often makes the process of dissecting all of your options even more challenging – once you’ve decided on a resort or two to look into, you now have an additional 4 or more room views to choose from.

Each resort has a “standard view’ or “standard room” which means different things at different location. At the Yacht & Beach Club as well as Wilderness Lodge, a standard view typically overlooks the parking lot or a service area. At Pop Century, your standard room can overlook the lake toward Art of Animation or the parking lot. At value resorts (and to a certain extent moderate resorts), it’s more about location than it is about view out your window since you won’t have a private balcony. And a standard room at Port Orleans French Quarter is typically of the grounds or walkways based on the general layout of the resort. Having a room with a view is most important in the deluxe resort and deluxe villa category because you have that balcony to sit out on (or escape the quiet and darkness of a child taking a nap). It’s a nice place to have coffee in the morning or to check on work (yes, work on vacation)!

So you want a room with a view, it depends on what type of view you want (and how to ask for it)! All Disney resorts accept room requests which starts with online check in and the basic options. You (or your travel agent) may call Disney reservations via phone and make verbal requests as well. Some of these requests would be along the lines of “room facing Magic Kingdom/Contemporary” at Wilderness Lodge or “room near walkway to Epcot” at Beach Club. Generally, keeping in more generalities instead of making a request for a specific room is most effective because if that room is not available, you’re leaving the room assigner with limited information of why you choose that room.

The best view in the house - Magic Kingdom from your balcony (view from Contemporary resort but similar views available at Grand Floridian & Polynesian)

The best view in the house – Magic Kingdom from your balcony (view from Contemporary resort but similar views available at Grand Floridian & Polynesian)

In the Magic Kingdom area, you can book rooms with a “theme park view” which is a direct view from your balcony of Magic Kingdom. This is a specific booking category at Contemporary & Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian and obviously comes at a bit of an advanced price. Something can be said for being able to open your curtains or step out onto your balcony and see the entire fireworks show or wake up to Cinderella’s Castle. If that price tag is a bit steep for you, can book in a lower category and use the public viewing areas in any of those resorts to get the same view (but I’m happy to watch in my PJs and then draw the curtains and crash into bed!) A lesser known option (and one of my favorites) are the standard rooms at Wilderness Lodge – requesting a room that faces Contemporary/Magic Kingdom. Some of the upper rooms will allow you to see most of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. While there’s no music piped into your room, it’s still a great way to catch the magic every day. For the best views, book a club level room because that will put you on the 7th floor and you have a club level concierge to speak with to appropriately make your room requests in a manner that they will understand and help assist. Please be aware that all room requests are not a guarantee, so if 30 people requests that same view, only 8 of them may be accommodated because of availability.

Panoramic view of Bay Lake View at Contemporary Resort

Panoramic view of Bay Lake View at Contemporary Resort

Staying in the Magic Kingdom area, you also have the option to book a lake or lagoon view depending on your resort. These rooms are often peaceful with the view of the water (At Contemporary & Bay Lake Tower it’s a view of Bay Lake) and at Grand Floridian & Polynesian Village, it’s a view of Seven Seas Lagoon (some of these rooms may offer you a glimpse of Magic Kingdom but not enough for Disney to classify it as a “theme park view”).

Part of the 'courtyard' view area at Wilderness Lodge

Part of the ‘courtyard’ view area at Wilderness Lodge

At Wilderness Lodge, your options are completely different – you can choose from woods or courtyard views which offer you views of the tree-lined area of the resort or toward the center of the resort overlooking the pool and courtyard. Some of these rooms can be quite noisy as an upgrade, but they did a really wonderful job designing the resort (as well as all of the resorts), so many guests truly enjoy the experience!

In the Epcot resort area, you typically have an option of standard view (as mentioned above), garden or woods view (which is typically landscaping/vegetation), as well as lagoon/pool view. These rooms will either overlook the resort’s pools at either Yacht & Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn/Villas (based on the resort you are staying in) or Crescent Lake which is the waterway separating these resorts. Boardwalk also offers a “Boardwalk View” which is of the bustling area with shopping, dining and nightlife. I’ve been told these rooms can get quite noisy (we haven’t booked one simply because of that fact – we prefer to “get away from it all” when we get back to our room in the evening!)

What about Animal Kingdom Lodge? There are lots of options available! You have the standard view (again, service
area or parking lot) as well as pool view and my favorites – Savanna and Arusha view. This gives you direct viewing area of the animals that live on the property. Typically the animals available are based on the area of the resort you are staying in so if your daughter loves giraffes, make sure you know where they are on property and make the best room choice and appropriate room request. This is a great resort for families with little ones or those that want a day or two off from the parks as it gives you a lot to look at outside of water or the parks if you’re not going inside that day!

Do you NEED a room with a view? Definitely not. We’ve stayed in standard view rooms and stepped out onto our balcony and had a big tree blocking it or looked down at the convention center but those were trips where convenience of resort location mattered more than being in the resort. As we become more seasoned (and let’s face it, more spoiled) with everything Disney has to offer, view and location are both important so we typically opt for the view. I have a kiddo who doesn’t like fireworks at the moment (hopefully as she gets older that will subside), so if I can see them from my balcony it’s a huge bonus to me (or if we can slowly introduce them to her at a distance without a huge boom, it’s a win!) We’re also a family that takes breaks during the day, so going back to the resort and having a nice place to rest is important as well! If you are choosing a deluxe resort, it’s worth the consideration of choosing a room with a view!!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation and finding your perfect view? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!