No matter how you feel about getting older, everyone loves freebies. Every day, families visit Walt Disney World to celebrate birthdays for kids, loved ones, or just to have a "treat-yo-self" day trip to soak in the magic. You may assume that you have to spend big bucks on a fancy dinner to get the full Disney birthday experience.
In truth, you can enjoy an entire day of birthday freebies if you do your homework ahead of time. Here’s the top ten birthday goodies we found at Walt Disney World—including some that you won’t even need a park ticket for!
1. The all-important celebration button
Ah, the Disney celebration buttons. It’s easy to ignore these all-important badges of honor. After all, at any given time, 1/12th of other park guests who have a birthday the same month are also wearing one, and many guests wear them even if they’re not celebrating anything. Are they still worth it?
Yes. Absolutely, yes.
Your birthday celebration button is a great big flag to cast members to direct Disney magic your way. This could be as simple as wishing you happy birthday as you pass through the parks, but it could also mean freebies. In the case of almost all the freebies below, your birthday celebration button will help ensure you have the best chance possible of getting some extra birthday love. If you’re staying at a Disney resort (or are just passing through one), you can pick up a button from the front desk. If you get your button from the Polynesian Resort, you might even get a free lei! If not, stop by Guest Relations in any of the parks or at Disney Springs to pick one up.
2. Free ICEE at Club Cool
Epcot cast members love pointing guests to Club Cool, and it’s not just to see their faces when they try the dreaded “Beverly” soda. It’s partially because birthday guests get a double dose of freebies at Club Cool.
First, you get access to the free soda samples all guests enjoy. Try them all and have your camera ready if your friends try the aforementioned horror-seltzer, Beverly. This moment alone will provide a birthday memory (and blackmail) to last a lifetime.
Second, if you visit the counter, Club Cool gives all birthday visitors a free ICEE in a flavor of your choosing. It’s the perfect treat for a sweltering day, and they don’t skimp on the size either!
3. Free dessert at many Disney restaurants
The most popular birthday freebie at Walt Disney World is also the most random. At any given sit-down restaurant, birthday guests at Walt Disney World have a pretty good chance of getting a free celebratory dessert. Usually, this ends up being a slice of cake, sundae, or cupcake, though some of the fancier restaurants might go more all-out.
The trick here is to have your celebration button visible and be very friendly and engaging with your server. It also can’t hurt to have a birthday during the off-season since cast members are less pressed for time. My husband and I usually engage cast members in conversation but are both shy about mentioning it’s our birthday. Often, just having the button visible gets the job done, and we’ve enjoyed beautiful birthday treats at Rose and Crown Pub, Spice Road Table, Boma, and Tutto Italia. Mentioning our anniversary also worked at Portobello.
The dessert is usually unique for birthday guests, so if you’re planning on ordering something specific (like any of the mouth-watering desserts at Jungle Navigation Skipper Canteen), it most likely will not be comped. Getting freebies at restaurants is always a little bit of a gamble but having a great rapport with your server goes a long way. Definitely tip them well!