Tips for celebrating birthdays on Disney Cruise Line ships


As you read this, my family and I are (finally) sailing on the Disney Dream somewhere in the Bahamas. As you can imagine, we have been counting the days and anticipating the fun for months!


The impetus for booking a three-night trip on the Disney Dream was mostly to celebrate the kids’ birthdays. My son turned 14 on Thursday, and my daughter is 12 as of yesterday, our departure date. So, how are we celebrating their birthdays onboard?

** First, soon after making our reservations, I requested that Disney Cruise Line note in our reservation that we are celebrating the kids’ birthdays. I was asked which night we would like to celebrate at dinner because our servers will bring each child a complimentary dessert that is not on the regular menu, and the presentation usually includes the traditional singing. It’s a fun way to make birthdays special. (Actual birthday cakes can be ordered ahead of time through Disney Cruise Line for an additional charge.)

** At Port Canaveral, we asked for complimentary Disney Cruise Line buttons when we checked in. (You can also go to Guest Relations on the ship.) Don’t underestimate these buttons: My kids love wearing them because cast members and even guests will say “Happy Birthday” all day long. Plus, you never know when some extra pixie dust may be sprinkled for special occasions!

** Once we got into our stateroom, I decorated the door with our family magnets. I have updated our collection to include birthday greetings for each child. Plus, I made a personalized birthday sign to hang from the Fish Extender hook next to the door.

** For the first time, I also ordered one of the room-decorating packages from Disney Cruise Line. There is a birthday package, but I opted for the Halloween package because it has more components, including some things that will make nice souvenirs for the kids. And, after all, we are sailing on a Halloween on the High Seas cruise. The package consists of five dangling signs, a window cling, a large magnet, a pillow and a small black tree that lights up. On the card, I wrote, “Happy Spooky Birthday!” Originally, I had planned to bring items to decorate the stateroom myself, but then I learned that adhering items has to be done with magnets (just like stateroom doors) to prevent damage or you risk a $100 fine. While that still was possible if I wanted to attach magnets to everything, I opted to go with the easier route. Plus, the room is decorated upon arrival, which is a great surprise.

** We allowed each child to choose one extra activity during the cruise. My daughter wanted to go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the Celebration Package, which comes with a tutu and T-shirt and is a little more grown-up than a princess dress for a 12-year-old. My chose riding on a jet ski with his dad at Castaway Cay. Both kids picked something they have never done on a Disney cruise, so I know they are excited.

** Finally, we gave each child a small bag of cruise-themed goodies the day before we sailed. I ordered reusable Disney Cruise Line tote bags and picture frames from the Shop Disney Parks app. (Cruise merchandise also is available through I made Halloween on the High Seas journals by printing pages at home and having them bound at an office-supply store. I also ordered a personalized design through an Etsy shop to create magnets for the Castaway Cay 5K, which we plan to run for the first time. (I haven’t heard of official 5K magnets being sold on the island.) Because we are Walt Disney World annual passholders and I am in the parks frequently, I purchased some mystery pin packs to give the kids starter pins to trade on the ship. And each child received a certificate for money they can spend on souvenirs.

Do you have a favorite way to celebrate birthdays when traveling with Disney Cruise Line? Tell us about it in the comments, please.


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2 Replies to “Tips for celebrating birthdays on Disney Cruise Line ships”

  1. This was great to read with nice ideas. We will be celebrating my son’s 18th birthday on our next voyage! It’s a big Birthday and want it to be extra special, as if just celebrating a birthday aboard the ship isn’t special enough. I read you can order a cake from sweet treats on the Fantasy. Will have to look into that. and of course decorate stateroom. Thanks for article!

  2. We celebrated my son’s 10th birthday at WDW. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge for our first visit as a family. That morning he put his “birthday pin” on and we took the bus service to Epcot. On the bus, our driver saw his pin and made a wonderful deal out of it. He had everyone on the bus sing “happy birthday” to him and at every stop the person entering the bus would walk up to him and say “happy birthday” before they could sit down. When we arrived he had a pirate bandana that he gave my son. We got to Epcot early for a character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine where they gave him a card signed by all the characters. He went to Jedi Training after that. We rode a few rides and headed back to the hotel. My husband took him to the arcade and I decorated his bed with balloons and streamers. I also set up a couple of toys we bought for him at the hotel shop.

    We had such a good time that we promised our daughter to go on her 10th birthday too. So we are leaving on a land and sea trip this May!