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Brian Bennett

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Birthday /Anniversary Trip!

Patricia A Thorpe sent me the following note:

...My tip is this: If your traveling party includes anyone with a birthday during the time of visiting Orlando (not just at WDW and I'll tell you why in a minute) and the birthday boy or girl is not shy, proclaim it loudly - when making hotel reservations, PS arrangements, etc. You'll be surprised what might happen!

My daughter-in-law had her heart set on the Medieval Times dinner theater. That is going to be our one off-property foray into the real world and it's the day we arrive. The whole point of this trip is to celebrate my 50th birthday so when I made the reservations, I said that, since it was my birthday, I wanted to be Queen of the realm for that evening. Imagine my surprise when I found out that I not only get a birthday cake, but my dinner is free, and our party gets special seating arrangements. Cool, huh? Not exactly Queen of the realm, but it will suffice.

Thanks to the great calendar on the MousePlanet site, I was able to learn that my favorite parade, the MSEP, will be running one night only during our visit. I learned somewhere on the net also that the porch of the Liberty Tree Tavern is a great spot to catch this parade. So, for that one night, Nov. 3, we have 4:15 Priority Seating at the Liberty Tree Tavern and we'll be able to enjoy the fabulous turkey dinner in a relaxed manner, and then watch the parade!  I also made sure to let the WDW-DINE operator know that I was celebrating my birthday, too!

Since Barb and I tend to be more on the withdrawn side when we're on vacation, so we've never really tried this approach.   However, I've heard of many other folks at WDW getting special treatment when they let Cast Members know about their special events.

MousePlanet reader Carrie Hayward shared this note:

In your latest update, I noticed several people asking about things they could do to celebrate special occasions while at WDW. You might let them know about Pixie Gifts, a service which can help them arrange just about any kind of surprise during their trip.

And finally, another reader, Ken Hughes wrote:

Randy wrote in asking about what Disney "normally" does for anniversaries.  Having spent only one anniversary at WDW, I dunno if our experience was normal or just unusually charmed. My advice is to tell tell tell. Don't be pushy about it AT the parks, but tell every CM you speak with on the phone before you leave. Get them to note it in the computer. When making our room reservations and PS requests I told everyone I could tell that our tip was for our 5th wedding anniversary and that it was also the honeymoon we never had, and the first real vacation we'd ever taken together. I plan to write up a full trip report one of these days, but pertinent to Randy's question:

When we checked in, the CM at the reception desk @ the WL wished us a happy anniversary and upgraded our room to a courtyard view without even telling us he was doing so. (This was right after the Sept. 11 events. To be fair, he had his choice of suddenly empty rooms to offer us. Our nation's tragedy had at least a tiny silver lining for us at that moment). I had booked a "wooded view" room just so we didn't have to look at the parking lot, and instead we had the most awesome view of Bay Lake.

We had dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, and we waited a little longer for our table than I thought was appropriate - but when they seated us I understood why. They gave us the table at the huge window overlooking Fantasyland, and subtly paced our meal a little slower so that we'd be enjoying our dessert just as the fireworks started. I was hoping to linger long enough to see them from inside the castle anyway, but someone saw the note in our PS that it was a special occasion and took care of us without a word spoken. We were the envy of everyone in the place as we had THE view - they all had to crane their necks or turn around for a little glimpse. We could see the whole show. After the fireworks, our wonderful waiter asked the usual "where are you from, what brings you to WDW, etc." When he learned that we were celebrating our anniversary st WDW after two abortive attempts, he congratulated us heartily and later, brought a mysterious box with our check - "A gift from all of us," he said. It turned out to be a pair of etched/engraved champagne flutes.

Later in the week, a somewhat tense mob tried to get waterside tables at the Rose & Crown @ Epcot for Illuminations. We checked in with our PS and the CM saw the note again, and winked. "It might be a minute or two more, but we'll look after you," he said. After a much shorter wait than his comment led us to expect, a host led us to a table, joking, "I know you'd rather sit indoors, but this is all we have at the moment." He led us to a table right at the water where we had a completely unobstructed view of Illuminations.

Even the waiter who served us lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby @ the Studios wished us a happy anniversary and gave us a small dessert to share, on the house.

Tell them all about your special occasion, until you're sure the reservations and PS CMs are sick of hearing about it. Cutbacks or not, there are still many jewel CMs who genuinely want to make you smile. When the info is in the computer already rather than you standing there telling them, they have the opportunity to "plus it" for you and offer pleasant surprises instead of accommodating your on-the-spot request. It's a subtle difference but for us it made some priceless memories we'll always have. It wouldn't be the same somehow if we had -asked- for extra pixie dust.


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