What Will You Celebrate? promotion brings new Celebration Dining options to the Disneyland Resort

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

When the "What Will You Celebrate" promotion begins next year, visitors to the Disneyland Resort can choose from a number of special dining options to help celebrate their special occasion. The new offerings range from a "Pop-Up Party Pack" available for purchase at selected restaurants to an romantic three-course "Sweetheart Dinner for Two" served right in the guests' Disneyland Resort hotel room. MousePlanet's Adrienne Vincent Phoenix met with Karlos Siqueiros, manager of concept development for food operations at the Disneyland Resort for a preview of the new offerings for our MousePlanet readers.

The free birthday admission offer that headlines "What Will You Celebrate?" begins on January 1, 2009, while most of the new dining promotions begins a few days later on January 5, once the Resort's "Merriest Place on Earth" holiday promotion ends.

Celebration Meals and Events

My Disneyland Birthday Party – available now

Mickey and Minnie join Pat E. Cake at My Disneyland Birthday Party. Photo © Disney

Under the watchful eye of ebullient event host "Pat E. Cake," each guest at Disneyland's popular daily birthday party decorates a miniature birthday cake with a variety of icing and toppings. Mickey and Minnie make a special appearance at the end of the party, and pose for photographs with party guests. The party will be refreshed in 2009 to better reflect the "What Will You Celebrate?" theme. The current Sorcerer Mickey motif will be retired, and the new graphics make the party hat, sticker and souvenir sipper cup look as if they were "decorated" with icing. A new show element will "freshen" the show for people who have experienced the party before.

Available: Now; updated in Spring 2009. You can book My Disneyland Birthday Party up to 60 days in advance.

Sweetheart Dinner for Two – available January 5, 2009

Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant is the second most-popular spot for marriage proposals at the Disneyland Resort, and the new Sweetheart Dinners for Two were created to meet requests for a special meal to commemorate the occasion. Offered at the Blue Bayou, Napa Rose, Steakhouse 55, Hook's Pointe and Yamabuki, the three-course, prix fixe meals include individual appetizers, individual entree and a shared celebration dessert. Couples order from a specially-designed souvenir menu, and can toast their engagement with a select beverage in a souvenir toasting glass. (Sparkling apple cider is served at the Blue Bayou, the other participating restaurants will also offer champagne and sparkling red wine.) You don't need to plan an engagement surprise to book a Sweetheart Dinner - you can celebrate weddings, anniversaries or any romantic occasion. The Sweetheart Dinner is also available as a room service option at the Disneyland Resort hotels. Pricing varies by restaurant and menu selected.

Available: January 5, 2009. You can book a Sweetheart Dinner for Two at a participating restaurant up to 60 days in advance, though reservations for January dates may not be available right at the 60-day mark. In-room dining options can be booked through Vacation Planning prior to your visit, or through the front desk after you arrive, based on availability.

Celebration Round Up and BBQ at Big Thunder Ranch – available Spring 2009

Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch will be transformed into the Celebration Round Up, where groups can celebrate any special occasion with a BBQ meal served family style. The menu includes BBQ ribs and chicken with traditional side dishes, with vegetarian and gluten-free entrees available on request. Kids will receive a Celebration Sipper cup, and everyone gets a deluxe goodie bag. The meal concludes with dessert, a festive presentation of cupcakes served in waffle cone holders, and carried to the table in an oversized gift-box centerpiece. [I have seen concept art for this dessert presentation, and it's my favorite element of the entire "What Will You Celebrate?" dining offerings]

Big Thunder Ranch will be decorated with a "Celebrate Today" overlay, with live entertainment throughout the meal. Characters will make periodic appearances, but this is not billed as a "Character Meal." The Celebration Round Up and BBQ will be presented daily, weather permitting, and priority seating is recommended. Pricing has not yet been finalized, but expect it to be comparable to character meals.

Available: Spring 2009. You can book the Celebration Round Up and BBQ at Big Thunder Ranch up to 60 days in advance once the opening date is announced.

Celebration Add-Ons

Magical "Pop-Up" Party Pack – available January 5, 2009

This update to the goody bag currently offered at some character meals includes a coloring book, crayons, punch-out party hat and activity cards, all presented with an oversize greeting card that "pops up" to form a colorful table centerpiece. A deluxe version of the Party Pack adds a fun straw and magnetic play set, and is presented in a souvenir bag. The party pack will be offered at all full-service restaurants at the Disneyland Resort, as well as the Blue Ribbon Bakery and Baker's Field Bakery. Pricing has not been finalized.

Available January 5, 2009. The Party Pack can be ordered when you make your Priority Seating reservation, or can be purchased during the meal if available.

My Mini Cake Surprise – available now

Birthday buckets (shown above) will be joined by two new Celebration Boxes. Photo © Disney.

The Sorcerer Mickey birthday bucket currently offered at some Disneyland Resort restaurants will be updated with new graphics, and will be joined by two new Celebration Boxes. The Princess version features a decorated, individual cake in a reusable Princess jewelry box and a magic mirror toy. The Pirate version is served in a souvenir pirate chest, and comes with a lenticular compass. All three versions will be offered at all full-service restaurants at the Disneyland Resort, the Blue Ribbon Bakery and Baker's Field Bakery, Character Dining locations and through room service at the Disneyland Resort hotels. Pricing has not been finalized.

Available: Now (Birthday Buckets); January 5, 2009 (Celebration Boxes). The Mini Cake Surprise can be ordered when you make your Priority Seating reservation, or can be purchased during the meal if available.

Disney Celebration Cakes – available now

A Mickey Mouse-shaped cake is one of the dessert options available with 72-hours advance notice. Photo © Disney.

With a little advance notice (at least 72-hours) you can have a custom bakery cake or Mickey Mouse-shaped cake delivered to any table service restaurant throughout the Disneyland Resort. Custom sheet cakes can be ordered in a variety of themes, and personalized with a basic inscription. A limited selection of cakes is available now, and additional selections will be offered once the Disneyland Resort's new bakery facility, currently under construction behind the Mickey and Friends parking structure, is operational.

Custom sheet cakes are offered in a variety of themes, and can be personalized with a basic inscription. Photo © Disney.

Available: Now (Mickey cake); Spring 2009 (Celebration Cakes). Celebration cakes can be ordered when you make your Priority Seating reservation, and at least 72-hour notice is required for basic cakes. For bigger crowds, and with longer notice, elaborate, customized theme cakes can be ordered through the Disney Events department.

For bigger groups (with bigger budgets), elaborate custom cakes can be created for almost any event. Photo © Disney.

Celebraton Desserts – available January 5, 2009

Some Celebration Desserts can be customized for birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. Photo © Disney.

If you forget to pre-order a cake, most table service restaurants will feature a selection of Celebration Desserts that can quickly be customized with an edible decoration for common celebrations including birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. Self-service and counter-service locations will also offer a selection of desserts with the "Celebrate Today" logo. An expanded selection of low-fat and no-sugar-added desserts will be offered at many locations.

Priority Seating reservations for all table-service restaurants and Character Dining meals can be made up to 60 days in advance by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE (3463).