About the Column

Congratulations! You're going to Disney World, the Happiest Place on Earth! Now what? Do you have a plan? Do you know what to expect? Are you determined to 'see it all' - or die trying? Lesley Sawhook has been there, done that so many times that in her sleep she counts marching Mickeys, not leaping sheep. Her years of experience as a Disney mom, a Disney planner, and now a Disney Certified Travel Agent uniquely qualify her to dispense the Happiest Tips on Earth. Learn from Lesley how to have the Happiest Time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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FROM: Happiest Tips on Earth Published Fridays

Birthday Freebies at Disney World

For this week's Happiest Tips on Earth, enjoy (or tolerate) a special surprise appearance by Bob McLain as he shares his happiest tips for having the happiest birthday, ever, in Disney World - for free! And it's not even his birthday!

Around the age of 34, birthdays lost their sparkle.

When I was a child, my parents loved to celebrate my birthdays because each one meant I was a year closer to their getting me out of the house. Nowadays, I'm not in the best mood when I wake up knowing I have to set my internal clock ahead one year.

Except, of course, at Disney World!

Did you know that Disney World wants to make your next birthday the happiest birthday on earth? True story! All you have to do is let them know it's your special day.

Here are my happiest tips for the happiest birthday in the happiest place on earth.

Happiest Tip: Get the Button

At City Hall in the Magic Kingdom, or at any Guest Relations area in the other parks, you can ask for a free "It's My Birthday!" button. Wear it conspicuously. Cast Members will wish you happy birthday, and you might luck out in a table- or counter-service restaurant with a free dessert or even a free drink if you're of drinking age.

Happiest Tip: Take the Call

While you're at City Hall in the Magic Kingdom, look for (or ask about) the Goofy phone. When you find it, have your birthday boy or girl pick it up. Goofy will be on the other end with a recorded happy birthday message.

Happiest Tip: Shout It from the Rooftops

Even though you're wearing a birthday button, make sure you tell everyone it's your birthday: tell the folks at the front desk of your resort, tell the person who takes you to your table at a restaurant, tell your server, tell Cast Members, tell 'em all!

The more people who know it's your birthday, the more chances you'll have of someone conjuring up Disney magic. Remember, not all Cast Members are equal: most love making your day magical, but others are more passive.

Happiest Tip: Don't Ask

I once saw someone wearing not one but two birthday buttons ahead of me in line at a Disney store. When she got to the register, she asked for the 'birthday discount'. Of course, there isn't a birthday discount, and she didn't get one.

I've also overheard guests asking Cast Members outside busy rides whether they can be taken to the front of the line because it's their birthday. Nope!

Other than it being tacky, asking for birthday magic likely will get you none. Just wear the button. If the magic is supposed to happen, it'll happen.

Happiest Tip: Don't Cheat

This isn't a tip, really, it's more of an injunction: which, of course, you can ignore, since I'm not your priest or your therapist!

Even if it's not your birthday, you can get a birthday button and tell everyone it is. Cast Members will make a big fuss over you and undoubtedly 'award' you with free cookies, cake, sundaes, and other freebies in celebration of your big (but phony) day.

Do people really do that? What do you think.

Happy Birthday!

Lesley's Exclusive Food & Wine Festival Vacation Deal

The Happiest Tips on Earth can only get you part-way to the Happiest Place on Earth. For the rest, you need Destination Magic. Drop Lesley a line and see what magic she can make for you when you're planning your next Disney trip!

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