Ideas for a Disney Surprise Splurge

OK… Not sure why I just started thinking about this, but I guess this is what happens when you have 11 months to plan and planning becomes part of the experience…

So here’s the deal. DW turns 40 3 weeks before our trip in May. She threw a nice evening out for me for mine earlier this month, but is adament she does not want anything like that. She is not into outward celebrations of her birthday in a big group.

What she is into is Disney and this trip. So it got me thinking… What about a surprise experience on our trip to celebrate, after all, it is only a few weeks later.

So here I am, looking to my fellow TP’s for some outstanding ideas. Here is the box I am drawing around this along with info that may help:

  • Family is me, DW, DD (9), DS (7)

  • We already planned meals for the trip as a family and all picked something special for us. So not looking for just a big celebration meal.

  • A family event surprise would mean the most to her, we are at Disney, she would prefer family time over pampering for herself.

  • Not a foodie, but has a sweet tooth.

  • Her favorite park is MK, loves HEA, likely still likes princesses more than my DD9.

  • Likes most rides at disney other than large coaster like RNRC, tolerates everest.

  • Always wants to be on the run at Disney and see as much as possible within time we have.

  • We will have park hoppers, so we will have park flexibility. Not sure if after hours event would really be a big hit for family, or provide much TP relief, since we have plenty of time this trip and hoppers.

  • Budget of around $1000 or less for the surprise.

What will create that never forget magical experience?

Feel free to ask any questions if there is something you don’t think I covered that will help. Figured if nothing else, this will help bridge me nothing else to plan time until more info on MMRR comes out and my FPP day gets here…

Fire away, let’s hear the magical ideas friends.

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Side question, is 3 weeks later too late to let Disney know we are celebrating her 40th?

Maybe one of the VIP tours? The Animal Kingdom one is about $250 per person

Or the Signature Celebration Package at Cinderella’s Royal Table? $200 per adult, $170 per child:

Or maybe a private fireworks cruise? You can cater desserts for the cruise.


I was going to say a VIP tour too. I looked at this one.
You are so thoughtful! Whatever you decide will be a great surprise. You can tell Disney you’re celebrating her birthday. You don’t have to celebrate on the specific day.


Might not be the most romantic thing, but I know my DW would love it!

Guided Fishing Excursions


Definitely look at all the special tours – there is Wild Africa (but your 7 year old may be too young), or Savor the Savannah.

Or the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party. I did that one year for my daughter’s 20th birthday – we let guest services know ahead of time that it was abirthday celebration and we got a reserved table at the front. Or one of the dessert parties at the other parks – I’ve never done the Frozen Ever After one at Epcot but it gets great reviews.

Or dinner at California Grill timed to see the MK fireworks?


Fantasyland Early Morning Magic might do the trick- one hour and fifteen minutes of unfettered access to key Fantasyland rides (7DMT, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Ariel’s Under the Sea ride, for example) as well as a Princess meet and greet. Only a few hundred people are admitted between 07:45 and 09:00. Breakfast is included and served at Cosmic Rays until 10:00. Between 09:00 and 09:45, you can rope drop some rides and you’ll still have 3 FPPs to use, too. It’s pricey and can be booked through Disney’s dining reservations section on the website.

Also, Disney will give you a birthday button if you’re there to celebrate irrespective of when the birthday took/is taking place.

Enjoy the planning!


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I knew I could count on the liners! Some of these i thought of, but some I never heard of!!

Keep them coming.

My hubby gifted me a couples massage and Victoria and Albert’s reservation for our upcoming trip!


I think a fireworks cruise that is private would help alleviate the big surprise without being Embarrassing ( I’m also not a surprise person but that is something I could live with). I think 7 is too young for most of the tours. A dessert party would be easy. Or an EMM or DAH.

Personally I’d love to just do HDDR for my birthday.

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Some great ideas here. Follow up questions for you or anyone else who may have some experience or an opinion.

  1. Tour - Anyone have experience with this tour vs an After Hours event. Was initially thinking after hours wouldn’t be the best use of this…but 4 hour tour with 1 ride on each of the main attractions vs 3 hours of lower lines and ability to ride what and how much you want at a lower price point… Thoughts on the value and experience of the two experiences?

  2. Tour Question #2…and I’m going to break another rule, lol…Any thoughts on the value of the AK tour at $250 each vs the Ultimate Day of Thrills for another $100 pp? In reading both, pick up 3 more hours, lunch, and major headlines at MK & HS (minus the new rides)…hmmm, Disney knows how to get you to stretch to the max when looking at these things don’t they…

  3. We did CRT last trip for my daughter and liked it, but really thought it was 1 and done…but you have me thinking here with the SCP. Was considering a Desert party already and your going to eat somewhere that night. Even if it is QS, your talking $50 - $60. This plus the Desert Party expense, and I’d be over 1/2 the cost of this…so it’s like getting 1/2 off right?? See how I can justify about anything if I put my mind to it… In all seriousness, for a Firework surprise, this could sounds like it would be right up her ally.

  4. Never mind on the Cruise Info, found it on Disney’s site.

We splurged and did the MK fireworks dessert party on our November trip and it was fantastic. Just having a seat away from the crush of people and a peaceful place to enjoy the fireworks was delightful, and the desserts were lovely and fun. If your wife likes HEA this would be a wonderful birthday gift!

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Did you do the one with seating at Tomorrowland Terrace or the one with standing room in the Garden Plaza?

If you did the one with the seating, do you feel it was worth the extra $ to have the seating and was your family at their own table or were you sitting with others?

How about attempting 4 parks in 1 day, but gearing the “must do” at each park to her preferences: princess meet/greet, special souvenir, signature sweet treat, and classic/family ride. Put your budget toward matching shirts, the treats/gifts, and making a checklist for that day. It won’t cost as much as you have budgeted but it will take time to plan and that might mean more than the money. If you have your heart set on spending, splurge on her favorite dinner that night and a down day with massage for her the next day while you watch the kids.


I think a private fireworks cruise would be amazing and looks like it fits the budget, probably with room to add some catered desserts. Family time and romantic at the same time!


I was going to say a tour or a dessert party, too.

What about something like Cirque de Soleil? It’s not Disney, but it’s on Disney property (Disney Springs)?

Or how about a hotel upgrade for a night or two, if you’re into moving hotels, that is.

If you had more to spend, I’d suggest tacking on a 3 day cruise on the Dream.


This is on the less expensive end of your plans, though an expensive addition for what it is. That said, it was a really great indulgence for my spouse on a quick trip down to help us deal with a scary diagnosis. I surprised her with a Minnie Van to and from Orlando airport. Yes, I know that the Magical Express is free, and yes, I had to swallow hard before ponying up $155 plus tip. But we were treated like royalty, had an amazing driver, snacks in the car, and an overall wonderful transportation experience.


I put on my googles and so many people have had such magical birthdays! Mainly by wearing the pin you can get from guest services. Not sure if she’s up for that level of attention, though.

Here are a few fun ideas…

Bring an oversized birthday card and use it to collect character signatures. It would be such a fun keepsake!

Carriage ride at Port Orleans

Princess Tea at GF…

Or the more grown up one

I think I read somewhere if you have certain times of CRT reservations, you end up watching the fireworks from inside the castle? You miss the projections, but it’s a unique vantage point.

Pixie Event planners? I guess they set up engagement and birthday surprises and whatnot?


Or a hot air balloon or helicopter tour? Some of the helicopter tours they time to catch multiple fireworks shows.

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How does she feel about water. My DH, DS and DGD did the Aqua Tour. It’s snorkeling in the big tank at EPCOT. They loved it!