Celebrating a Birthday at a Theme Park
Theme parks offer a variety of packages for parents looking for someplace a little more special than the backyard for a special celebration.
Written by Robert Niles
I'm taking a little break from the theme park tour this week. But here's a look at theme park birthdays while I recover....Tweet
Spending the day at a theme park marks a special occasion in itself for most visitors. But theme parks also provide many ways for people to celebrate other special occasions. Such as birthdays.
Granted, a theme park birthday party isn't the cheapest way to celebrate another year in a child's life. Baking a cake and hosting the kids in your backyard will always cost less money than hauling the gang off to a theme park. But the theme park birthday has its advantages. First, you'll return home to a backyard unspoiled by a throng of partying children. And no one will be able to top your child for birthday party bragging rights for a long time. In a moment, I'll throw the page open to parents who held birthday parties in theme parks. But let's start with a look at some of your options.
In Southern California, one of the better deals can be had at Legoland California, north of San Diego in Carlsbad. Legoland's Ultimate Birthday Party actually gets invitees into the park for less than the cost of a regular Legoland admission. In a sense, it is as if Legoland's paying you to have a party. The package runs $31.95 per person and includes park admission, as well as the party in your choice of one of three Legoland restaurants. Compare that to Legoland's regular admission prices of $43.95 for adults and $36.95 for kids. The party itself includes:
The meal depends upon the restaurant you choose: pizza or pasta at Ristorante Brickolini, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese or chicken tenders at Fun Town Market, or pork ribs, chicken tenders or hamburgers at Knight's Table. The party price is discounted to $12.50 for each partygoer with a Legoland annual pass, since they've already paid for admission to the park. Legoland accepts party reservations at 760-918-KIDS.
TPI kid Natalie Niles celebrates her birthday at Disneyland's Plaza Inn.
Knott's Berry Farm
This Orange County park offers birthday parties in its Camp Snoopy children's section. As at Legoland, the package includes both park admission and a meal. The Knott's parties happen at the Lucy's Lunchbox restaurant in Camp Snoopy and include:
The Knott's deluxe birthday package costs $25 per child and $35 per adult, and includes park admission. Knott's regular prices are $12.95 for kids and $43 for adults, through Southern California adults who show ID at the gate can get in for $26.95. Knott's requests that reservations be made at least four weeks in advance, so that tickets can be mailed in time. A deposit is required and arrangements can be made by calling 714-220-5298 between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m (Pacific Time) Monday through Friday.
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld offers more than the typical lunch-time party, with guided tours providing the highlight of its birthday celebrations. SeaWorld's packages include:
A one-hour tour package costs $285 for up to 25 people, and a two-hour will set you back $445. Neither tour includes park admission, but SeaWorld offers discounted admission tickets for partygoers for $26 (adults and kids). SeaWorld annual passholders can get a 20 percent discount on the price of the tour package, though not the admission tickets. SeaWorld San Diego accepts tour reservations at 619-225-4271.
Disneyland Park does not offer the private parties available at other parks, but it does offer a communal birthday party at the Plaza Inn. For $10 per person (on top of park admission), guests get a party hat, sipper cup and individual birthday cake which they can decorate themselves. Mickey and Minnie appear for photos and park hosts lead the guests in songs. Advance reservations are not required, but can be made by calling 714-781-DINE or by visiting the Plaza Inn or City Hall. Disneyland also sells "birthday buckets" in princess, Sorcerer Mickey, Buzz Lightyear and Pooh designs, available at select hotel restaurants and through room service. The buckets cost $20 each and include an individual birthday cake, a toy, stickers and a Disney birthday pin. Call Disney's dining reservations line 714-781-DINE to order.
Have you held a birthday party in a theme park? Tell us about your experience. Was the party worth the expense? Would you do it again? If so, what advice would you give other parents?
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