Theme Park Insider

Join us for a Theme Park Insider's birthday adventure!

October 25, 2016, 9:24 PM · If you could ditch work for the day and head to the parks, what would you do?

Okay, covering theme parks is my job, but I always welcome the opportunity to visit the parks just for fun. Since today was my birthday, I decided to leave the computer at home for the day and hit up some of my favorites at the local theme parks. And I invited our Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers to follow along on our Twitter and Instagram accounts. Here's what I did!

I decided to start with the Disneyland versions of the rides I used to work back when I was a Walt Disney World cast member. But Disneyland's Thunder is even better than the Magic Kingdom version where I worked, thanks to its plussed finale (which will be debuting in Orlando soon).

There's even a quick look at the future from the top of the "B" lift.

There's a glimpse of Star Wars Land from the top of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland.

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Sure, I like Thunder. But I love Pirates.

But if you know me, you know where my heart lies in any Magic Kingdom.

Unfortunately, my all-time favorite place in the park is closed til next summer. ?? #disneyland #tomsawyerisland

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I turned around and accepted my consolation prize.

As much as I love Disneyland — the first theme park I ever visited — I had other things on my birthday to-do list.

We drew Phineas and Ferb today, which I've probably done more than any other characters at Animation Academy. Perhaps I was trying to be too cute, but it wasn't my best work today. (Follow the instructions, friends!) But I had fun, as always.

Of course, I wanted a birthday button, but the line to get one outside City Hall in Disneyland might have been the longest I'd faced all day. Fortunately, I knew a Theme Park Insider's tip.

Pro tip: There's no wait for birthday buttons at California Adventure. The wait was looooong over at Disneyland!

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Two parks on one day? That's normal. But this is supposed to be a special day, so I did something that Orlando theme park fans might take for granted, but Southern Californians might find crazy.

You know where I'm going with this!

Next stop on today's birthday tour - #wizardingworldofharrypotter #universalstudios

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I know I'd been out playing all day, but at some point I guess I had to acknowledge that this was a Tuesday.

After my trip on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, I decided to pick up a Universal birthday button to go with the one from Disney. And in the Guest Relations office, I discovered something I'd never seen before in a Universal theme park.

I wished I could have kept going until close, but even on a birthday, certain responsibilities can't be skipped.

Time to pick up my son from school, so calling it a day. Thanks for following on our theme park birthday adventure! #Disneyland #californiaadventure #universalstudioshollywood

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Thank you to everyone who followed along today, and to everyone who sent good wishes along, as well. Thanks for reading Theme Park Insider and, yes, I'm already making plans for what I should do on my rather big birthday next year!

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Replies (17)

October 25, 2016 at 9:44 PM · Happy Birthday, Robert! I've followed TPI for years and it's because of your fantastic writing and generous, nearly daily output that keeps me coming back. You are my fix in between visits, and I am grateful for that. I hope this next year treats you well! Maybe a trip to Pandora next year?
October 25, 2016 at 11:27 PM · Happy birthday Rob! I'm glad you had fun on your own and the weather seemed great. I have yet to spend a birthday at one of the Disney or Universal parks but I sure will someday! Best wishes and THANK YOU for creating such an amazing and friendly space for us Theme Park lovers.
October 26, 2016 at 1:13 AM · Hope you had a great birthday Robert!
I wasn't on twitter much yesterday so I am going to relive it today on there. Does that mean you have two birthdays now? :-)
October 26, 2016 at 3:24 AM · Happy Birthday. Sounds like a dream day.
October 26, 2016 at 3:39 AM · Happy Birthday Robert! Most of us are lucky if we get to go out and eat for our birthdays...you made the MOST of yours!!
October 26, 2016 at 4:33 AM · Who's "Rebert"? Isn't that what the USH pin says? Regardless, happy birthday!
October 26, 2016 at 4:54 AM · Happy B day!!! I'm diggin' those shades. I'm afraid if I lived in So Cal or Orlando I'd probably get fired for playing hooky so much.
October 26, 2016 at 5:50 AM · Happy Birthday.
October 26, 2016 at 5:57 AM · Happy Birthday, Robert! Looks like you had a terrific time!
October 26, 2016 at 6:40 AM · Happy Birthday! Great way to spend it :-)
October 26, 2016 at 7:34 AM · Happy belated birthday, Robert.
That was a great birthday filled with great rides, food and fun.
October 26, 2016 at 11:11 AM · James K beat me to it, but Happy Birthday, Rebert!!
October 26, 2016 at 2:32 PM · Thanks to everyone for the kind words!

Yeah, the handwriting on the Universal button is amazing. The "o" looks like an "e," but is different from the actually "e," and the "b" is capitalized. And the three strokes in the R don't connect. Basically, I want these letters made into the most spectacularly anarchic font face ever. When next to the straight-laced Disney button, the Universal button is totally, well, Universal.

October 26, 2016 at 2:34 PM · Happy Birthday Robert!

I did Disneyland & Universal in the same day before & it's cool. I wanted to add Knotts in there, but figured those 2 were enough!

October 26, 2016 at 2:59 PM · Happy Birthday, Robert (or is it Rebert?)! It sounds like you had a great one.

Three parks in a day is a lot, especially when they're all major parks. While I've done two with some regularity, the only time I've managed to do three has been a major park and a couple small parks (for example, Scandia Amusement Park, Castle Amusement Park, and Knott's Berry Farm).

October 26, 2016 at 10:08 PM · Initially, I thought about including Knott's, but I would have needed another couple hours to fit that. And I would have liked to include the Tiki Room at Disneyland, too. But I didn't get out of bed early enough, due to having to stay up so late the night before to chase the Dreamworld story.
October 27, 2016 at 6:23 PM · Happy B'lated B'day, Robert!

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