You are getting the AWESOME thrill of celebrating your Birthday at Walt Disney World. How many people can say that? Your wife/husband/parent/significant other has planned some special character breakfasts (or other meals) to celebrate the anniversary of your birth. What could make it more special?
I'll tell you what.....
Let's face it. Unless you are the lucky recipient of a hand out from the Year of a Million Dreams "Dream Team", you don't get that many free things at Walt Disney World.
But, there are a lot of people who don't know the treasure trove of buttons that can be had at the Guest Relations booths [ed. You were one of them until 2006]. One such button is the Birthday Button.
You may be asking yourself, "So what?"
It is quickly becoming a tradition that my wife and I will be at a Disney theme parks during the week of one of our birthdays. We have celebrated my last two birthdays at WDW in September. My wife got to spend hers in Disneyland this year and there is a good chance we might celebrate hers at WDW in 2008 instead of mine.
One of the things I really look forward to is the donning of my birthday buttons and getting a little bit of extra Disney Magic.
I always try to pin my button in some prominent location so that it is very clear that I am celebrating my birthday and can maximize the attention I get for wearing it.
This adornment was one of the many ways that I'd annoy my wife. The buttons are typically pinned to the straps of my backpack so that they are visible in the front, but don't put holes in my clothing (see the picture at the top of the post). Well, as I take the backpack on and off, I'm often accidentally ripping the buttons off and/or impaling myself on the very sharp pin.
One of the things I quickly learned last year was that I was getting just as many well wishes from other theme park guests as I was getting from Cast Members and that was no insignificant amount of attention.
On this last trip, so many people were saying, "Happy Birthday", that I often missed it because I wasn't paying attention (picture taking). My wife often would hit me to alert me so I could reply back.
This was noticeably different from when my wife wore her Birthday Button at Disneyland in June of this year.
We have come to the conclusion that the sheer volume of Southern Californian locals at Disneyland park may be contributing to this. When you are Walt Disney World you have far more people who have traveled to be there. They see fellow guests with the Birthday button and know that person has traveled a ways to be here too (a safe assumption) and is celebrating something special so they want to contribute to the celebration in what little way they can. When at Disneyland, it's pretty safe to assume most of the people you are running into are from Anaheim or the close vicinity. So, I think they may not be as forthcoming with the congratulations because they just assume you are there neighbor and we all know how friendly and communicative we are with our neighbors....haha.
Up until this year, you could actually get a different button at each of the theme parks. But, as I so disappointingly found out (well a commenter on my Disneyland Trip Report pointed out that this had happened but I didn't want to believe them), they have gotten rid of the different buttons and only have one button.
The plus side of the new button is that they put your name on it. This means instead of just getting a "Happy Birthday!" you get, "Happy Birthday Grumpwurst!".
As a tip: Have them put a piece of clear tape over your name after they write it on the Button. We had to make many trips to Guest Relations to get my name "reapplied". It was my wife's brilliant idea to put the tape on there because the Florida humidity made it easy to wipe off. Even when they used a permanent marker. The tape made sure it stayed put.
On the downside, you lose the joy of collecting all the buttons.
I can see this decision from Disney's Corporate Office standpoint. Now they can have one generic button and they can mass produce and spread them out everywhere. You don't run into problems where one park burns through their button supply faster than another.
I'm just a bit sad that's all, but hey it's your birthday and you want it to be Grumptastic don't ya!
So, get your button and wear it proudly.
You never know, you may, just like this Grump, get put in the spotlight at the Imagination Institute while one of the wonderful scientists gets everyone in line to sing you happy birthday!