Celebrating your birthday or special occasion at Universal Orlando: Best tips for getting special attention & freebies

Celebrating your birthday or special occasion at Universal Orlando: Best tips for getting special attention & freebies

Editor’s note: Universal has two buttons they give out to guests, one for birthdays and a second “I’m celebrating” button that is used for all other occasions (photo at the bottom of the post). Alexandra’s article focuses on her experience with the birthday button, but you can expect much the same if you’re wearing the “I’m celebrating” version.

 

I’ve always considered my birthday one of the best days of the year, and I’m sure the majority of you reading this think the same way. What could be better than visiting Orlando and more specifically, Universal Orlando Resort, on your special day?

The first thing to do when you arrive at Universal’s property is to get the official birthday button. This is a crucial step: without the birthday button, no one will know just how special this trip is. To get the button, simply visit Guest Services inside of either park and let them know you are celebrating your special day. They’ll ask you for your name, and then write it on the button in the fanciest handwriting the team member can muster. Now you’re ready to start your adventure.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Just a note: a significant amount of my friends have been worried about asking for a birthday button if the day they are visiting is not their actual birthday. I’m here to let everybody know that Universal does not care about this in the slightest. They are very understanding about the fact that everybody’s schedule is different, and some people can make it on their actual birthdays and some cannot. If people see you wearing that birthday button, they’ll simply know you’re celebrating and will be none the wiser if your birthday was a week ago, or a week away. But be honest! Don’t wear an old birthday button in July if your birthday is actually in December! We don’t want to take advantage of Universal’s generosity.

After you receive your birthday button and you’re making your way through the parks, you’ll notice the employees taking special notice of you. They’ll smile, wave and say “Happy Birthday!” loud enough for everybody around you to hear. If they are running a game booth, they will take advantage of their microphone and announce their Happy Birthday greeting even louder. So if you, Birthday Boy or Girl, are shy or loathe to being the center of attention, but still want to go to Universal on your birthday, consider wearing the button in place it can easily be concealed. But if you love everyone acknowledging your birth and your presence, then wear that button proudly, for the Universal employees will rarely miss an opportunity to point you out to the crowd.

The best example of this for me was on the High in the Sky Suess Trolley Train Ride! On my birthday, when they saw me wearing my button, they asked me and the rest of my party to step aside; I’m assuming they did this so we could pick where we wanted to sit on the next train. Once we boarded and before we took off, one cast member announced that it was a very special day, and rhymed about it being my birthday over the intercom in a very Dr. Suess fashion.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Want to enjoy more singing just for you? Don’t forget to visit the Mystic Fountain in the Lost Continent. All you have to do is tell it that it’s your birthday, and it’ll make a big show of squirting water all over the place, all the while singing with its own personal accompaniment. After it sang happy birthday to me, it played the Charlie’s Angels theme song as my two friends and I walked away. The fountain will comment on just about everything, from the way you talk to what you’re wearing, and it won’t stop talking to you until you leave. A personalized birthday song from the Mystic Fountain is definitely a “don’t miss!” on your special day.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

The most beneficial part of having a birthday in Universal comes when you visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop. As most of you who have already visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter know, once you enter Ollivander’s, the wizard “randomly” picks one person from a crowd of about twenty to have a wand chosen for them. This is when your birthday comes in handy. If you are wearing a birthday button when you go into Ollivander’s, no number of excited children will stop Ollivander from choosing you. I know this sounds terrible, and it is a big reason why I took my button off when I visited Ollivander’s on my birthday. I had already bought Sirius Black’s wand on a previous visit, and wanted to let one of the kids in front of me get to have their chance in the spotlight. My friend Michael, on the other hand, was very much in want of a wand, and kept his birthday button in plain view. Of course, he was selected.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

Celebrating my birthday at Universal Orlando.

I have seen this happen on a few separate occasions, and have no doubt that one wearing a birthday button will leave with a wand that day, if the price is right. What’s more magical than having your wand choose you on your birthday?

I’ve heard rumors of other special things happening for people’s birthdays, such as a free butterbeer if the cast member is so inclined, or getting priority admission to Forbidden Journey. Also, if you are staying on-site at Universal Orlando, be sure the hotel knows it is your special day by having it noted on your reservation. If you’re lucky, you might have a surprise waiting in your room.

One way or another, if the team members at Universal know it’s your birthday, they seem to do everything in their power to make your day the best that it can be.

 

As we mentioned at the top, Universal offers a birthday button described in this post as well as an “I’m Celebrating” button used for all other occasions. Both can be picked up at Guest Services, and here’s a photo:

I'm Celebrating & Birthday buttons at Universal Orlando.

I’m Celebrating & Birthday buttons at Universal Orlando.

Thanks, Alexandra, for a great post!

 

Alexandra Longworth

About the author

Alexandra is avid fan of theme parks and holds a Creative Writing degree from Florida State University. She loves movies, television shows, and rock music. Universal Orlando has a very special place in her heart, and she would give anything to live in Hogwarts' highest tower and ride roller coasters till dawn.
Support us by sharing this story!
42 comments
Harleysmom
Harleysmom

Do the 'I'm celebrating' buttons work as well as the birthday ones? It will be just a couple weeks after my birthday (do to school schedules), but it will also be my son's first visit. I'd rather him get all the attention, but if they don't get him much, I'd rather wear a bday one, he would enjoy that too..

Heath McKnight
Heath McKnight

Hey my bday is coming up Sunday! Gotta get a pin!

Derek Brown Sr
Derek Brown Sr

Make sure you get a birthday button--- As long as you don't have a large entourage, You get the courtesy of cutting All the Lines for All the Major Attractions.

Matthew Lynch
Matthew Lynch

Is the occasion limited , me and family planning to go in September we go 4 days after a family member retires? Will this count do you think. Thanks

Sara Moreton
Sara Moreton

We will be there a week before my sons birthday- didn't know about these before-thanks!!

Shawn
Shawn

Universal is great when it comes to birthdays! We took my now 19 year old son to universal for his 4th Birthday and we still talk about it today. We were eating lunch at one of the diners and the waiter waked out with this huge slice of cake and ice cream with a single candle....on the house!

RockClick
RockClick

We might be going for our wedding anniversary, if you wore it for the whole week would they think you were being a bit naughty? :-)

Troy Dilport
Troy Dilport

I'll be there tomorrow to celebrate my birthday a day late. Thanks for letting me know I can still get a button!

Tommy Chapman
Tommy Chapman

I'll be there for my 30th and my girlfriends 22nd in under 2 weeks! How exciting Tenneille English

Claire Walsh
Claire Walsh

My daughter was 4 while we were there, I remember being in the line for 1 of the rides in Seuss landings and talking to an employee. Without request she got us both riding upfront and did an announcement urging everyone else on the ride to wish her a happy birthday before we set off! Little touches :)

Ron Ferguson
Ron Ferguson

I don't know if they had these in 2011 when we were on our honeymoon. We had our Disney ones on though ("Happily Ever After") and the Universal employees all seemed to recognize them. We got many congratulations from them.

Gina Nicole
Gina Nicole

They rang the bell in Zonkos and everyone sang "Happy Birthday!" to me! Also, they let me cut the line at Forbidden Journey tons of times!

Marie Saxon Edge
Marie Saxon Edge

We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary and our daughter's 7 birthday during our upcoming trip this March. Our actually dates are in May but we are celebrating early since we can't go then! Can't wait!!

Sara Hammontree Boelkens
Sara Hammontree Boelkens

My son and I visited for his birthday 2 years ago. We were not told about the buttons back then. But when our room service waiter found out it was his birthday, he brought a BIG basket of goodies and balloons to the room.

Tess Malone Fields
Tess Malone Fields

We took our son for his 4th birthday and made sure he wore his pin! Everywhere in the park employees told him happy birthday. Characters even noticed during the parade! He got a free cupcake. At the games by the Simpsons ride he won a large prize and they gave him a small one for his birthday!! They also announced his birthday over the speaker on the Woody the Woodpecker roller coaster and Flight of the Hippogriff! It truly made his day extra special! :)

Jennifer Green
Jennifer Green

This is so awesome!! We are going on my birthday in April! So glad I found out about this before we went!

Paul Deakin
Paul Deakin

awww I never knew and I was there on my birthday of june 9th last yr, then my mom was too the day after for hers on june 10th

Desiree Dufrene
Desiree Dufrene

we celebrated our anniversary ....and got a button very special

Katie Harriott
Katie Harriott

I took my brother for his birthday and he got loads of freebies. He got a free cupcake, we both got a free refill on the freestyle machine (when it first came out) we got to go in the express pass line in a few rides and on men in black they made everyone in the line sing happy birthday to him. We had a lot of fun at the mystic fountain. Love universal on birthdays. Makes it way more enjoyable.

Sandra Craig
Sandra Craig

Wow iv been comein over from N Ireland every year for my birthday hols and never knew about this , would love the badge as a keepsake but this year I will be heading back home on my birthday date :'( xxx

Ryan Blevins
Ryan Blevins

It's pretty much an express pass. One guy at rip ride makes your friends sing to you.

Chrissylee
Chrissylee

if you stop by men in black and tell one of the agents it is your birthday or even if they see the pin , most of them well send down a birthday greeting from Zed.

MandyReineke
MandyReineke

Children get a free cauldron cake from honeydukes if it is their birthday. They are rich, and delicious. My daughter  celebrates her birthday every summer in Universal and Islands, and had received a cupcake cauldron each year. 


Alex Arellano
Alex Arellano

What?! I didn't know universal did this. I usually just get pins at Disney.

Tanya Twinkles
Tanya Twinkles

We got engaged in Universal and both my fiancé and I got our "I'm celebrating" badges, we got free printouts of some of our photos and loads of special attention :3 can't wait to go back for our Hard Rock Hotel wedding and Universal honeymoon! :D

Mandy Wharey
Mandy Wharey

ALWAYS GET YOUR PINS! My birthday pin got me in express pass for almost every ride (including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey), got me chosen at Ollivanders, and even free snack in the form of a cookie when I bought a meal! Best bargain by far at Universal, especially since it's free! Thanks OI for giving me this tip when I planned my trip with you guys! :-)

OrlandoInformer.com
OrlandoInformer.com

What is a classic blog post? Because our blog covers so much more than news, we've collected a large amount of posts with info that is just as relevant today as when it was first published. We highlight one of these articles each week as our "classic blog post" - visit our blog to see more: http://bit.ly/oiblogposts.

FloridaBoy
FloridaBoy

I have seen "I'm celebrating" pins with all kinds of things written in them. If they don't have the pin for you, just write it in on the "I'm celebrating." I was staying at a Universal Partner hotel and the concierge had the birthday/celebrating buttons at their desk.

I've seen: First visit, anniversary, Honeymoon, 1st trip to Hogsmeade, etc.

jared
jared

im goin tomorrow


Barbara
Barbara

My birthday is may 31st. I wish one day

to enjoy the day @ Univeral. but will never

happen. :( never been there

Anon
Anon

Universal has had buttons for "I'm Celebrating" almost as long as birthday buttons.

scubagirl
scubagirl

Wow, we stay at Royal Pacific quite a lot (gold members) and I told the reservation people it was our 20th Wedding Anniversary and they did not go out of their way in any way :(

Ryan
Ryan

Waiting outside IOA for the turnstiles to open, my niece mentioned to a TM that it was her birthday, and we were chosen to be the "first family of the day" and got to welcome everyone to the park, plus a complimentary photo.

OrlandoInformer
OrlandoInformer

Digging through my notes, I found this tidbit:

They gave my daughter a certificate for priority admission into Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at guest services. Also, we got a free butter beer when ordering because of her wearing her birthday button.

And this one too:

It was also my daughter’s birthday week on our recent visit and we actually had a lot of nice things happen for her.  When I checked in a Royal Pacific, I mentioned that this was for her birthday. They gave her the special birthday button with her name and a certificate to use at any of three hotel restaurants for either a birthday dessert or drink. We traded that in later at the Island restaurant for a very nice chocolate coconut pie, while the rest of us paid and had a nice break. All through both days we stayed, various staff wished her Happy Bday due to the pin. At Hard Rock Cafe, they saw the pin and set us up with free dessert, wild singing and a free birthday collector pin for her lanyard. She is turning 13 and had been resistant at getting attention but at the end of the night, she said how happy she was about the goodies and attention of the “pin”. Hard Rock really did us right – sat us immediately, and the server paid extra attention. I couldn’t be more pleased, even if we didn’t get free butterbeer later…….shows a little bit goes a long way for happiness.

So it pays to wear the button!

OrlandoInformer
OrlandoInformer

It is true, Universal does have "I'm Celebrating" buttons!

Not many people know about the birthday buttons, and even fewer must know about the "I'm Celebrating" variety. In the last three years I've been covering Universal intensely, I've never seen someone wearing it.

But anyway, I'm so happy you asked and I checked it out, because now I know!

Interesting side note, Guest Services told me that they cannot handover the buttons without writing someone's name on them.

OrlandoInformer
OrlandoInformer

I'm going to Guest Services this weekend and asking for one :-)

OrlandoInformer
OrlandoInformer

Oh yeah, that is a great example too! Thanks for including it here :-)

akwareus24
akwareus24

We mentioned to the staff at Backwater Bar that it was our 4th anniversary and they gave us the "I'm Celebrating" buttons with our names and 4th Anniversary on them.  They also went to the bakery next door and brought us a HUGE cookie with a whipped cream 4 on it.

Print This Post