Celebrating a Third Birthday at Disney World for Free

Jan 15, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

To The Point

These days throwing kid birthday parties often costs hundreds of dollars even if you don’t go overboard. However, did you know that as long as the trip starts while your little one is still two years old, you can celebrate a third birthday at Disney for free? Imagine rides, princesses, characters, and more instead of ordering invitations, coming up with themes, and cleaning up after countless preschoolers at home…

My mind is one that has to plan way ahead in order to function at its best. It’s a blessing and a curse, but it means that now that the calendar has rolled into 2018, there are some things I like to at least have outlined in terms of planning outside of just travel. In large part because I do not take celebrating another year together for granted, we pretty much always throw relatively big birthday parties for my daughters. Even though we just wrapped up an 8th birthday party in December, now that we are into a new year, my mind wants to have an idea of what to expect when my youngest turns 3 in July and the oldest turns 9 at the end of the year. I’m okay not really addressing the December birthday quite yet, but for the summer birthday, I’d like having a plan by this point, so I got to thinking about what a 3rd birthday should look like.

Kid birthdays at my house are kind of a big deal.

For my oldest’s 3rd birthday party we rented a bus that was converted into a little gym and had all her preschool friends over, but since she ended up having a bad nap that day, she hid in the pantry closet eating cupcakes by herself for most of the event. In other words, after learning from the closeted cupcake experience, I think three is young enough to skip doing a big friend party, but I still want to celebrate our littlest in a special way.

Celebrate a third birthday at Disney World for free

At Disney World and Disneyland, the magic age at which you go from getting in totally free to paying the $100-ish per day child’s ticket cost is three years old. After our awesome trip last summer (despite the July heat), I had some hopes of getting in one more short visit before our littlest turns three years old and life at Disney gets even more expensive. Not only will by youngest soon require a child’s ticket, but my oldest is darn close to needing an even more expensive adult ticket since that “magical” adult age is 10 years old.

I started to wonder, what if we ditched spending money on invitations, balloons, decorations, a venue or bouncy house rental, food, cake, etc. for just a year and instead spend that money celebrating her third birthday at Disney? She would get in free for the duration of the trip as long as the Disney aspect of the trip starts while she is still two years old since “no one ages at Disney”. The cost of the rest of our Disney tickets for a short trip isn’t that painful if we aren’t spending cash on a party at home. Obviously, a Disney trip costs more than any third 3rd birthday party we would throw at home, but if miles and points play a strong supporting role in transportation and lodging, the additional cost for tickets isn’t that terrible.

Let’s shift these expenses to a magical Disney Day…

Our youngest loves princesses, castles, Mickey, Minnie, and wouldn’t love to celebrate their special day in a very magical way? Any character meals and similar would also still cost $0 for her if she just snacked off our plates as she will be considered a two-year-old for the duration of this trip.

Dance into 3 at Disney for free.

Turn two trips into one

That got things rolling in my mind, but then it got better. Right now my eight-year-old is all about Harry Potter. Her Christmas this year was essentially one big delivery from Hogwarts. In fact, we’ve had to pause her at the third book for now as she was hauling through them much faster than I anticipated and was going to end up reading some darker and more mature storylines than we were ready for in the later books.

While her birthday isn’t until December, I wondered if she would trade a big friend party this year for a special day of her own at Wizarding World of Harry Potter while we are in either Orlando or California this summer doing a Disney Day for Little S. She could still do a little birthday celebration when the time comes with the neighborhood girls and family, but if she was willing to skip a big shindig this year, we could then shift those expenses into visiting Universal Studios while we are already in the area this summer. After seeing a few photos of the amazingly well done Wizarding World of Harry Potter, she was ready to sign on the dotted line.

Having a special day designed to celebrate each girl in a spot that they will love sounds like the perfect arrangement for us this year instead of ordering invitations, coming up with party themes, and spending a good chunk of money hosting the same sort of parties we have done for many years. Doing these trips just before our youngest turns three will mean she is free at both Disney and Universal Studios which save hundreds of dollars over the cost of the same trip once she blows out her three candles.

This idea isn’t set in stone yet, but enjoying Disney for free as you turn three sounds pretty perfect to me. Has your family ever done something similar to celebrate your little ones?

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.