A Magical Teen Disney Birthday

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As Josephine’s 13th birthday approached, it was time to start planning the BIG 13th Birthday Party Sleepover!! Both of her older sisters had a big sleepover for their 13th birthday, so the “right of passage” was coming around to Josephine. To our surprise, when I brought up the fact her birthday was on a Saturday, and how perfect it would be, she broke the news to me….. “I don’t want to have a sleepover mom. I just want to go to Disney. Can we stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge?” And that is how her journey began to a magical Disney birthday!!

This should have been no surprise to me, since Josephine has always lived life to the beat of her own drum. Daring to be different, and not worrying about what others do, or have done. Plus, Disney has become an integral part of birthdays for our family since we moved here in 2008. 

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

We started the weekend off with a bang at Beaches & Cream. It is a cute little soda shop diner, just outside their pool area at Disney’s Beach & Yacht Club. The Cape Cod beachfront themed ice cream shop, boasts diner fare, and soda shop goodies. They are most famous for their HUGE family sundae called “The Kitchen Sink”

Parents with teen girls sitting at table with kitchen sink sundae at Disney's Beaches & Cream for a magical disney birthday

When brought out, they play music, flash sirens, and announce to the entire diner, the delivery of the epic sundae. We have yet to completely finish one.

Teen girl sitting with kitchen sink sundae and having a magical birthday at Disney

A memory making place for sure.  It’s one of the more popular reservations spots, so I suggest booking as close to the 180 day time frame as possible. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Okapi eating from a feeder in a tree at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Josephine wanted to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, because it’s one of our favorite places to stay on Disney property. Lucky for us, AKL is our Disney Vacation Club home resort, which means we can book further in advance than the other DVC properties.

It’s relaxing to sit on the balcony and enjoy the Savannah view.

A Magical Disney Birthday in The Parks

Now that the girls are older, they can head out to the parks together. So they went off to spend some quality sister time at Magic Kingdom, before we all met up at Epcot.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts Photo Pass

We were excited for the return of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Raising girls who have a deep love and appreciation for drawing, painting, various arts, and theatre arts, you understand how happy we were to find out Disney was going to continue this festival.

Teen girls standing with her grandparents and having a magical birthday at Disney

Before heading to dinner, we were entertained by Disney on Broadway stars Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White. They performed songs from TarzanThe Lion KingAidaAladdin and The Little Mermaid.

Magical Birthday Dinner at Via Napoli

Via Napoli is one of our favorite restaurants on Disney property, so Josephine chose to eat there for her birthday. Our entire family is in agreement that Via Napoli has the BEST pizza!!

Tray of pepperoni pizza from Via Napoli at Disney's Epcot for a magical birthday at Disney


We ended the magical birthday weekend at the outlet mall, where we found some perfect extra presents at the Disney Store. Sometimes we find current items at the outlet for even lower prices!! Win! Win! 

Teen sisters celebrating a magical birthday at Disney hugging in front of Epcot pinterest graphic

Your youngest becoming a teen is certainly an emotional transition, and I am talking about us parents. Being able to provide Magical Moments with our family is one way How We Find Happy!! 

Anyone else celebrate a Magical Birthday at Disney?  Tell us all about it!! 

More tips and ideas for celebrating a birthday Disney Style:

Splitsville at Disney Springs

Campground at Fort Wilderness

Disney Cruise

Marvel Must Dos at Disney

Share Our Happy!!

Julie Gazdecki

Julie is owner and founder of How We Find Happy. As an optimist, the name is perfect as we share the ways we find happy living in Florida, visiting breweries, spending time with our adult children, and getting away on some couples trips. As previous residents of Michigan, we still spend lots of time each year visiting our family up there, along with new and favorite places. My hope is to encourage others to spend time exploring this beautiful world, and finding happy in unexpected places.

11 thoughts on “A Magical Teen Disney Birthday

  • I love this title, and post! <3 That sundae alone would be memorable! I love JoJo's facial expression as she looks at it!

  • Becki Svare

    What a fun way to celebrate any birthday! Disney makes everything magical!!

  • Cynthia Mackintosh

    What a fun way to spend a birthday! I would have chosen this, too instead!

  • I may have done the same thing at 13! That’s a fantastic idea. Disney is definitely the best place to become a teen, surrounded by family. And Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best. Her birthday looks perfect!

  • Donna Lynn Starling

    What a fun Birthday celebration!!! Pizza looks GREAT! So does the dessert. Happy Birthday Jo Jo!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    They sure do, don’t they!! We’ve spent many birthdays at Disney!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    She’s a pretty smart teen!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    It really was Magical!! I think her smiles show it all!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    The pizza at Via Napoli is THE BEST!!! I always over eat!!

  • Julie Gazdecki

    Yes!! Food is always top notch at Disney!!

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