Bean’s First Birthday: The Saga

On June 1, my Bean Bean will turn one year old.  Holy crap where has all the time gone?  Seriously.  I can’t believe it.  But at the same time, I can’t believe it has only been a year.  I feel like we have done so many new things in one year and that he has just always been here.

For his birthday, I wanted to do something really fun.  Something we’ve never done before.  I wanted to take Bean to the zoo.  He’s really into animals right now (and by “really into” I mean those are the toys he is chewing on most these days…).  I thought the zoo would give him lots of things to see and explore and he is at such a good age for observing things.

And then Disney got involved and the zoo became a distant afterthought.

The kind people at Disney World invited our family to one of their parks for a day so that I could review our visit on my blog.

(I love how I say that so nonchalantly, as if I have Disney on my speed dial and they call ALL THE TIME asking me to please come have fun in their parks for the day.  In real life I squealed like a little girl when I got the email and then ran out looking for an adult-sized Minnie Mouse costume.  Sadly, I didn’t find one.)

So, I sent out invitations to family and friends and it looks like we will be spending the day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom for Bean’s birthday.  I am super, super excited.  Chris is a little less so.  He is worried that Bean is too small for Disney right now.  And I sort of agree, but that’s why we are going to the Animal Kingdom.  It doesn’t have quite as many rides and things (from what I can tell) and so I think that might be perfect for our Birthday Boy.

The best news is that I got us a reservation at The Rainforest Cafe for the birthday lunch and they’ll let me bring my own cake, instead of buying it at the park.  I’m so excited!  My mom and I are hunting for safari-themed party decorations, too.  So far we’ve got those safari hats and animal print leis for everyone to wear.  I don’t know what I’m more excited about – seeing Bean dressed as a safari guy or seeing him eat his birthday cake!

Also, I found out that when I pick my tickets up for the park, if I tell them that it is Bean’s birthday, they’ll give him a birthday button to wear all day and then all the characters will pay special attention to him since its his birthday!  And that’s a perk that anyone can use when they go to the park, so be sure you alert the park when you visit if you have a special occasion.  They do all kinds of Celebration Buttons at all the Disney parks.  What a fun feature!

I am so excited about Bean’s birthday now!  Thanks to Disney, I think it will be incredible!  I’m hoping Disney is aware that they are setting the bar for future birthday parties pretty high and that I will now be calling them every year.  Its really their own fault for being so nice, you know…

(By the way, these pictures have nothing to do with Bean’s birthday other than the fact that he looks like such a big boy in them!)

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37 Thoughts to “Bean’s First Birthday: The Saga”

  1. That is so exciting! I have never been to Disney and always like to remind my parents. You know, I’m just sooo deprived.

  2. WOW!!! I can’t wait to read all about it. What a fun birthday!

  3. Whoa – that’s SO exciting.

    And don’t give up on that Minnie Mouse costume. It’s out there somewhere, waiting for you.

  4. Jen

    I can’t wait to hear about it. That is seriously one awesome 1st birthday! Lucky guy.

    Unfortunately the poor guy is wearing a Florida hat in these pictures!!

  5. Now THAT sounds like a wonderful birthday! Can’t wait to read that post and see the photos! Have fun!!!

  6. Oh my goodness Bean is so lucky, can I be his friend?!?
    I can’t wait to take my little bug to Disney World someday. When I do Bean will have to show us around, he’ll be a pro at it by then I bet 🙂

  7. Hey Katie – Check out they’ll have tons of great info for you. Tips, ride info, crowd level expectations, places to find food, and the ever so important….bathroom locations! They aren’t sponsored by Disney, but are run by people who love Disney!

  8. Amy

    We went to the animal kingdom a few years ago–only a couple “real” rides, and very, uhhh, nature-y. Lots to see, lots of great Disney characters milling around without so much of the sensory overload of Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Schedule your safari ride thru the park for a time when everyone needs a rest from being on their feet. Have a great time!

  9. Shelley

    Wow – how incredible. It will be a magic day.

    And by the way, if those are golf shoes with spikes on Chris’ feet, INSIDE the house, kick him in the ass (with spikes….)

  10. Jen

    Have so much fun!! The first birthday is so much fun and a little bittersweet because they grow so fast!
    We went to Disney for our honeymoon and got the wedding buttons and it was a lot of fun!

  11. Way cool!
    The birthday button is cool. We celebrated my son’s 6th birthday last year at the Magic Kingdom and he got all kinds of attention … my only issue now is how to top that birthday this year!

  12. Kate

    Don’t worry about the Bean being too young for Disney. My parents took me to Disneyland for my first birthday and from what I can tell, I had a blast lol (before you think I’m super-spoiled, we lived pretty close to the park at the time and my cousins came along too). I even wore an old-school mickey mouse ears hat. You should see if they have some with a safari hat on them or hot-glue one to them- that would be super-cute! Animal Kingdon will be perfect because it’s like a big zoo disney-style and they have drums everywhere. I’m sure Bean will love to play with them!

  13. I’m so excited for Bean and for you!! What an amaizing opportunity and fun adventure!! My baby’s 1st birthday is on Dec. And I was thinking about the same theme!! You know! Zoo, zafari, all kinds of cool animals. Have fun! Can’t wait for the pics and the post.. I’m sure you’ll make us feel part of the day and the celebration

  14. Jessica W

    How cool!!! I would have reacted the same way, squeals and jumping. We’re in Los Angeles and I’m a Disneyland pro. I go nearly monthly, sometimes more. (If you are ever out this way, call me I’ll give you the grand Disney tour) We’re going to Disney World June 8th-13th! I’m so excited!! Plus we’re going to be running Expedition Everest Challenge (5K, obstacle course, & scavenger hunt) through Animal Kingdom. All this to celebrate our 5th anniversary. I cannot wait for your review! I’m also waiting on PW’s coverage of her trip, I need to know where to eat. It’s extra exciting that I get to go just weeks after 2 of my favorite bloggers are going! Get Jen from cakewrecks out there and it’s a trifecta! 🙂

  15. So happy that he gets to celebrate his birthday at Disney!

    My boyfriend took me last summer for my 25th and EVERYONE wishes you a happy birthday when you’re wearing the birthday button (I celebrated at Magic Kingdom.)

    There are less rides in Animal Kingdom, but lots and LOTS of animals everywhere!

    Make sure you take Bean on the real safari. It’s a great “ride” where a driver takes you on a tour and you see all kinds of animals you would see if you were on an African safari.

  16. Oh boy. You’re right – he’s peaking at one, as far as parties go. Take lots of pictures so you can prove to him later what great parents you are.

  17. I love the idea of the safari theme! And the Rainforest Cafe is great/perfect to fit the theme. Lucky Bean! Hope you guys have a great time and take tons and tons of pictures.

  18. Ahh, how fun!!! We just went to Disney for the first time a couple of months ago! Animal Kingdom was my FAVORITE! A word of advice that was given to us: go to the Animal Safari FIRST. We basically sprinted there. Apparently between 11 and 12 the animals start getting tired and will start hiding! I hope y’all have a fabulous time and I can’t wait to see pictures!

    1. oh, and Matt (who is an iphone nerd) found a free iphone app that shows waiting times for each ride, just fyi.

    2. Tawny

      Very true. This ride also becomes very crowded – so it should always be the first ride you run or calmly walk to first thing when you enter the park!

  19. How lucky for Bean to have his 1st B-day party at Disney!! Should be fun!

  20. Tawny

    Our rule has always been ages 2 and up for Disney – but that was because we live far away and always did the whilrwind 4 day vacation at all the parks. I think Animal Kingdom will be perfect for Bean, expecially since you already know he is comfortable with the characters. My three faves for this park are Bugs Life, Lion King show, and the Safari ride.

    : )

  21. That is so great — you guys will have a wonderful time! The Animal Kingdom will be super fun — my little nieces loved the petting zoo and the safari “ride” the best. So fun!

  22. Bean and his backwards hat are too cute 🙂

    You’re going to have SO MUCH FUN at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! The real safari everyone is mentioning is called Kilimanjaro Safaris — you should definitely go on it first, before the lines get long. I’m speaking a little out of bias (I worked at the ride for a few months on a college internship) but it is really fun, you typically see a lot of animals (some VERY up close) and it’s perfect for kids Bean’s age.

    Can’t wait for you to show us all what you end up doing there!

  23. Very exciting! You guys will love Animal Kingdom.

    Bean-friendly activities: Definitely get there early before it gets too hot and head straight to the back of the park to do Kilimanjaro Safari – the animals are more apt to be up and roaming around when it’s early. The Camp Minnie Mickey section has lots of character greeting areas (although I know Bean has already met a few now!) and also the phenomenal Lion King stage show. Tons of animals back near Kilimanjaro Safari where there’s an animal walk, and also a fun train ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch (more animals and educational opportunities, plus a few backstage sneak peeks). The Tree of Life has a 3-D “It’s Tough to Be a Bug,” so I am not sure how much Bean would like that given the 3-D glasses.

    Activities you might want to take turns on while one person watches Bean: Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. I love both of these rides but if you have to choose just one, go with Expedition Everest. They did a great job with the story on that one.

    Have fun! My husband and I have been meaning to get back over to Disney before our passes expire, but we always end up busy with other things every weekend.

  24. Lucky little guy! Have so much fun! I’m a Florida native (living far from home @ the moment) & I’ve never been to Animal Planet. I’m kind of jealous of bean-man. Happy 1st!

  25. I’m officially jealous of the Bean man. Even without seeing photos yet, you’re going to have to start thinking about how to top this one for b-day #2.

  26. Yep, celebration buttons are the best – they will treat him like royalty! Good thing he’s okay with the big costumes! You’re gonna have such a blast.

    Just an fyi – Animal Kingdom is, like, 15 degrees hotter than normal temperatures everywhere else. I don’t know if it’s because of the tropical nature of the place or what, but I swear they pump the humidity in there. Slick that hair back!

  27. How fun! I went to Disneyworld last February and absolutely loved Animal Kingdom. Bean will love the safari ride. It fills up fast and I think you should try to do that first thing. There are plenty of animals on it and they do a good job pointing things out. Expedition Everest is one of the best roller coasters I have ever been on if you have people there who would be interested in a little more of an adrenaline rush. I also loved the little show called “It’s Tough to be a Bug.” If you go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, they have a little verandah thing that overlooks this field. We saw giraffes and zebras. They have these gigantic rocking chairs where you can sit and watch the animals and ponder the circle of life. It’s a fun spot to watch the animals without driving by them on the safari ride. You will love it and so will Bean. Have so much fun!

  28. Ashley

    You all are going to HAVE A BLAST! Bean is one lucky little guy 🙂 We went last Spring Break to Animal Kingdom and it really was my favorite (but I also don’t ride rides of ANY kind!) Wish I was going to be there so I could meet you AND your family 🙂

  29. Diana

    Even though Bean is young you’ll all have a blast! The good thing is Bean won’t remember his first birthday so really the bar isn’t being set too high…just have a bounce house next year at the park and he’ll be perfectly happy ;-)!

  30. Ella

    How lucky is Bean? What an fun 1st birthday! Cant wait to see the photos 🙂

  31. Lisa

    I spent my last birthday at Disneyland and EVERYONE wishes you happy birthday while you wear your button. It makes you feel like a rockstar. I also happen to have an adult-size Minnie Mouse costume complete with ears, gloves and shoes that could probably make its way to Florida if you’re interested… Have a fantastic visit!

  32. Tammy N.

    That is a great idea for a birthday! We have been wondering what to do on July 3 for our baby’s first birthday, but here’s the funny part- it is also my 33rd birthday! Yes, me and my baby have the same birthday, and this will be the first year that we celebrate together. Last year wasn’t really “celebrating” since I was in labor and all.

  33. Sarah C. H.

    The Animal Kingdom will be PERFECT for his party!!! There’s hardly any rides. It’s all about the cool animals. My husband and I went to Disney for our honeymoon and had so much fun. The coolest part about Animal Kingdom is that you get to see Tigers and Silver Back Gorillas up close. REALLY close! It’s crazy.

    The safari ride is super fun too. You get to see hippos and gazelles and all sorts of cool animals. I’m sure Bean would love sitting on your lap and seeing all the animals.

    Make sure you pick up a map of the park so you can plan out what all you’re gonna make sure you hit!


    I also wanted to say (since the giveaway closed the comments on the PW post) that I’m moving to Orlando sometime in the next year or so, and while the move is motivated by career and climate, I slightly consider that I’m moving down there to stalk…I mean be best friends with you. ^_^ I might bring you a necklace when I come down too. You’re my PW. Haha.

  34. The Animal Kingdom will be a lot of fun!! Just a heads up…The Rainforest Cafe is REALLY loud. 🙂

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