I am by no means against traditional birthday parties. We have done them for my kids and they are always a great time. Last year we even did a unicorn themed birthday party for my daughter. Even though we do enjoy a good party, they can be so expensive and overwhelming. So this year, we have decided to forego the party and spend the money instead on a birthday experience. We thought long and hard about this, and came up with a few reasons for our decision.
Birthday Experience Vs Birthday Party
My daughter is turning 5 this year! It seems like time has seriously flown by, and we wanted to do something special for this big milestone birthday. The idea of doing another large themed party just seemed so daunting. Not only is it expensive, but it is time consuming, and to me, it is something that doesn’t last. Yes, there will be great memories, but we wanted to do something that kept on giving for the whole year! So, we decided to forego the party and do a real birthday experience! This year, we will be getting Legoland Florida annual passes and spending not only her birthday at the park, but numerous other days throughout the whole year. And if the idea of the gift giving all year isn’t enough to convince you, maybe some of these other reasons will.
When you typically think of theme parks, like Disney World, Legoland and others, you typically think of high price points. So one would think that the cost of having a traditional birthday party would end up being less than that of a theme park birthday experience. If you break it down though, it isn’t really all that different. When we did my daughter’s Unicorn birthday party last year the cost was shockingly higher than one would think. Between the cake, cupcakes, decorations, and gifts, it starts getting pricey. Even though I saved some money making the cupcakes myself and doing DIY unicorn headbands, it still crept up into a higher price than I would have liked to have spent. Not to mention all of the food for everyone!
This year, we will be purchasing the annual Legoland passes for $120 a person. Kids 3 and under are free though so that is really nice for our son! While we are there we will have to pay for food, drinks, and any souvenirs we want to get. We did receive a discounted P.R. rate for the Beach Retreat Hotel, so that helps out a lot on cost! If you add it up, yes, the initial out of pocket cost will be more the first time but you have to take into account the fact that we will be able to go back to the park any time we like for a full 12 months at no extra cost. To me, that in and of itself is worth it.
Tell me honestly, how many of your birthday parties do you really remember? I know for me, that answer is really low, especially at a younger age. I do though remember all the times my mom took me to Disney World and other theme parks as a kid. Even as a younger kid, those memories stuck with me. I would prefer to make memories with my family that the kids will remember for years to come. My daughter still talks about the time we went to Legoland this past summer, and is so looking forward to returning. Honestly, I feel like even spending a little more on a birthday experience, it is totally worth it in the long run.
The Gift Keeps Giving
Yes, the gift of an experience just keeps giving. Buying annual tickets to a theme park may sound expensive, but if you go multiple times over the course of a year, you really get your moneys worth! With a one day admission to Legoland being around $75, I feel like there is no reason not to just spend the little extra and get to come back the whole year! Thankfully, we live within driving distance and won’t have to get a hotel room every time we decide to visit. Maybe if that were an issue, it would be a little different.
Also, on the topic of gifts, since we are doing a birthday experience, we have let everyone know that she does not need gifts this year. Seriously, this kid has a room full of stuff and no need for anything new. Instead, we ask for gift cards or cash to put towards more experiences for her. That way, clutter does not pile up in the house, and the kids get to have loads of fun filled memories!
No matter if you decide to do a theme park, beach trip, or any number of birthday experiences, I truly think that they are much more beneficial, fun, and cost effective than a traditional birthday party. Now, I am not saying that I will never have another traditional party. I am sure that I will, because I do enjoy planning them, but for now we are focusing on the experiences and quality family time instead.