For my daughter’s first birthday it was a big family party in a park with no less than 150 close family and friends – I have a big family, and lots of friends. Over the years we’ve had parties at community centres, parks, indoor party venues like Gymalaya & Laser Tag. We’ve also done DIY Minecraft and Harry Potter parties. Some cost a little and some cost a lot but I’ve always followed the lead from my daughter as to what she wanted to do for her birthday party. I’ve found that I spent less money and had less stress about the day the more involved I made her in the process. This year she declared that she wanted “the ultimate tween celebration” – a sleepover party. We started planning and I quickly realized I had neither the space nor the inclination to host 6 girls at our house.
I knew I couldn’t have 6 girls sleep over in her room, it was not big enough. I also didn’t want to entertain them all evening and most importantly, I didn’t want to have to clean up the next day. So we started looking at options. When I calculated how much it would cost for dinner, plus bringing activities into the home, and my time spent entertaining, it made sense to book a hotel with a pool, go to dinner, and take in some of the local sites. Eventually we decided on “tourist in Toronto” as our theme for the Ultimate Tween Celebration Sleepover Party.
Here is what the 24 hours looked like:
We stayed at the Fairmont Royal York in a signature room. The girls shared the two beds and I slept on a rollaway bed. Initially, I wanted two connecting rooms but because of the busy season it wasn’t available so plan ahead if you are planning to do this. Booking a suite is another great option if it fits into your budget.
Once we were all checked in, we started exploring the hotel. First up was the pool. The girls all had a great time both in the pool and believe it or not the downstairs change room which is equipped with amenities like shower, sauna, and toiletries. Once I was able to get them out of the pool we headed out to our dinner plans. We originally planned to go to the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower. This didn’t end up going according to plan and we ended up having to switch our dinner location because one of the girls wasn’t feeling 100% with the movement.
You may be thinking that restaurant is too expensive for a tween’s bday dinner but you’ll be surprised to know that the tickets for the CN tower tour are included in the cost and they have a fixed price menu for kids which is just $40. Since the price includes the CN Tower tickets you are actually only paying $12 per kid for dinner! Considering the experience, the views, and the fact that you get a panoramic view of Toronto that is a steal!
The restaurant we did end up going to was very nice and their kids menu was $11. They don’t sing Happy Birthday to the birthday child, but did write the message on her dessert.
After visiting the CN tower and having our dinner, we walked around downtown Toronto back to the hotel which might have been the overall highlight for the girls because not only were they up late, they were up in a bustling city and taking in all the energy that downtown Toronto has to offer. Once we got back to the room it was time for mini facials, treats, movies, and me staying as quiet as possible and staying out of their “business”. There were lots and lots of giggles before I eventually went to bed and they tried their best to pull an all-nighter.
The next morning, the plan was to go to Ripley’s but the girls opted for swimming again after a lovely breakfast at the Fairmont Royal York. They offer a massive breakfast buffet with everything you can think of. For kids the price is reduced so it was a great option right in the hotel and we didn’t have to go in search of breakfast. Once breakfast was over it was back to the pool again. We unfortunately had to leave the hotel at 11:45am to get the Go Train that would take us back home because Katelyn was performing in a play the next day and couldn’t miss the final rehearsal but had we had the full day we would have checked out and visited Ripley’s before heading back home.
How much did this ultimate tween celebration cost? Not as much as you’d think.
Go Train (kids 12 and under are free) : 0
Hotel – depending on when you book the price differs, but averages about $600 for the signature room
Dinner & CN Tower – Original plan $40*6 =$240, alternate plan $66 for dinner and $168 for CN Tower entrance
The total came to about $850 + taxes for this wicked incredible experience. Her 11th birthday party at a laser tag place cost more than that and it wasn’t half as fun – and nowhere near as memorable. There are definitely hotels that are less expensive, and at different times of the year you can find coupons for discount admission to attractions. Give your tween the budget and have them help make the plans so they get a say in what they’re doing but also learn to balance the cost vs the fun of certain activities. With a little creativity, pre-planning and looking out for deals you can have and recreate an incredible Tween Celebration that make them feel like royalty that is still easy on the wallet. (Adult costs not included)