Are you there yet? Are you there yet? Well, not quite yet, but here are a few ideas to help you and your kids get even more pumped about your upcoming trip to Disney.
10. Countdown Calendars – Ideas abound online for making a Countdown to Disney Calendar. Depending on your kids ages (and your creativity level) you can make one as simple or complex as you’d like. Kids can easily help to make a paper chain countdown, decorate a little chalkboard, or just simply write numbers on those Mickey paint chips from Home Depot and post them on the wall.
9. Print Maps to Highlight – Maps of the parks are available online, and can be a big enthusiasm booster, especially for older kids. Giving them their own map and a highlighter can help them visualize the rides they really want to hit in each park. It can help you key in to which rides you want to reserve on Fast Pass+ as well.
8. Disney Bucks – Got some chores that need doing? Why not use your upcoming trip as a motivator? Create some “Disney Bucks” that your kids can spend on souvenirs, and hand them out as rewards for doing various jobs around the house. Then sit back with some tea and watch your house sparkle. 😉
7. Mickey on the Shelf – Most families are familiar with “Elf on a Shelf”, who helps build excitement at Christmas time. A few weeks before your vacation grab a small Mickey plush and start hiding him in various silly locations around the house. If you run out of creative hiding places, just do a search online for the Elf.
6. Decorate Shirts and/or Water Bottles – Crafty people, this is the time to go Disney-crazy! If this is your thing, consider making matching family t-shirts. (FYI, iron transfers are super easy, even for non-crafters. Cough, cough.) You could also pick up water bottles at a dollar store and have your kids decorate their own to take into the park. It’s a craft that’s fun, useful, and thrifty, since it will save you money on drinks.
5. Pennies and Quarters – About a month before your trip, set out a mason jar. Each night as a family, put in 2 quarters and 1 penny. That’s what you’ll need to do the penny press machines – one of the best (and cheapest) souvenirs in the parks! You can also print special penny press maps ahead of time (just google it) and plan which ones you really want to get. Penny press portfolios are available in the gift shops to keep your treasures safe at home.
4. Theme Nights – In the weeks before your trip, re-watch some of your favorite Disney classics for family movie nights. Remind your kids that soon they’ll get to meet those characters and ride those rides! If you’re one that really likes to go all out, you can form a menu around your movie selection too. (For example, Lady and the Tramp with Spaghetti and Meatballs, or Alice in Wonderland with a Tea Party.)
3. Create Autograph Books or Pillowcases – Of course you can always buy autograph books, but it’s more fun to make them. Cut paper to size and have your kids decorate specific pages for specific characters they want to meet. Don’t forget to add some extra non-specific pages at the end for other characters you may happen upon. Then have them bound at an office supply store, or simply staple them together. Another option is an autograph pillow case. Write or embroider your child’s name on the edge, and then have characters sign the case with a permanent or fabric marker. Guaranteed to give kids sweet dreams for years to come!
2. Make Lanyards – If you’re planning to do the pin collecting/trading thing, make a lanyard ahead of time using some thick ribbon, perhaps with your child’s favorite character on it. You can put a string or rubber band on the end of it to attach water bottles, for hands-free hydration. (Read: mom doesn’t have to carry around everyone’s water, hint, hint.) Check out ebay to get a few pins before the trip, so you’re ready to hit the trading-ground running.
1. Road Trip Bags – If you are driving to the Happiest Place on Earth, sometimes the car ride can be well, not so happy. Make a special Disney-themed surprise bag for each hour you plan to spend in the car (maybe make an extra in case of traffic, just saying). It can contain things like new sunglasses, coloring books, stickers, small games, special snacks, or more Disney bucks for good behavior.
Soon enough you’ll be there! And by taking the time to do some special things first, you’re already well on your way to creating those magical memories.
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