Life is crazy, full of busy schedules and distractions at every turn. Before we know it, we blink and our children are grown. Time is certainly not on our side and holds no prejudice, skipping away from each and every one of us in equal measure, only confirming that we need to make our moments count. Creating lasting memories with our family that we can hold onto and treasure is essential and all it takes is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust…and a small amount of planning of course.
They say that a daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend. Whether your daughter is a little princess and still living at home or queen of her own castle (older and moved out), there is no age limit to the amount of fun you can both have at Walt Disney World! Here are our top ten mother-daughter bucket list experiences at Disney.
This unique and engaging experience is sure to create a cherished memory. You can find a Pick-A-Pearl station at Epcot’s Japan Pavilion, Downtown Disney, The Beach Club Resort or Blizzard Beach. I highly recommend going to Epcot’s Japan Pavilion, as the experience there is unparalleled. Here, you get to choose an oyster out of a large water tank. There will be great build-up to the reveal—drums, cheering, even perhaps a countdown in Japanese! When the oyster is then opened, you get to set your eyes on your very own pearl—all unique in their own right. Some are colored, some are quite large and you may even find more than one pearl inside your oyster! They are weighed and then either placed into one of their gorgeous jewelry settings (for an extra fee) or given to you in a small plastic bag. I’ve read so many excellent reviews about this experience and have every intention of making this a tradition with my own daughter. One reviewer said they let their young daughter pick out two oysters containing beautiful pearls, setting them into beautiful earrings and saving them for her wedding day. Another reviewer said they simply have it done each visit, allowing their child to build a beautiful collection of shimmering, shiny pearls. This is a perfect mother-daughter outing for all ages and the options of what you can do with your pearls are endless! Create a mother-daughter charm bracelet or matching necklaces! The cost is around $16 to pick an oyster.
9. Spa Day
Available at many deluxe Disney resorts, you can take some time away from the hubbub and get pampered with your daughter at a relaxing spa. Get manicures or pedicures, facials or massages. They are pricey, but you will feel like absolute royalty during your visit. Favorite spas include Saratoga Spring’s Senses Spa, The Mandara Spa at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, and, of course, The Grand Floridian Resort’s Spa.
8. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
This is a memory your daughter will never forget! And how could they, as they are pampered to the nines in princess perfection?! This magical beauty salon can be found at Downtown Disney or right inside Cinderella’s Castle. There are several princess packages to choose from, some far more elaborate (and far pricier) than others. Hair will be styled in a royal up-do complete with glittered “fairy dust,” and shimmering make-up will then be applied. Then depending on the package, your daughter could also receive a sash and tote or perhaps even an entire princess gown to complete her look. Secure reservations ahead of time and make your daughter’s dreams come true!
7. Tea Time—Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room
Depending on the age of your daughter you can enjoy one of two tea time experiences. On Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10:30am – Noon, the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room has the “My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party.” Here, your daughter is encouraged to dress up like their favorite Disney princess and will enjoy a magical journey through storytelling, singing, dining and will even be able to take part in a small princess parade. Girls 3-11 years old will get to be treated as royalty as they sip tea and perhaps receive a special visit from Princess Aurora or another regal Disney princess. Keepsakes are given as mementos of the event.
If you have a daughter that is older, you will find the “Afternoon Tea” more to your liking. Offered daily from 2pm-5pm, you can sit and be treated to elegant Victorian finger foods like tea sandwiches and small pastries all the while sipping on your favorite tea from elegant porcelain cups. Both of these experiences offer a fantastic way to bond with your daughter, enjoying an enchanting era of a time long since passed.
At Epcot near the France Pavilion, Downtown Disney or at two separate locations at the Magic Kingdom you can have a cut-paper Victorian-esque silhouette made in as little as 60 seconds. This is a great way to capture your daughter’s age at the time of your Disney vacation or you can even have a double silhouette done of you and your daughter to treasure. This is a great mother-daughter experience which knows no age-limit. The prices vary depending on the number of silhouettes made and a beautiful oval frame can be additionally purchased to hold the precious image.
5. Cinderella’s Royal Table
Spend a luxurious meal with your daughter dining with your favorite Disney princesses at one of many different character dining experiences. At Cinderella’s Royal Table you get to eat inside Cinderella’s Castle in a fairytale setting amidst royal and grand décor, meeting the legendary princess herself, along with other favorites from the classic film and perhaps even another princess or two! Guests will receive a magic wand (no age limit to this!) and the pictures you take with the princesses are sure to put a smile on your face when looking back on them. Other princess dining locations include Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion and dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort. Again, no matter the age, this will be an experience you can both truly relish!
4. Cirque De Soleil
An exciting, fun and awe-inspiring mother-daughter date can be had at Cirque De Soleil located at Downtown Disney. The breathtaking beauty and incredible acrobatic feats performed by the La Nouba cast during this spectacular show will have you and your daughter on the edge of your seat. It’s an experience unlike anything you’ve witnessed before and is certain to create lifelong memories! Running an hour and a half in length, this is a perfect way to cap off an evening with your daughter, regardless of age!
3. Carriage Rides
Who says horse-drawn carriage rides have to be for the romantic couple? This is a fabulous way to bond with your daughter as you take in the sights, smells and sounds around you at one of two Disney World Resorts on a 25-minute jaunt around the property. You can find these whimsical horse-drawn excursions at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans. Chat, gossip or simply be still and enjoy this magical moment with your mother/daughter.
2. Special Photo Ops
Get creative with this fun opportunity to show your crazy Disney side with your daughter! You have so many different ways to take special and lasting photos on Disney property. Make an entire photo album out of snapping mother/daughter pictures with your favorite characters! Hop inside one of the many Disney property photo booths and ham it up for the camera, creating a quirky photo reel to add to your fridge. Head over to Hollywood Studios Tatooine Traders or Epcot’s Image Works Center and take green-screen photos of you and your daughter, integrating your favorite chosen Disney scenes into the playful, captured image! Have a blast with this one! Memories fade, but a picture lasts forever!
1. Mother-Daughter Park Day
No mother-daughter Disney bucket list would be complete without a special mother-daughter day at the parks. Choose between your favorite theme park (or visit them all!) and create special memories between just the two of you! Have fun with it—make matching t-shirts ahead of time, book reservations at your favorite park restaurant, allot side cash for matching souvenirs…there are countless opportunities to work with here! A day spent where it can be all about you and your princess…well, I can’t imagine a happier place on earth!