Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Disney with Kids: Preparation and Packing - Post 3

There is no getting around the fact that a Disney trip is expensive.  We feel like it has been worth every penny in regards to the experience and the magic as we watch our kids.  That doesn't mean we can't be smart about making every detail special.
I talked about the actual travel activities and goodies, but what about while at Disney?   There are SO many items that your kids will want, and they add up!  Even though you may splurge on items while there, it's nice to have a few "treats in your back pocket" that make the budget go a little further.

In the months leading up to our trip, I scoured stores and the internet and watched for sales on pajamas, shirts, glitter hairspray, face jewels, princess costumes and shoes, tiaras, Disney pins, glow sticks, stickers, and plush Disney characters.  Sound excessive?  It wasn't.

Before we left for Disney, we got Mickey and Minnie plush characters for the kids.  To bring as little attention to our son's need for sensory input, I chose to fill Mickey with weighted pellets instead of bringing a weighted lap pad.  I carefully took out about 2 inches of stitching in his bottom, and I pulled the stuffing from his body, legs and feet.  I used a funnel to fill him with weighted poly pellets, and I sewed him back up.  Because he weighed so much, we had to carry him on the plane instead of checking him, but it was good to have him for the flight, too.
The twins in their sock monkey pajamas with Minnie and weighted Mickey Mouse before leaving our home for Orlando.
Knowing that the day we arrived in Orlando, we wouldn't actually "do" Disney but rather get groceries, settle in to the house, and try to get a good night's rest, we gave the kids new Disney pajamas.  The excitement was almost too much to contain.

Folding and then rolling shirts up with the design facing out and tying it up with a ribbon makes for pack-able gifts. We ordered customized Mickey shirts (and matching pants for our daughter) from StealingKisses  for the entire family: we had Perry the Platypus, Mickey and Minnie Mouse shirts.
Shirts (and Zebra pants) from Stealing Kisses.  Notice the red and black Mickey shirt has Mickey Mouse's autograph on the shoulder after our character meal with Mickey.
As awesome as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is, we weren't going to be doing that daily, so I brought glitter hairspray, face jewels, new princess dresses, glittery ballet flats, and a tiara.  This allowed her to be dressed as a princess almost every day.  It meant that I spent a little extra time getting her ready in the morning, but it was so worth it!  (Book your princess's BBB appointment as soon as you book your trip.  They fill up months ahead of time.)
She was completely starstruck after Snow White kissed her on the cheek.
She wanted to "save" it, so we pressed her cheek to her autograph book page.  She decided then that she could also share it with her brother, so she pressed her cheek to his.

 On her way to meet Cinderella with her autograph book in hand.  Talk about Disney Magic!
Just so you know, we did see "boy" characters as well.  
We bought glittery ballet flats in black, silver, and gold to match all of her clothes for the week.
Do you plan on staying for some of the awesome night time shows at the parks?  Hollywood Studios' and Disneyland's Fantasmic, Magic Kingdom's Electric Parade, Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Epcot's IllumiNations are all shows in the dark.  You can buy a tube of 10 glow bracelets for $1 at Michaels; pass them out just before all of the vendors break out their glowing flashing items.

Throughout the parks, the kids will be offered character stickers (see the round Mickey sticker on the Mickey Mouse page below.)  The first trip, we tried to coordinate them with the autograph page of each character in the small Disney Autograph Book that we purchased at Disney.  This last trip, the kids put them either in their custom autograph books or on their shirts or where ever else suited them that day.  A sheet of Disney stickers for the kids to adorn their autograph books is an inexpensive "treat" and activity for any time - whether still at the Parks or waiting in the airport for the flight home.
The Autograph Books I made on my computer in Publisher and had bound at an office store.
Read how I made them HERE.
If you're crafty, you can make pins or necklaces for the kids with their favorite characters.  If you aren't (or just don't have the time,) check Etsy!  

Are you taking (or renting) a stroller for Disney?  Although they have a decent system in keeping the hundreds of strollers fairly organized, I would encourage you to take something to easily mark your stroller.  Whether you make signs and laminate them that say "This stroller belongs to LAST NAME family" or if you just bring a brightly colored scarf or bandana, it will make your life easier.  If you choose to make signs, laminate them.  Why make 2?  Because if it does rain, even with lamination, it's possible that it will be ruined.  You can attach them to the stroller with gift wrapping/curling ribbon.  Use brightly colored paper for your sign to stand out even more, and put your cell phone number in a smaller font on the back of the sign for further identification.

If you are telling your kids about the Disney trip before you go, you may consider finding someone to do "Fairy Godmail" for you.  Essentially, you have someone send your kids a postcard from their favorite Disney character saying, "I can't wait to see you!"  or what ever you want.  Then, when you go, you can pay it forward and do the same for someone else.  Please remember to be safe about giving out your children's names and your mailing address.  *Note: It is easier to find postcards in Orlando at the stores than it is at DisneyWorld.  So, be sure to pick them up when you're at WalMart or order some ahead of time.

My husband was in Florida for work a few months before our trip, so he brought back Mickey and Minnie ears, water bottles, etc. and said that Mickey and Minnie had sent them as a gift to let them know that they were excited about the kids coming to visit them.

Last, but certainly not least, plan on a PhotoPass or PhotoPass+ or MemoryMaker.  On our very first trip, I didn't know anything about autograph books or PhotoPass before arriving, and we missed some of those moments because of it.  If you're getting the PhotoPass+, you'll need to order it before you leave (with enough time for it to arrive to your home.) Disney photographers are positioned throughout the Disney Parks (and always at Character spots) to capture the most magical moments of your vacation.  When you buy PhotoPass+, you can have all your photos from the photographers throughout the parks plus some from specific character meals and rides. You are able to enjoy the moments - truly be present in those moments - without having to be the photographer and you can get everyone in the picture in the process.

Need to book?
If you haven't booked your Disney vacation yet, I would LOVE to help you!  I am an Authorized Disney Vacation planner (in addition to being a mom of 3 munchkins.)  You can check out my website or Facebook page to contact me.    

Next up: Tickets, Schedule, and Parks

Other Disney trip topics:
Where to Stay
Autograph Books

All Disney posts including Elf on the Shelf ideas.

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