All new on Disney Guru we are going to be featuring Fans on Friday’s!! Each week you will be able to get a sampling of how special our fans are through their own creativity. For the next 4 weeks you are going to get to know Sandy. Sandy is a client of mine that has planned a special trip for her family from start to finish. Today is all about preparing for the trip! Thank you Sandy for all of the time you put into this!!
We had been planning our March 2012 Disney vacation for months but didn’t want to tell our 6 year old daughter too early because we wanted to avoid the endless countdown questions we would get from her, “how many days until we leave for Disney, Mommy?” We were trying to decide if we wanted to completely keep it a secret and just wake her up the morning of our departure and tell her we were headed to the airport to go to Disney, or if we wanted to tell her a few months before on Christmas morning. Ultimately we decided to tell her Christmas morning. We all know that one of the best parts of a Disney vacation is the planning and anticipation of the trip. We wanted our daughter to experience that excitement too!
I came up with a fun plan to give her the news of our Disney trip as our gift to her on Christmas morning. I set up the surprise about our trip as a scavenger hunt in our home. The first “gift” was a letter that was resting in our Christmas tree and this was the first in a series of clues leading up to the big reveal. Each “clue” contained some sort of Disney themed gift. They included a Princess Belle dress & crown, a custom made Minnie Mouse dress, the Disney Xbox Kinect game, etc. The final gift she opened was a box with a Minnie Mouse helium balloon inside and when the balloon came out of the box, there was a note attached to the string that read “We’re going to Disney March 10 through March 17!!!!!” It was so fun to watch her find and open all the gifts. When she got to the final gift and realized what it all meant, watching her jump for joy was just the best! Here is the link to our Christmas surprise video!
We still had over 2 months before we left for our trip so to make the days go by, we created a paper chain at about the 60 day mark. We had fun creating the chain together and we hung it all the way up the wall by our staircase in our house. Every morning, our daughter would remove one link to the paper chain and eventually it shrunk so small that the excitement really began to build!
Another fun thing we did to prep for the trip was to have custom dresses made for my daughter. I am lucky to have a talented friend who makes custom dresses right in my town. My daughter and I went to the fabric store and picked out all the different types of fabric we wanted made into dresses. We planned out which dress she would wear at which park. It was so fun. We even found a Buzz Lightyear fabric for our Hollywood Studio day! The characters LOVED her dresses and made such a big deal about them. Buzz loved her dress and Woody loved giving her a hard time for not having a Woody dress!
We also had fun making our autograph book. On the DISboards website we download the autograph cards that the DISigners make and share with everyone. I save the photo files to my computer and then print them at a photo center. I put the photo cards into a photo album and bring a Sharpie marker for autographs. The characters always comment on our personalized autograph cards and my daughter just loves that reaction. Then when we get home, I print a photo of our daughter with each of the characters and put it together in an album just for her to keep in her room. It comes out so nice and I’ve done one for each of our trips.
Finally, at the one week mark, I started giving her a Disney gift a day. I had purchased small travel items to entertain her on the plane (things I would have bought for our trip anyway) and each morning at the breakfast table I left the gift in a Mickey Mouse gift bag and taped a note coming out of Mickey’s mouth that read “It’s the Disney Countdown! We leave in 7 days” and each day there was a different small item in the bag. She loved waking up each morning to check the bag and got more and more excited for our trip.
Be sure to stop by next week as Sandy takes us to Walt Disney World!!