Planning a Visit to The Happiest Place on Earth

It’s Thursday. You know what that means…time for me to delight you all with more Disney-ana (I made that up, does it work for you?).

As I mentioned last week, this trip was mainly planned for Miss A.  So I put quite a bit of thought into how I wanted to tell her. Our trip was scheduled for a little less than a month after her birthday,  so on her birthday weekend we gave her a Disney Princess suitcase to open: it’s very cute with rollers and a sliding handle and it’s in the shape of Cinderella’s coach and best of all it is PINK.  Why didn’t I save myself some time and just show you a picture?

princess suitcase

So I had this great plan to stuff the suitcase full with Mickey Mouse balloons and shout.” You’re going to Disney World!” when Miss A unzipped it. Only a bunch of balloons didn’t fit…I managed to squeeze 2 in there safely. When the big reveal happened it took some time for the excitement to set in – you see, Miss A has been wanting to go to Disney for more than half her life (which granted given her age is not that long) and we  told her we would plan a trip when she was 9 or 10 and Lil’ G was 4 or 5 (I didn’t want to go to Disney with a baby…and while I’m very glad we took Miss A now, my instincts on this issue were spot on…more about that some other time). So when I told her she was going to Disney World, she was like, “Ok – sure, fine I know, whatever.” It took awhile for her to realize she would be going in 3 weeks, not 3 years. Once she figured that one out, she started the belated happy dance. Of course, the rarely used video camera had been put away by then.

Part of the fun of a trip like this is all the anticipation and the build up of what’s to come…like Christmas with a giant mouse instead of a fat bearded man. Like me, Miss A loves count down calendars of any kind, so making a few for her was a must do. There are some great calendar printables on the Disney website, and you can customize them and add various icons for birthdays and such…so I printed those for her to pin to the fridge. Then I went a step further and created a “Count Down” coloring book for her.

countdown binder

Basically it is a binder I filled with coloring pages printed from various websites that offer free printables. I photoshopped text detailing the days of the countdown, printed them out and organized them into the binder. It was cheap and easy, my favorite kind.

first page

In the pocket I placed various info material that our wonderful travel agent Lori (I mentioned her last week) sent us. Aishtyn loved ooing and ahhing over everything from the park maps to the hotel brochures. She would take them out again and again. You can also get a really cool set of 4 customizable maps (1 of each of the parks) sent to your house for free. Just fill out some info at the Disney site. I think you can order a set once every 6 months.

info page

I also added some other stuff Lori sent us, like brochures about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Dining Plan. If it had a mouse or a princess on it, I inlcuded it. For the cover, I simply cut a page from one of the travel brochures and taped it to the front.

countdown binder cover

I left the binder on the kitchen table and every morning she would rush down to mark off her calendar and then sit to color her picture for the day…always taking a moment to count how many pages left until she reached the final page: Cinderella and her castle.

last page countdown

Of course she enjoyed passing the time til the big day by watching the corny info DVD they send you, and watching Disney movies to prime her Princess checklist…and shopping for a new Ariel swimsuit with matching hat, towel, and flip flops…and telling everyone from the bank teller at the drive-thru to her doctor to my dentist that, “Hey, guess what? I’m going to DISNEY WORLD!!!”

So if you’re planning a trip – I highly recommend you milk it for all it’s worth and build that anticipation every way you can. It’s almost as much fun as going on the trip itself.


Check out next week when I review the whole packing and travelling angle of the trip…my least favorite part.

And if you really don’t want to spend an hour searching for free printables and making your own countdown pages, feel free to borrow some of mine – available below the fold.

aishtyn disney count down-1

aishtyn disney count down-2

aishtyn disney count down-3

aishtyn disney count down-4

aishtyn disney count down-5

aishtyn disney count down-6

aishtyn disney count down-7

aishtyn disney count down-8

aishtyn disney count down-9

aishtyn disney count down-12

aishtyn disney count down-15

aishtyn disney count down-17

aishtyn disney count down-18

aishtyn disney count down-19

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