You're going to Disney!!! Congrats and be prepared for the trip of a lifetime. In order to make Disney affordable, we book a year in advance (in fact we book while we are still on Disney Property!!) and pay it off monthly. Doing this means our trip is SO FAR AWAY, but it also makes for some awesome things we can do as a countdown!! Disney sends you packets of information from booking all the way up to your trip, which is awesome when you have little ones! We love yelling DISNEY MAIL!!! Then everyone gathers and we open it all together. This is a fun way to count down to Disney, not the mundane 'what to pack' type of posts. You can find those anywhere and for us, packing is the least of our worries! LOL!
Once you book your trip, QUICKLY order the current DVD planning video. Yes, you have already booked your vacation, but this video is PERFECT for getting you all in the Disney mood and you can watch it often. It's important to arrange for Disney Mail to arrive at least once every 3 weeks or so, so that the countdown seems real. If a few things arrive at once, save some for another week to keep the suspense. Onve we get down to 2 months before we head out, I usually have enough for once a week DISNEY MAIL packages!
Head on over to Your Disney Side and create your own decal! Let your children each create themselves, so that it becomes a fun fun family activity and once again more Disney Mail to look forward to!
Get your guide book on! Many libraries carry these guide books, but we like to buy our own so that we can write in them, fold pages and constantly refer to them. We usually pick one up every month as a countdown to our trip. Many can be used year after year and others that are dated, we just cut out for our scrapbooks when we get back or hand them over to friends that are headed there next. Some of these books like Hidden Mickey's are AWESOME for bringing with you on vacation, because they will keep you and kids occupied while in lines and during down times. Order them online and you have more Disney mail arriving at your house. Start with planning guides far in advance and work your way towards dining guides when it's time to book your dining reservations (180 days). Work your way to Trivia, Engineering and specialty guides as you get closer and then be sure you have your Planning Guide ready and marked up to book your Fastpass + reservations (60 days).
Next, head on over to the WDW website and it's time to create your own park maps. Be sure to have your park guides with you so that you all can discuss rides and you can be sure that everyone meets the height requirements. This part is a lot of fun, we usually do this with dessert one evening around the dining room table. These usually arrive within 3-4 weeks but have sometimes arrived in 2 weeks, I guess it all depends on how much they have going on at that time!
Now it's time to head on over to EBAY and order your pin trading lanyards. No only are you saving money by doing this on Ebay and NOT at the parks, but you are adding to the fun of the trip. Disney sends awesome luggage tags with your Magical Express information, but if you don't need that many, let the kids put those on the bottom of the lanyard and they will also have your cell phone # on them in case of a worst case scenario. Another option is to let your children put their spending money on a Disney gift card and put that on the bottom of the lanyard, that way it is always with them. Now it's time to begin buying a handful of pins for each lanyard. Keep these pins to hand out on weeks that you have no Disney Mail coming and don't do them all at once, it makes it more fun for them to add as they go.
When it comes to Disney Pins, why spend top dollar on ones your children are just going to trade anyway, especially when you don't want to influence what they trade for. When buying from Ebay, be sure they are OFFICIAL Disney Trading pins ONLY! They will be marked on the back that way, you don't want cheap pins that the cast members will NOT trade for as it is. Pin trading keeps the kids engaged and having fun, without any additional monies being spent while in the parks. We usually then let the kids pick out one special non-tradeable pin in the parks. All the pins hit our shadow boxes at home once we get back from our trip.
Before you know it, it's time to go and THE DISNEY PACKAGE arrives. This is the one with your Magic Bands and you are now READY TO GO! Before these arrive, there are a few more things you can do to prepare for them! On Ebay, you can find a plethora of Bandits and Coverbands. These are things to decorate your Magic Band with. Let me inform you that if you WANT these items, to get them through Ebay and do not pay a lot for them. We lost so many bandits, I am glad I didn't pay full price for all of them. They pop off easily, so be sure to use E-6000 glue to glue them in place once you have sized the bands. This will go towards saving your sanity. The coverbands are a complete waste of money, the bands slide around non-stop and you can't always get a good connection with the wand when you are entering the park or using a fast pass. Of course, you are then holding up the line while you try and fish the band around. Disney claims that they can read through the material and for the most part they can but every now and then (usually with the longest line behind you), they don't. All of these fun little gadgets and do-dads help the time go by so much faster and add more levels of excitement that also lead you to save money when in the parks. You aren't spending on extras and your trivia guides give you something to do instead of wandering into the shops! We attempt to do Disney once a year and follow this plan as much as we can. Our break in our streak came when we bought the house and we had to put 2 years on hold and now we are preparing for a 3 week stint in Mexico next year and Europe the year after.
While waiting for that last week to DRAG BY....head on over to your local drug store and pick up some glow in the dark polish, glitter polish, favorite color and then a base and topcoat. Now you are ready to decorate your magic bands! We kept it simple by just painting the mickey head (this does not affect how it works AT ALL) with glitter polish and then the entire thing in glow in the dark polish. This is awesome in the evening and even better in dark rides and shows. The kids loved this part the most. You will need around 4-5 coats to get the most out of the glow polish.
How true! I always hear about how people think their children are too old or too young for Disney but this is just not true. My kids have gone as young as 2 months old and I was still going with my parents through college! Disney has no age restrictions on Magic and that is exactly what a trip to Disney is!
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