The months, weeks and days leading up to a Disney vacation can sometimes feel exceptionally long and agonizing! You can’t wait to finally leave and enjoy the Disney vacation that you have researched and planned. The kids are also extremely excited, and you want to keep that excitement building up through the vacation, right? Well there are lots of fun things that you can do with your kids to prep for your trip while having a lot of fun and building anticipation. Here are 10 of my family’s favorite pre-trip things that we do with the kids before each of our Disney vacations:
10. Make a countdown
There are so many creative ways to make a fun countdown for your family. You could make a chart where you color in the days, make a paper chain where each chain represents a day until the trip, a chalkboard, etc. The possibilities are endless, so look up ideas and figure out what would best suit the interests and ages of your kids so that they are engaged and excited about the countdown.
9. Review theme park maps
Each park has so many wonderful attractions, rides and experiences that await your family. It is a lot of fun (and a good idea) to familiarize the kids (and you) with all that the parks have to offer and get excited about the attractions that the kids are most excited about. This will also help you in planning to make sure that you can get FastPass+ or plan ahead to make sure that you catch everything that is most important to them. They get to feel like they got to help plan the vacation, too!
8. Plan gifts for loved ones
Spend time with the kids making a list of the family and friends that you plan to bring back a souvenir from the trip for. Maybe plan fun poses and pictures to take in front of the castle and other park icons to bring back fun pictures to show your family. Talk about ideas for items to bring back that they could take to their class for show-and-tell. It’s fun to spend time thinking about how you can bring back a little bit of Disney for the other important people in your lives.
7. Spend time watching Disney movie favorites
Watch all of your favorite Disney movies and get pumped up for your upcoming trip! It helps familiarize younger kids with favorite characters and fill your hearts full of the magic of Disney! Make it a fun marathon and watch every animated feature in the order that they were released. We have done this before a trip, and it was awesome! We loved counting down the movies together.
6. Plan craft nights
Plan fun nights where you do Disney inspired crafts. These could be crafts for items to bring on your trip or even crafts for the house, fridge and yard. Make it Disney and fun and you are sure to have a big winner on your hands and keep the excitement for your upcoming trip! We love to color Disney color sheets and make Disney Christmas ornaments.
5. Earn/Plan souvenir money
it is probably a good idea to set up a souvenir budget for the kids. You could give them a set amount of money that they are allowed to spend on souvenirs. You also could plan chores and activities to allow them to earn money for the trip. They may learn the value of a dollar while earning the money for their goodies. It may even make chores more fun for them and give them more desire to get them done!
4. Plan door/window resort decorations
There are many guests who decorate the doors and windows in their resort rooms, and it a lot of fun for the kids. It gives them a little bit of their own personal touch to the room and helps them recognize your room when you approach. Plan window clings, coloring pages, cutouts, etc. that you can put up based on your kids’ favorite characters. Have fun with it!
It can be a lot of fun to pack with the kiddos. Find out what they “think” is necessary for the trip. Have them run around and find things and gather them together for the suitcase. Let them pick a couple of their favorite items, books, etc. to pack in their bag for the plane or the car to keep themselves entertained. They also might learn a thing or two about packing and what is necessary for vacation.
2. Plan character meetings
For some, the characters are an extremely exciting part of your trip. If your kids are interested in meeting their favorite characters, start planning that with them. Get a checklist of characters together so that you know the priority for who to meet. Think of ideas for what you plan for them to sign. Maybe you just use an autograph book, or a photo frame mat, a pillow case, etc. There have been lots of creative ideas for character signings, so search for unique ideas if you want to make it a memorable keepsake.
1. Make family shirts
Make a fun night of designing and making matching family shirts together. You could use shirt pain, iron-on transfers, bedazzler gadgets, etc. Come up with something fun and unique for your family and sport them proudly in the parks together on your trip! We are HUGE fans of matching family shirts and always make a shirt for each trip. I plan to make a quilt out of them one of these days, especially as my boys grow and can’t fit them year after year.