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Old 04-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #1
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Little Things To Make Disney Special

Okay, so I know Disney is already very special but this is going to be our family's first trip and I want everything to be perfect for our four kids ... I've read a couple of trip reports and see countdown calendars, t-shirts and other little things which seem to make the kids so happy ... Also I read somewhere about getting phone calls from Mickey I want everything, all the little moments which just make the holiday special ... Any ideas?
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
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My advice is the 1st trip is already going to be super special and overwhelming to everyone involved. I would just take it for what it is and skip a majority of the extras or your going to set the bar very high and those things will be expected each time you return.

I think the best thing you can do as a 1st timer is read, learn and plan! Join a touring site, look at plans best suited to the ages of your children, familiarize yourself with fast pass, and use it! Worry about making your days run smoothly and not making sure all the little extras are in place.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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At the entrance to each park you can get complimentary 1st Visit buttons to wear during the trip. You can also get one if you're celebrating an anniversary or birthday. Wearing the buttons can also get the kids a little extra attention from CMs or even from the characters. My DD wore one on her 1st visit and was over the moon when Cinderella commented on it and spent extra time talking to her because of it. DD still talks about that, even though she was only 3 and she's 7 now. She remembers it so clearly.

I second the caution about setting the bar too high. If you plan on going back in the future, try not to overdo things. Save some of the extras for future trips! And since kids have no idea how many things you're able to do at WDW, they're happy and satisfied as long as they get to see their favorite character or favorite ride. Each year we go I ask DD7 and DS4 what are the top 3 things they each want to do. Our trips are then planned around what makes the top 3 for each child. It helps a lot with planning and it prevents us (parents) from overdoing it because we want to make the trip a great experience. For instance, for our trip in Sept. I was going to make ADR at 1900 Park Fare for a dinner with Cinderella, DD's favorite. When I told her, she said she's already seen Cinderella so she'd rather go to the restaurant with unlimited ice cream (Trail's End at FW). As parents we want to do everything for them, but the kids don't usually want as much as we want for them. They're happy with the simplest things. It's so hard to remember that, but it's true.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:53 PM   #4
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some ideas:

* press pennies - pay $0.51 for a penny w/a character or ride smooshed into it - great fun to search out the machines and collect the coins

* collect autographs - make your own custom books at home using stickers and clip art of fave characters

* take time to watch a parade and dont miss the shows - they are excellent

* make time for swim time at your resort - kids love pools as much as the parks!

* it is fun and silly to take pics in the giftshops/ countries in Epcot, etc in silly hats - makes for a great photo spread when you get home.

* try the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream

The recommendation to do your research so you have an indepth knowledge of the parks, whats there, and how things work is excellent - the greater your depth of knowledge will allow for flexibility and making a "plan B" on the fly so you dont miss a beat in your trip.

Happy planning!
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:13 AM   #5
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One thing I did to make my boys first trip special was to have a gift from Mickey in our room one night. I packed small gifts and typed up a note from Mickey and hid it all in my luggage. On our first night as we were headed to dinner I told my boys I forgot something in the room and placed the gifts on the bed. When we returned I told them Mickey had brought them. They still remember the toys and tell me those are the toys that Mickey gave them.

This year our trip is a surprise, but I am making a countdown paper chain. Not sure yet how we're going to tell them.


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Old 04-08-2011, 07:08 AM   #6
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I want everything to be perfect for our four kids

I agree with the PP saying try not to set the bar too high. As wonderful as Disney is, it can rain, rides can shut down without notice, kids get sick, well, you get the picture. Just remember to stop and smell the roses!

A few 'extras' that have made our trip a little extra magical:
For MVMCP I brought light-up Christmas necklaces (Yup, we're all adults, but we loved them!)
Special occasion buttons as PP mentioned.
Having CM's from WS write 'Hello" (or something) in their native language on a cheap white painters hat.

Have fun!
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:29 PM   #7
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Having a good plan of parks, rides and restaurants will make the trip run smooth which will make it special!! Just being there for everyone is super special!!

I too caution at setting that bar too high the first trip. You will be overwhelmed enough without trying to stress about all the "extras" Besides if you do lots of extras the first time the next time your kids will EXPECT it!!
8 Trips while growing up,11/94 Dixie Landings (honeymoon); 11/01 WL; 10/02 OKW; 2/03 AKL; 2/04 BWV/OKW; 2/05 AKL/BWV; 10/05 JW Marriott;1/06 WLV; 7/06 BWV; 2/07 - FW Cabins;08/07 HHI; 11/07 BWV/SSR, 06/08 - HHI, 11/08 - BWV, 06/09 - HHI, 06/10 - HHI; 12/10 Christmas at BLT; 06/11 Disney with the dance girls and DD dancing up Main St. in MK parade!!! 11/11 Thanksgiving in WDW!! 6/12 in HHI! Christmas in Disney 2013!; HHI - April 2014; and Coming UP: Thanksgiving Week 2014!
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:36 PM   #8
Sally & Clay (Disney Travelers 2008)
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I always like to do a few extra things to make it special . I like to make the kids matching (or coordinating T- shirts) and use transfer paper to print them. There are some great designers here on DIS that can help. I can even help if you want to send me a message on the boards....

Also, I like to pack a few souvenir type gifts and give them to them in the hotel room. this also helps cut down on souvenir costs at the parks.

One of my FAVORITE Disney items is the canvas bag I use to carry stuff in the parks. I got our family's last name embroidered on it and the characters sign it with sharpie markers. Every trip we get new and different autographs. It is my own unique souvenir.

Hope these few ideas help...but...your first Disney trip will me magical, no matter what!!
(me) (DH) (DS16) (DD10)

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OKW, Spring Break 2009/SSR June 2009/AKL January 2010/AKL & BLT Halloween 2010 /Spring Break 2011 - Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort/June 2011 - & BLT & BW /AKL, Spring Break 2012 / Disney Dream Jan. 2014
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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On our first trip I also made up gift baskets that Mickey left on the table our first night while the boys were sleeping. It was a big hit! That was before you had to pay for each piece of luggage (if you're flying) so last time we went I decorated cute letters from Mickey and put in $20 in the envelope. It took up lots less space in the luggage and they got to buy whatever the wanted. The only problem with this is that they now expect Mickey to leave them a gift each trip.

I also packed glow sticks. My kids love those! If you're planning to stay up late one night they make walking around in the dark a little more special.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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We usually take about an hour or so and sit on the curb on Main St and let the kids play in the street. We sit there an enjoy the atmosphere and talk about our trip. Obviously we do this when its not too busy on Main St and its usally our last day there but it allows us to just enjoy it instead of constantly running thru Main St to get to that character greeting, ride, or whatever else we're heading to. Have fun and enjoy your 1st trip!
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:52 PM   #11
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I think the anticipation of going on the trip should be enough in itself. Leaving may very well be a different story. I got each of my girls a stuffed Mickey and hid them until we were ready to leave, and put them in their seats in the car. Instead of a long dreary ride, they had a new friend to ride with them.
Being a dwarf must be hard. After all, only 1 in 7 is Happy.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:25 AM   #12
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I always pick up some Disney items before our trip and make notes from different characters. Each morning our boys find a gift from a different character. Sometimes they leave them the same thing, sometimes not. They love seeing what has been left them each morning.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:21 AM   #13
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I ditto the idea of planning a Top 3 wish list....

It may be tough to come up w/ those few MUST fav things being the first trip...but if it's not a surprise, I'd pre-order some maps, go on you tube, order the free vacation planning video and have a fun pre Disney night before you go and have the kids pick 3-5 things they'd really like to check out!

you can never fit it all in and the MAGIC really will sneak up on you. Have a good plan of where you want to go each day and goals for what you want to do will really help set a tone for the trip. Don't over plan so you can stop and enjoy something you didn't know would be "lurking" around the entertainment in World Showcase or a special character meet and greet.

something that hasn't been mentioned we like to do each trip is journals.

I have made the kids special journals each trip that they can write in during and is a wonderful keepsake and memory to look back on.

Plus if you like the idea of some little surprise gifts in your room...they don't neccessarily need to be from Mickey or another character. But several mornings on our last trip...I hade made souviner tickets for a trading pin of your choice and $10 off a purchase from Mouse kids really liked those.

Another simple thing is to make "invites" to the day and lay them on the table before heading out.

we try and do 1 -2 special extra things each trip but they are different each trip...sometimes big like a prepaid kid activity others small and simple like special alone time w/ Mom or Dad for an hour in the park...

Have fun planning and a wonderful trip
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #14
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First and foremost, have a great and happy trip! no matter what you do, it will be magical if you have the mindset.

some other fun things I like to do/have done:
pressed pennies are a fun souvenir
go to Chef Mickeys or another character meal to meet characters without terribly long lines
be sure to take time to see Downtown Disney
One day, just grab a snack and a bench and people watch and talk about fun things you've done/want to do in your favorite park
And the most important thing (I think) is tell your hotel its a first visit at checkin! you should get buttons, and when you wear them around CMs go out of their way to make things special. we did it for my grandparents when we took them, and it really made their trip special that CMs stopped and asked how things were going, you could see the magic in their eyes.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:59 PM   #15
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also, visit the pastry shop in France. It's DELICIOUS, and great quality
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