Ideas for making the trip *extra* special for the kids

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by CaliDisneyMama, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Here is the list of ideas that have been given in this thread, so far. I'll keep updating it as long as people contribute! :)

    *Disneyfy the room as much as possible (Target has a pump soap that is shaped like Minnie- complete with bow, or Mickey, Cars toothpaste, a new Disney pillowcase, a Disney towel, etc.)

    *Confetti sprinkles you can put in the tub. After you fill the tub, put some in without your little one(s) seeing and when they walk in, tell them Tinker Bell must have been there with her pixie dust.

    *Disney Balloons to blow up and place in their bedroom or around the hotel room so they see them when they wake up.

    *Buy some souvenirs ahead of time and surprise them with them throughout your visit to the parks. Big Lots, Target, the Dollar Store, Party City, Walmart, Michaels, and other places regularly have Disney merchandise on sale so you can stock up ahead of time.

    *Character Dining

    *A Birthday Party reservation at Plaza Inn (currently $16.99/person, and you get quite a bit for the money!)

    *New Disney jammies

    *New Disney shirts to wear to the parks

    *Buy iron on transfer paper and make your own custom Disney shirts to wear to the parks

    *Put together a little backpack full of things for the kids to do while waiting in line for rides/attractions, treats, etc.

    *Disney apps for your phone to use during the waits in line

    *Look for the dancing water while waiting to see Tinkerbell

    *Touch the bronze apple by the Snow White ride, also look up at the window - the Evil Queen will peek out every now and then.

    *Rub the bronze lamp at the Bazaar in Adventureland and hear your fortune

    *In the shop at Frontierland, play the game to make Woody dance

    *Use the King & Queen bathrooms that are decorated like playing cards, beside the Alice ride

    *Listen to the windows outside the Market House shop (by the lockers), and the party line in the store.

    *Find the 4-leaf clover in DCA (you can see it from Flik's Flyers!)

    *Read your hand-stamp to see the special character (it smells like lemon, too!)

    *Make each child a Welcome Package for the hotel, full of things like Disney shower gel and soap, new jammies, swimsuits, beach towels, glow sticks, treats, etc.

    *Ask the Mark Twain CM if your child can pilot the boat

    *Ask to ride in the front or the back of the monorail

    *Ask a CM for your child to be able to "wake up" Jose in the Enchanted Tiki Room

    *Keep an eye out for the Disneyland kitties

    *Try to get as many "magic" shot photopass photos as you can (even more so if you have Photopass+!!)

    *Bring out the glow sticks/bracelets/etc. when we see the CMs walking around selling them. Target and the Dollar Store have these for $1 all the time.

    *Eat at Blue Bayou, and ask to be seated by the water

    *Buy an Autograph book and a sharpie (one that retracts is ideal) for character autographs; add photos from the trip to the book when you get home

    *Buy him an official Disney sketch from the Animators Studio in DCA and have it personalized


    *Buy a silhouette from the Silhouette Studio on Main Street

    *Help your child get picked for the Jedi Training show, by dressing them in Disney and/or Star Wars gear jumping up and down, and even making a foldable sign (be aware that it needs to be folded up and stored in a pocket or your bag or security will take it when you enter the parks; I'm told Darth Vader and Darth Maul keep some of their favorite signs and have them hanging in the CM area somewhere :) )

    *Pay your child(ren)'s allowance in Disney Dollars for a period of time leading up to the trip.

    *Take as many photos with characters as you can



    Here is the original post:

    I know that sounds redundant (Disneyland, after all, is extra special all on its own), but I'm looking for ways to add even more magic to our trip for our four year old. He has been to DL before, for his 2nd birthday, but obviously he doesn't remember a whole lot from that trip, and he's older now so things are a bigger deal to him.

    He knows we're going, but he doesn't know when, so we're trying to keep that a secret until the day we go. We're staying at the Holiday Inn and Suites, which is far enough removed from everything that I'm thinking we can get there and get checked in without him figuring it out. It may not work, but I'm hoping.

    So far I have a pack of balloons with the fab five on them that we'll blow up and throw around the hotel room after he's gone to sleep the night before so that they're there when he wakes up. I have a 17" plush Mickey that will be sitting somewhere noticeable, as well, and I'm hoping to find something for breakfast that is Mickey-themed to have there as well. I have a couple of shirts that I ordered from the Disney Store that will be there (so he can pick one to wear that day), along with some other misc. little Disney goodies.

    We have a ressie for Minnie and Friends that morning, which should kick our visit off with a Disneyfied bang.

    I'm putting together a similar set up with the Cars theme, as well, for the day that we go to DCA.

    I've tried searching the forum for other ideas, and I've found a few cute things, but it's hard to know what to search for, so I'm not finding much. I know this subject HAS to have been discussed a ton, so I was wondering if anyone knew of any threads that focused on things like this that I could peruse?

    Or if, for some reason, there's not already a thread like that out there, do any of you have any ideas, things you've done in the past for your kids (of any age!), or things you're planning to do? I'd be happy to compile it all into one big list of ideas and update the OP with it all :)

    Thanks!! :cool1:
     
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  3. Carolynleanne

    Carolynleanne Canadian Disney mom

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    Wow! Sounds pretty amazing to me already!!!
     
  4. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks :) I really want to make it special for him because it's most likely going to be a couple of years before we can go back.

    DH may or may not think I'm a little nuts, but I grew up with Disneyland being a pretty big part of my childhood, so of course I want it to be a big part of his, too. And since we can't go as often as I went when I was a kid (we lived in San Diego, so there were many day trips), I want the times when we CAN go, to be really great.

    He had SO much fun last time around:

    [​IMG]
    (showing off his birthday button)
     
  5. danaesacto

    danaesacto DIS Veteran

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    I was reading through the packing threads the other day and a few ideas caught my eye. First- Disneyfy the room as much as possible. In addition to what you are already doing- Target has a pump soap that is shaped like Minnie- complete with bow, or Mickey, they have Cars toothpaste (okay my girls may be a bit old for that one :rotfl:). I am going to see what else- I can find like that. Maybe a new Disney pillowcase? If I can get a Disney towel that would be cute to add to the hotel towels for some color and mood setting! For your little guy- maybe a special bath towel? Speaking of baths someone said they brought the confetti sprinkles you can put in the tub- and after they filled the tub they put some in without their little one seeing and when they walked in- they said :tinker: must have been there with her pixie dust. Definitely bring Disney jammies.

    Looking forward to what others have done!
    pixiedust:
     
  6. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Funny, I just saw that pump soap today while we were at Target, and it didn't even occur to me to get it for the hotel room! I love it!

    A towel is a great idea, too. And maybe a couple of those "magic towel" washcloths. I definitely have jammies on the list, and I'm searching for the perfect couple of pairs to buy. I'm afraid I'm a little picky, and I don't want them to be Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, because that seems like "every day" for him, if that makes sense. I think I'm going to hit up the Disney outlet this weekend and see what I can find.

    The confetti sprinkles is an adorable idea, and one that he would totally get a kick out of!
     
  7. nikkislaght

    nikkislaght DIS Veteran

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    If you have a Big lots near , they have a great selection of Disney stuff,
    We hit Big Lots and the Dollar stores before we go. and buy a scribble pad and pens. Little candies.. Tins. small toys, etc all with the Disney theme. B/L have a very good Cars selection too.
    The magic Towels are a wonderful thing to get and use in the hotel and for a buck each you can use a new one every day :)

    Michaels craft stores normally have a good Disney selection of things too.

    This year my son is into Ninjago and we made him some TShirts ... Michaels have a a good selection of Tees for a good price.. buy some iron on transfer paper.. print off any picture you want and presto custom made Tees to wear at Disneyland... :)

    Hope you all have a great trip..
     
  8. ImarriedGrumpy

    ImarriedGrumpy AKA Miss lady who isn't my mommy

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    For our trip in April with DS5, I'm putting together a little backpack for him to carry in the parks that will have a few small things for him to do while we're waiting in line. I've been stalking the dollar store and the Target dollar spot for Disney themed things - little mini notebooks, stickers, mini coloring books, mini story books, etc. I'll pack a toy car, some Disney snacks (the fruit gummy snacks, for example), and anything else small and light that might hold his interest when we have to wait somewhere.

    I've also downloaded some Disney themed apps/games for my ipod touch that he doesn't know I have yet, and I'll save them for the trip to show him during wait times, too.

    Sounds like you have a lot of fun ideas already! :)
     
  9. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Big Lots is a great idea! I never go there, so I hadn't thought about it.

    If you have a Party City near you, they have a TON of the little toys/trinkets in all kinds of Disney themes (lots of Mickey, Cars, Princesses, Toy Story, etc.) for .25, .50, $1, etc. Mini Bubbles, pens and pencils, notepads, mini-games, stickers... all kinds of stuff.

    Ooooh, apps for the lines! Fantastic idea!
     
  10. KEmum

    KEmum Earning My Ears

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    There are some really fun, do not miss things in the park that add some extra 'magic' to the trip.

    - the dancing water while waiting to see Tinkerbell.
    - touch the bronze apple by the Snow White ride, also look up at the window - the Evil Queen will peek out every now and then.
    - rub the bronze lamp at the Bazaar in Adventureland and here your fortune.
    - In the shop at Frontierland, play the game to make Woody dance, my kids love it!
    - Use the King & Queen bathrooms that are decorated like playing cards, beside the Alice ride along the major walkway.
    - Listen to the windows outside the Market House shop (by the lockers), it's pretty funny. Also, listen to the party line in the store.
    - find the 4-leaf clover in DCA (you can see it from Flik's Flyers!)
    - read your hand-stamp to see the special character, it smells like lemon, too!

    I think it will be a magical trip, regardless. All your extra pixie-dust ideas sound wonderful, I may just borrow some of them. :D
     
  11. Eddygirl

    Eddygirl Mouseketeer

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    I collected a bunch of Disney stuff for the kids to make a welcome package for our room. Swimsuits, jammies, shower gel and toiletries, candies, beach towels, t-shirts, socks, flip flops, hidden Mickey books, pins for trading, a roll of pennies and quarters for the penny "squishers" , glow sticks and other small things. I purchased from Disney store, Target, Michaels, etc. I also ordered some Disney die cuts on Etsy and EBay. I had a few Tink sillouhettes,1" Mickey head confetti and "surprise" and "welcome" in Disney font. I packaged everything up in Disney beach totes.

    When we got to the hotel DH took the kids to check out the pool. I spread a towel on the foot of each bed with the totes and a Mickey plush for DS and Minnie plush for DD. I put a Tink on the pillows and on the mirrors. I arranged the letters to spell out "Welcome" and "Surprise" on the white duvet covers on the beds. I left a trail of the confetti out the door just into the hall and went to meet up with everyone for a bite to eat.

    When we got back it was DS that spotted the Mickey Heads in the hall and it was great fun to discover their surprises. They were so thrilled! And it was really fun to have new Disney jammies to wear to bed that night. They had shirts to wear into the park the next day and they both slept with their plushes the whole trip. I am so glad I did that for them. And I have the die cuts tucked away to use when I get the scrapbook put together.
     
  12. Eddygirl

    Eddygirl Mouseketeer

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    All of these are so wonderful! I will add we asked the CM at the turnstiles to the Mark Twain if DS could pilot the boat. He was lead up to the wheel house with all of us in tow and he got to do just that! He got to ring the bell ad blow the steam whistle. We also got a lovely tour with interesting facts from the Captain. The kids got a certificate, we signed the guest book and we took their pictures in the captain's quarters under the wheelhouse. It was a very memorable experience for all of us. 😄
     
  13. mysteriouspnai

    mysteriouspnai DIS Veteran

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    There's also other things like riding the front or back of the monorail and riding Tender or the Lilly Belle, depending on when you're going.
     
  14. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    I've read about that before, I think it sounds like so much fun! I'm adding it to my list, and we'll see if it interests him when we're there (I never know; sometimes I think he'll love something and he's totally "meh" about it and other times I think nothing of something and it's the greatest thing in the world to him lol).

    What a great idea! If he figures out where we are before the big morning surprise, I think I'll do something like this :)

    It will definitely be a magical trip, regardless. I could do nothing at all extra and it would still be magical for him. But my family (though we went to DL a lot) never did anything extra at all because we just couldn't afford it, so doing these little extra-pixie-dust things is super fun for me. I'm kind of living vicariously through him :love:

    I love your ideas, and several of them are already on my list of things to do in the park. I'm totally curious about the Alice bathrooms, though! I don't think I've ever used them, so what is different about them?
     
  15. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    A few things I've added to my list today:

    -Ask a CM for DS to be able to "wake up" Jose in the Enchanted Tiki Room. He will LOVE that!

    -Keep an eye out for the Disneyland kitties (DS is allergic to cats and dogs, but he absolutely LOVES them, so it's always an exciting thing when he gets to see a cat or a dog; I'd imagine cats that actually live in DL, will totally tickle him)

    -Try to get as many of those "magic" shot photopass photos as we can (DS would die if we could get the one where they stick Capt. Hook into the photo to look like they're sword fighting... I think it was along the river or on Tom Sawyer's Island? I don't know if they still do that one, though). We have Photopass+ this time, so we may as well get the most out of it!

    -Take a trip on the monorail and ask to sit up front with the driver/pilot/captain/whatever they are called. I have read in a few places that they don't allow that anymore, but I've also read the opposite, so I figure it can't hurt to ask.

    -Bring out the glow sticks/bracelets/etc. when we see the CMs walking around selling them. This was a huge hit the last time we went, so I've stocked up on all kinds of glowy stuff for this trip. Gotta love the Dollar Store and Target's dollar spot!
     
  16. tdhickey

    tdhickey DIS Veteran

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    I think dressing up is big thing for kids that age, a lot of the CM will recognize them and point it out making the whole experience that much better. I saw a kid in the Cars racing costume, and he was having a blast and a half. My daughter is already planning on bringing 3 princess dresses next time, she loved wearing hers this last trip. Some suggestions...

    - Eat at Blue Bayou...aka eat at the Pirate Ride
    - Photopass Plus...order this, buy him a signature and picture book for character greetings and then print out the pics of him and the characters for the book and ride photos are great
    - Buy him an official Disney sketch from the Animators Studio in DCA and have it personalized...this is more of a special later versus a special now
    - Let him go on the same ride again, and again, and again...you know the drill
    - Let him build his own lightsaber
    - Jedi Training, wear Disney Star Wars gear and jump up and down to get picked
     
  17. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Great ideas!

    I'll have to see what I can come up with as far as something for him to "dress up" as... I have several new Disney shirts for him that he'll be able to wear, but I wonder if he would like to dress up as, say... Buzz or Jack Sparrow or someone else... Maybe I'll show him some youtube videos of kids dressed up at DL, and see what he thinks, without actually giving away what I'm doing.

    I ordered Photopass+ last week; just waiting for it to arrive. Can't wait!

    I actually just ordered an "official" Disneyland autograph book for him this morning. The Disney Store is having a B1G1 sale on plush today, so I ordered the ones that I needed for his big surprise wake up the day we go, and threw that in the cart as well. Now I just need to get a fatter sharpie that retracts (instead of the ones with lids) for the characters to sign with.

    Where do you build your own lightsaber?

    We are definitely planning to do the Jedi Training! We've got a star wars shirt already, and we're going to make a sign that can be folded up and stored in my purse until it's time for him to hold it up and jump up and down. Do you think a Disney Star Wars shirt will be better than the regular Star Wars shirt that we already have?
     
  18. hope23

    hope23 Earning My Ears

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    One of our favorite things to do is give each of the kids their own disposable camera so they can capture what they are interested in. We've gotten some great pictures from this... and it's interesting to see what things look like from their perspective and what they are drawn to. Always a favorite vacation activity.
     
  19. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    This is on my list, too :) I've been on the lookout for a Disney-themed disposable. I came across a couple on Amazon, but they have pre-printed borders on the pictures that you take, which I'm not thrilled about. I may end up just realizing that I'm ridiculous and just get a regular old disposable :rotfl:
     
  20. CaliDisneyMama

    CaliDisneyMama Mouseketeer

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    Only on month until we leave! I'm getting so excited, it's hard for me to not tell him it's coming so soon! He knows we're going, but he has no idea when, and we've kind of hinted that it's happening later this year. I'm terrible at keeping secrets, so it's going to be huge if I can pull this off :rotfl:

    One thing we're doing, that I hadn't thought of mentioning until I was reminded of it when posting on another thread, is that he is earning stickers for doing certain things like sleeping in his bed all night, keeping his room clean, etc. We're putting the stickers on a reward chart, and each sticker is worth ten cents. So he's earning a dollar for every ten stickers. Some things he does are worth one sticker (every day things like picking up his toys without having to be asked more than once), some things are worth more. For instance, he knows if he sleeps in his bed all night for an entire week, he'll get a bonus ten stickers (this is something he struggles with; he's a snuggler, and really just wants to come and get in bed with us, so an entire week of staying only in his bed would be a huge deal).

    I have a Disney gift card with $10 on it already, so he'll get that if he earns $10 (he's up to $4 right now, with a month left to go), and if he earns more than that, I'll add to it before we leave.

    He knows what he's earning money for, and he's super excited to have his own gift card to use to buy whatever he wants at DL. I think that moment when he gets to hand the gift card to the cashier is going to be really awesome for him :love:
     
  21. Cactus girl

    Cactus girl Earning My Ears

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    Starting when DD was very small, we would schedule a birthday party at the Plaza Inn. If you search for birthday parties on the disneyland site it lets you make a reservations. It's only $16.99/pp. You usually get your picture made with Mickey and Minnie (together), get to make an individual cake, have punch in a take home cup and enjoy the humor of Pat E Cake. It doesn't matter what time of the year we go, we just always celebrate someone's birthday. For us, it's also a nice break in the middle of the day. You can sometimes make day of reservations.

    Another thing we love is the Discover the Magic family tour. At 4, your child may be a little young. I think our DD was 5 the first time we did it. However, it is super fun for the whole family.
     

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