Sunday, January 27, 2013

Disney 2013: Prep and Packing

I am going to try and write in detail about our trip on the blog; mainly for my memory, but also because in preparing for our trip I have absolutely loved reading about other families' trips to Disney and gathering tips from each and every site. There is something so fun and magical about seeing a family standing in front of Cinderella's castle or seeing a little girl meet her favorite princess for the first time (and in real life!) It really doesn't matter if I know the family or not; I get a little teary-eyed seeing those pictures. It is truly a magical place and I can't wait to experience it as a mama! Agh! Ok, enough before I burst into bloggy tears.

Like I said before, I've gleaned hundreds of tips from Pinterest (you can visit my Vacation and Travel board here) and from various blogs that I've found just by googling "Disney tips." I'm so thankful for parents who take the time to write it all out and make it somewhat easier for me to pack and prepare. I've had so much fun planning outfits and gathering goodies and now we're on the final countdown and I can hardly wait.

Disclaimer: Pretty much ALL of these things have been done by thousands of other mamas too; I got the ideas from the sites I mentioned above; and I realize that most of it is probably unnecessary. You don't HAVE to do any of this to go to Disney World, obviously. I do it because I love it and I know my kids will too!

Here is what we've done so far to get ready!

I purchased lots of glow sticks from Dollar Tree and Walmart so the kids wouldn't be begging for a $25 glowing spin stick at the parades. From what I hear, they are also useful to tie around your strollers so that you can spot them easily. You'll also notice the Mickey and Minnie lollipops in this photo. Those were on the Walmart party aisle and you can bet they will be used for long lines and for bribery. Oh yes they will.

The Dollar Tree is packed FULL of Disney stuff. We're talking coloring books, jump ropes, yo-yo's, chalkboards, paint-by-numbers, just about anything you can think of; so I got the big kids a little 'gift from Mickey' for every day when they wake up.

Spotted these Tummy Tickler juices at Walmart; I'll probably take the labels off and put the kids' names on them (the Thomas one is for our cousin Charlie.) We will refill them in the parks and enjoy them with our snacks.

And speaking of snacks, we bought most of them at Sam's. There are 3 families going (us, my parents and my aunt and uncle and their 3 kids) so we just divided the cost. (The grape juice was not for Disney.) We bought Capri Suns, granola bars, Chex Mix, puffs, baby food, sweet and salty trail mix, crackers, Goldfish, the list goes on. I also purchased diapers and wipes there.
And the BEST part is that I SHIPPED all my diapers, wipes and snacks to our resort, so they will be waiting on us when we arrive. I shipped about 80 diapers (way too many), 3 huge packs of wipes, 3 boxes of Capri Suns, and the rest of the snacks in a huge box for around $30. This probably sounds like a headache, but I would have had to pack all of that in an extra suitcase and check it, which would've cost $50 round trip, plus I would have ended up with an extra (empty!) checked bag on the way home. So when I found out that the resort would accept packages up to 10 days before our arrival, I headed to Fedex and sent my stuff to sunny Florida. :)  It will be nice not to have to worry about that. (Please pray it gets there safely and that, more importantly, no one eats my trail mix.) 

Now, I have to admit, planning the clothes has been one of my favorite parts. Yall know I love a good matching set of cute sibling outfits. Especially when they involve a monogram or an applique. So Mom and I went to town on some already-purchased blanks and now we officially need an intervention. I have to give all credit to Mom; she has the best ideas and we work well as a team! I'm good with scissors and she's good with everything else so we cranked out a week's worth of Disney attire in about 3 hours flat. I'll give details later.

I'm pretty proud of myself for these carriage appliques. Love how they turned out. Mary Ella's dress was a Patsy Aiken knit dress I purchased at Giggles and Grace consignment in the fall and it was monogrammed with someone else's initials so it had to be covered anyway. And Emma Kate's pink blank is from Fireflies and Fairytales. Love this line and love the sisters who make them. They are sold at several places in Birmingham and you can also get their outfits at Nellie Mae and Goodman's Sports if you are in the Shoals area. Most of the proceeds go to their foundation which supports children who have lost a parent to cancer, which I think is so sweet and special! Anyway, that's where the pink outfit came from (and it came blank.)

I also did this one at the last minute. My Toy Story loving boy had to have a Toy Story shirt!
The claaawwwww...

Have you heard of  Sweet as Shuga? Her designs are some of the cutest and most original designs I have seen (besides Mom's of course, hehe). These are heat transfer shirts and the quality is exceptional. Even her packaging is top notch. You won't find screen print designs like this anywhere else and she has them for every occasion. She did the pirate ship and princess shirts for us and they are so sweet. I can't wait for the kids to wear them.

Do you see those sweet chubby fingers in this photo? I could eat that baby up!

We have a few more outfits in the lineup and I've been trying to get them all packed up and ready to go! Another tip I read is to pack each child's outfit for the day in an individual gallon ziplock bag - not only the outfit but the socks, undergarments, bow, accessories, whatever goes with that outfit - pack it all in the bag; that way you can just pull out the ziplock and have exactly what you need for that day. (And this will be great since we are taking my parents! I'm thinking 'Hey Papa! Catch!' and throwing him a kid and a bag. Easy peasy. And who wants to dig for socks each day? Not me.)
So my dining room has been a central packing area for the last few days.

To make sure I didn't miss anything, I made a list of what should go in each bag; shirt, pants/shorts, socks, and bows for the girls. (Since Mary Ella is the only one that wears panties and since she'll most likely be changing into new ones at night, I packed all of her panties in their own bag.) As I packed them, I'd cross off every item one by one. Still not there yet but we're making progress.

I packed each of their PJ's in separate bags as well. I only packed 4-5 sets of PJ's for each kid and even this is probably excessive. They will probably take baths at night and sleep in clean PJ's every day. I just put as many pairs as would fit. 

Despite having been to Disney several times, I've never been the one to actually plan the trip, so I had no idea about Mousekeeping! They are the people who come in and clean your room, make your beds, and create all sorts of fun towel animals, etc. each day while you are enjoying the parks. Lots of people recommended making little envelopes to leave them tips each day since they really do go out of their way to make your trip special. (You can Google "MouseKeeping" and see about 1,000 versions of these Mousekeeping envelopes, 99% of which are way more elaborate and creative than mine are! But hopefully they won't mind my Target envelope/sticker and Sharpie versions. I did try my best to replicate the famous Disney font.)

Our friends Mark and Larissa were sweet enough to bring us maps of the parks after their recent trip, and Mary Ella has loved looking at them. Poppa took the girls on a virtual guided tour through each park last weekend. Emma Kate ate half the Epcot map so we're hoping that's not a bad sign.

Poppa has also downloaded the Disney Wait Time app and every morning I get text messages regarding the wait times on various rides. The texts will just say something like:

"Test Track - 25 minutes."

Or sometimes it is a weather update:

"Rain on Wednesday. High 70's the rest of the week." He's all about the extended forecast.

I'd say he's a little bit excited. :)

And so are the kids! Mary Ella talks about it all the time and she's constantly telling me what is on the agenda; Chef Mickey's, Test Track (which she says is her 'fravorite ride ever.' And yes I said 'fRavorite' because that is how she says it.) She has loved looking at pictures with me online and planning out what she wants to do. One night we even set up our own little Disney World in Sam's room, complete with Aladdin's magic carpet ride...

Test Track...

and the famous Teacups.

The wait time on the teacups was dreadfully long on this particular night.

And Mary Ella has been sure to educate little sister on all the wonderful princesses she is about to meet.

And lastly, just to prove how cool and awesome it is to plan and coordinate your kids' outfits at Disney World, allow me to take you back to 1992. Hello Kelly's Kids. Hello knee-length shorts. Hello fanny packs and white Keds and white socks. Ah, those were the days. (Yes these were taken at Disney World, and yes, even the parents matched the children. Including the dads. So actually it was a wee bit worse back then.) This is Betsy, Adam, myself and my cousin Katie.

Here we are again with my mom (left) and aunt Kristi (right.)
Annnd hello visors. Look closely and you will notice my aunt Kristi does not have the appliquéd tropical fruit shirt (gasp!), but she DOES have the coordinating tote bag. 
And just to let you know...
I'm almost 11 and I'm wearing a one-piece outfit here. 
Times. have. changed.

Hope everyone has a magical week! :)


jessica said...

Oh I loved reading this post! I don't know what I liked best...the coordinating outfits (love!) or the blast from the past pics of you and your fam. Too cute! I know y'all are going to have a great time! And then report back so we can plan our trip next! =)

Mrs.Joe said...

I can't wait to read all about your trip! We're going in October and we can't wait!!

Amy said... and tell me again exactly why i'm not going with you????

Ashley Crocks said...

Be sure to go to Storytime with Belle in the new Fantasyland area. It's a longer line, but FastPass is available and will be TOTALLY worth it. I promise. Have your camera/video camera ready.

Ashley Crocks said...

Oh - also - the lunch menu at the "Be Our Guest" restaurant is some of the best food in the Magic Kingdom. And free refills on drinks (never seen this anywhere in Disney but here.) At Hollywood Studios go to the Animation Academy and do the drawing class. It's free and you get to keep your Disney character drawing. The baby centers in the parks are amazing. Air conditioning, rockers, extra diapers, microwaves, etc. At Epcot, the band that plays in the United Kingdom is amazing and kids love dancing around the hedge maze there while the adults rock out to british rock and roll. HAVE FUN!!

Sandahlyn said...

I'm sure you know. FAST PASS IS A MUST! Chad can run around, swipe them all, and meet back up with y'all at the first place on your list.
(Also, momma to momma, we saved time by going to a show or a ride that's in the dark, and I would nurse during that time so it wouldn't slow the group down.) Y'all are going to have so much fun! Wish we were going back again! Can't wait to hear about it!

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