After months and months of reservations and planning, I cannot believe the time has finally arrived for our kids' first Disney World vacation! Once the magic of Christmastime had passed, we immediately immersed ourselves in all things Disney. First we began our countdown. And each day after cutting off another chain, we completed one Disney craft or activity. We also read a ton of Disney books. Keep scrolling to see what we did to help us get psyched for our trip!
21 days until Disney:
On our first day we of course created the countdown itself. The kids helped with the cutting, circle punching and gluing. Our inspiration came from this picture floating around Pinterest. How cute is the Minnie one too?!
20 days until Disney:
On this day we gathered around the computer and watched You Tube videos about our resort. We are going to stay at Art of Animation in a Nemo room, so we pulled up video tours of the room, the incredible "Big Blue" pool and even the Landscape of Flavors restaurant. Such fun!
19 days until Disney:
Today we had a family movie night: Dumbo!
18 days until Disney:
I was so excited to try this craft out. Today we recreated the Magic Kingdom fireworks. I have seen so many versions of fireworks on Pinterest, but none of them really looked right to me. Until I came across this technique from Danya Banya. You take a few toilet paper tubes, and cut them up as I did below:
The farther up the tube you cut, the bigger your fireworks will be! We chose a few bright colors. This would look cool on dark blue or black paper, as most fireworks occur at night; but I wanted to print an image of the castle on the paper. So I printed on white and taped two pieces together to give us more room for fireworks. See how incredible they came out?? Even I made one:
This is Little M&M's:
And here's Honey Pot's. Bonus points if you can spot the unintentional "Hidden Mickey" she created!
Our space on the white paper was too limited for our creative needs, so I pulled out two huge sheets of brown craft paper and we continued there. Here is one of those. I'll keep it aside for homemade wrapping paper!
17 days until Disney:
Today we made stained glass pictures to hang on the glass door. I gave each child a choice of Beauty and the Beast or Sleeping Beauty. Little M&M chose the former and Honey Pot chose the latter. So I let them each choose an image from Google and printed them onto vellum paper. They chose three colors of tissue paper and used their scissors to try to cut them up. I helped with this part, especially for Little M&M. Then I gave each child a piece of contact paper, sticky side up. And they covered it with the tissue paper. When it was completely filled, I cut out a piece of it and placed their vellum paper on top. Add a border and, ta da! They look so lovely with the sunshine coming through.
16 days until Disney:
Today we had a "Hidden Mickey" scavenger hunt! We told the kids about the real hidden Mickey's all over Disney World. I used a Mickey Mouse punch to cut out 40 little Mickey heads, and hid them around the house.
Then they both went searching!
"Where is another one?" Hmm, I don't know, Honey Pot...
They counted them up to make sure we had found them all. Then I put them in rows of five, for Honey Pot to practice her skip counting too!
On a side note, we used these again to make patterns during "Patch Time" on another day.
15 days until Disney:
Today we made paper plate Winnie the Pooh's, using paper for the eyes, nose and ears as well as yarn for the mouth and eyebrows. Aw.
14 days until Disney:
I had such a fun idea for today's activity! I found a coloring page online for Pongo and Perdita, and removed their spots in Photoshop Elements. Then the kids used a splatter painting technique to add their spots! We watered down some black paint, and shook our brushes over the paper. (If you do his inside, line the entire area with newspaper--it gets messy!) Love how this came out!
13 days until Disney:
12 days until Disney:
This activity was perhaps the biggest hit yet! We played Toy Story Bingo! The printable sheets come from Six Sisters' Stuff. I love these because each card has every picture, so the kids will always have one to cover up. We used our Mickey punch as counters...they just happened to be the right size. Oh, and we used M&M's as the prize. Just two, because we played a lot of rounds!! I was surprised with how well Little M&M did with this game. Being under 3 years old he hasn't had much exposure to board games, yet he understood the rules and played pretty well!
11 days until Disney:
Today we made Nemo hand-prints! I was going for something like this, which I had seen on Pinterest, but ours came out a little different. No matter though! The kids had fun! They painted their oceans with sponges, to give it a bubbly look. They also added some seaweed and sea stars. The kids each wanted to do a second hand-print, so we also made one on white paper, and the white stripes were much clearer!
10 days until Disney:
We made Cinderella's glass slipper! This marvelous idea comes from A, Bee, C, Preschool. I found a glass slipper coloring page online, and printed it onto blue cardstock. Then the kids colored in the flowers as they pleased. Next, they used a foam brush to paint the slipper with glue, and we sprinkled glitter over the top of it. We are so in love with this craft. We hung them up on the wall and they really shimmer as we walk by them.
9 days until Disney:
We played a game of Little Mermaid Go Fish, which I had created as party favors for Honey Pot's 3rd birthday party, remember? We had loads of fun! Here's a picture of what the full set looks like, and there are four of each card.
Little M&M was on Daddy's team.
And Honey Pot was on her own team, and played super well.
8 days until Disney:
We enjoyed another family movie night tonight: Finding Nemo!
7 days until Disney:
Today we finally tried a bit of melted crayon art. I'd been seeing them everywhere on Pinterest, and decided it was time. So we picked up some crayons and two Crayola canvases from Michaels, as well as some 3D Disney stickers. And this is what we created:
6 days until Disney:
I took suggestions for today's craft, and the kids wanted to do Bambi. I printed a coloring page for each of them of a young Bambi, after removing his spots in Photoshop. Then they colored it in and we pasted it onto construction paper. We decided to make it a textile craft, by adding tissue paper spots and flowers from my scrapbooking stash. They used their giant pushpins to poke holes for the brads in the center of each flower--great fine motor practice. Honey Pot's is below, she also glued on a sun and drew a butterfly, heart and spider.
And here is Little M&M's. He also drew a butterfly!
5 days until Disney:
Today we prepared our containers and pennies for the kids' first collection: pressed pennies! Since they are too young to read, I felt they wouldn't appreciate character autographs too much. So instead, we'll collect pressed pennies at Disney World. I used the printable labels from here, and taped them onto mini M&M containers. Marie the Aristocat for Honey Pot and Lightning McQueen for Little M&M!
Here are our dirty pennies:
We plunked a few at a time into a bowl of 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then we counted to ten very slowly before pulling them out.
Rinse under water:
Then let them dry.
It actually worked really well! Some pennies were too dirty to make a difference; but most of them really shined. It was pretty cool to watch. Here is a mid-process picture for comparison:
We've pulled aside a couple rolls of quarters too, and now we're ready to stop at a few pressed penny machines! We're so excited!
4 days until Disney:
Today we created Frozen hearts! We did this experiment for Valentine's Day a couple years ago, and it was nice to revisit it. First, we shaped blue pipe cleaners into hearts. Honey Pot was able to help with this part! Then we tied a piece of string to each heart, and tied a craft stick to the other end of each. We filled each cup with boiling water + 1/3 of a cup of Borax, then stirred. Insert heart and let them sit overnight!
In the morning, they looked like this:
I took them out carefully and let them dry on a paper towel for just a minute. The kids enjoyed touching them and exploring the crystals that had formed.
Then we hung them up in the window. They looked especially beautiful when the sun shined through!
3 days until Disney:
Today we watched a Disney parade on You Tube! I chose the "Pixar Play Parade" from Disney's California Adventure, since I knew that we weren't going to see that one during our trip. The kids loved it so much, that we ended up watching another show. It was called "Dream Along with Mickey" and the kids were absolutely enthralled! Little M&M was particularly excited to see Maleficent, because she's a favorite of his at the moment. What a great way to psych them up for the trip, and expose them to what these characters are going to look like in real life!
2 days until Disney:
Today was a big packing day, so we had another family movie night! Today's pick: Beauty and the Beast!
1 day until Disney:
Our countdown just flew by! On our final day, we finished packing. The kids got to choose which toys/books they wanted to bring in their backpacks. (I also sneaked in some never-before-seen toys and some yummy snacks as a surprise when we're on the airplane.) They'll carry these backpacks themselves through the airport and as their carry-ons. This is their first time flying, so we also read a book about airplanes today and talked about what to expect.
Our kiddos are super excited, and I think they have a good idea of just how amazing this trip is going to be. How very lucky are we?! Now we're off on our adventure!