Sunday, June 17, 2012

Preparations for the Happiest Place on Earth

Andy and I are so excited!
In about 32 hours we are going to surprise our children big time!
We have planned a trip to Disney Land and they have no idea :)
This will be their first time (mine too...don't worry Mom and Dad...I'm not bitter :)
They've asked for a few years now if and when we could go.  It was especially hard two summers ago when most of their cousins went together, but something in our schedule did not allow us to go with them.
We figured this was our year...we just had to sneak it in before Josh had his next surgery.

So, in preparation, I've been on Pinterest and a bunch of blogs that talk about tips to make the trip easier, less expensive, and more enjoyable...not that you could not enjoy yourself at Disney Land.
I am worried about me though.  I stress...especially about big events like this.  I want everything to go just right so I worry and get upset about little things and my poor family has to deal with it.
I am determined to relax and just enjoy this.
So, I've made some things to hopefully cut out some stress and also add to our experience.

There were a few great suggestions that I came away with from the many blogs that I read about this topic.

One of the biggest was to make your own autograph books for your kids instead of buying them in the park.
Honestly, I didn't even know that you collect autographs at Disney Land...anyway, there were some cute ideas out there.  I had some criteria for mine...
1) I wanted it to be something that I could easily take away and add too (meaning pages)
2) I wanted it to be sturdy
3) I wanted it to be more than just autographs...more like a memory/scrapbook
3)  I wanted it to be personalized and fun

I put a lot of thought into it and went through a lot of different ideas in my mind.
When I decided what I wanted to do I went to work and spent a good few hours on them.
I made the covers thick with layers so they would be stiff.  Well, that was a mistake because when I went to get them laminated the edges didn't seal well and it was all messed up because it was too thick.
Ughhhh.  All that work.  I was so disappointed.  I hoped I could salvage them.
I ended up taping every edge to seal them.  I hadn't wanted to do that just because I thought it would look too tacky, but in my situation I was desperate for a solution.
From a distance they actually don't look too bad...just don't inspect them closely :)

I filled them with blank pages for the characters to sign.  When we come home I will remove the pages, dress them up, add pictures and have each one laminated and put back into the book.  Don't worry, these pages will be thin and should laminate just fine.


It sounds like a lot of work for when we get home but I'm excited to do these for the kids.  Hopefully they will enjoy them for years to come.

I found these cute little sharpies that had a ring so you can clip them onto things.  How perfect, well I hope.  I hope they're not too little for some of the characters to hold in their big paws...I hope the kids don't get permanent marker all over themselves...I hope they don't lose the marker because it's only the lid that is attached to the clip.  You see, I stress.  I want all the little things to go perfect.

So originally, the books were going to be the only thing that I made or prepared for the trip.
However, a few of the blogs mentioned that it's a good idea to try and buy t-shirts before you arrive since they're so expensive in the park.
My mother in law had found one for Abby and one for Ben, but we had had no success for the other two boys.  So I thought, 'I can come up with something'.
I thought of Abby's Easter Egg shirt that I made back here and came up with a plan.
First I was just going to put a black, felt mickey head on each shirt but then I found some cute fabric and decided to put it behind the mickey heads.
You know, I realized, this is probably the first project that I have come up with absolutely on my own.  (I'm sure there are plenty of things out there already like this, but I haven't seen them :)  I didn't copy someone else on this one!  Yeah, happy day!
Anyway, I'm pleased with them.  My one worry is that the shirts are way to big and will drown the kids.  Well, too bad!  They are going to wear them anyway!
(Things fell into place with this project.  I found the shirts, when I wasn't even looking for them, at JoAnn's for 4 for $10.  They had the perfect colors and what I thought were the perfect sizes :)  We'll have to see.  I've thought about trying them on them in their sleep to see if they fit.  Ha!
Everything else just went smoothly too.  Usually there's some kind of problem with something but I guess these were just meant to be :)...I'm sorry I keep using the :).  It just seems to fit well in a lot of places.  I know I over use that and these  ....   These symbols just express nicely how my brain thinks.
Back to the shirts...

I don't even know how well they'll hold up in the wash, but at least they'll get one good wearing out of them.

Next was from a suggestion from a lady that said she used refillable, collapsible water bottles that clipped onto her stroller.  She said they were extremely handy.  She got them at Target...well, there goes that idea.  Sadly, this little valley has not yet seen the light and is Targetless.
So, I was trying to come up with a water solution.  I wanted to keep my family well hydrated throughout the days and do it efficiently.  I looked at a lot of water bottles at different stores and just didn't find what I wanted.  I had almost decided to settle for some at Shopko that were okay, but would have been bulky, when I looked up. There, above my head, was a display of reusable, collapsible water bottles!  I couldn't believe my luck!  And they were on sale!  Even better :)
I about died with joy as I loaded my arms with them.  They had the little hook thing and everything!

 Aren't they fun?
Now, I couldn't just leave them alone.  I had to personalize and spruce them up a bit.

I had grabbed these super cute bottle cap stickers when I purchased paper and stickers for the memory books.  Now I knew what to do with them.  I bought some of those circle, metal and paper tags, added a name to one side, a sticker to the other and mod podged the exposed paper to water proof it.

These then were clipped on to the bottles.

Fun huh?

Oh yah...I also added some bling to the tops...I hope the boys don't mind.

Okay, last thing.  It's a really geeky one (Andy kind of laughed at this one, which I couldn't blame him)...and super simple, but I'm anxious to see if it comes in handy.
One blogger mentioned that they adults should have a lanyard to carry their tickets and passes and things so they would be at your fingertips.
Again, when I wasn't even looking for them, these ID pouches popped out at me at Wal Mart for a whopping 50 cents each.
I grabbed six of them...just for fun.
I only got one out of the package because I don't think anyone else in the family will wear one...but I am definitely packing the rest just in case.
I had to make it Disney worthy so I added a couple of stickers and there you go.

I know, nerdy.

Andy also kind of rolled his eyes about the fact that I have color and character coded each child.  For instance, all of Josh's things are yellow (favorite color) and Goofy, Abby; pink/Minnie and so on.
I was happy with the fact that I could make it all work together.

Well, I know that those of you who have been to this magical place are probably laughing and rolling your eyes at my preparations.  Maybe they won't be useful or make things go any smoother but they were definitely fun to create.

I'll let you know how our trip goes.  They think we're just going to Grandma and Grandpa's for a few days.  I can't wait to see their reactions.  I'll record it so it better be good :)


  1. You have had way too much fun, Aimee. After all this fun, Disneyland may be a disappointment to you! : )
    So many clever ideas--and everything just so! Sorry, I must have passed that gene on to you, just don't let it drive you crazy (but I'm sure I have never been this prepared for anything).
    We are so excited for you!

  2. Aimee, such cute things! You are definitely not too "overly themed"... After all, the entire place is themed! You guys will have so much fun. Enjoy you trip! After the first day you'll hva e your route and schedule down perfectly. I can't wait to hear all about it! What a fun surprise! :-)