Prepping for Disney

5:00 AM

I have never been to Disneyland or Disney World.

Correction: I had never been to Disneyland. (I still haven't been to Disney World.)


Like the crazy people we are, we decided somewhat last minute we were going to venture to Disneyland for Michael's fourth birthday. It wasn't THAT last minute, but it was last minute enough where I knew if I didn't do as much research and planning in the time that we had, that it wouldn't be "successful".

And, yes, I think a trip to Disneyland is considered a FAIL or SUCCESS. (Those posts are going to come soon.)

SO, what did I do to prep? Well, preparing// planning is probably one of my favorite things ever. Here are some of my suggestions:

1. RESEARCH

My favorite site EVER that has the ins and outs of Disneyland is DLR Prep School. It's where I found all things important, like where to get Fastpasses, the best rides for toddlers/preschoolers, and more. I seriously spent hours upon hours (on different occasions, of course) reading all this woman had to share about going to Disneyland with young kids. It was perfect.

2. MAKE A BIG DEAL

We didn't tell Michael where we were going until the morning of the day we were hitting the road. We bought him "clues", which were vague enough for a (just about) four-year-old that he didn't connect the dots. I mean, what do R2D2 and Big Hero 6 have in common? Well, they're both (now) Disney... but he wasn't about to guess that! ANYWAY. When we finally told him, Mickey Mouse called him (you can hire the same voice actor here for $5-- I highly recommend him!) and then we had a backpack full of road trip necessities, new and old, for him. You can hit up the dollar store or dollar section at Target for these types of things.

I did this for EVERY DAY. So he woke up every morning on our trip and immediately went to his backpack to see what new goodies he found inside. It ranged from activity packets, to bubbles, to glow sticks, to stickers. You name things that could keep him busy while we waited in lines or for fireworks, and it was in there.

I also made him homemade "gift cards" for each day. It included: $5 of Disney songs for the car trip, 1 Pair of Mickey Ears, 1 Toy, and 1 Birthday Cupcake (for when we were on our way home because we had to drive on his birthday). Michael loved this and it ultimately kept him from whining. I don't know if this would work for every kid, but because Michael knew his limits this kept it all in check for him!

3. DON'T WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE TO PLAN

Michael and I set up snack bags probably three to four days before we were actually leaving, but I wanted to be ready. I labeled larger bags with the day and then let him pick what snacks he wanted to go in bags. He had no idea what it was for, but loved mixing his snacks up into little baggies and watching me make these.

If you have older children, you can still do this, but doing it while they're in bed (or at school) so as to not give the surprise away is probably best!

4. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE POSSIBLE "FAIL"

Michael was super excited, but when he found out he was just kind of like, "Wait, what?" We kept the energy high, talking about what he wanted to do there and who he wanted to see, but he was just so overwhelmed with it all that we didn't get one of those I'm-crying-because-I'm-happy reactions-- and that's OK! But I don't just mean prep for a "mediocre" response, I mean prepare for the possibility that all your PLANNING will go down the drain the minute you get there. If you're like me, losing control and things not spanning out exactly as you had it down on paper can be more than frustrating, but ultimately Disneyland is all about the MAGIC, so you don't want the fact that all your planning still left you wanting or floundering to ruin that.

More posts to come about our trip! Stay tuned!

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