Planning our first Disney vacation~ Getting started

Since retiring from designing I have less to blog about now, so I thought I’d use this space to share my planning for my first ever trip to Disney World! I’ve never been there or Disneyland and have always dreamed of going. At the end of 2013 my poor husband finally broke down and said we could actually go and my planning began. ūüôā My two daughters and I have been having a great time reading travel books, making crafts, and planning on all the fun rides we want to do and characters we would like to meet. ¬†And even Dan has been getting excited. ¬†He really wants to do the rides, so while the girls relax between characters with my mom, we’re hoping to do some of the bigger rides. ¬†I’ve really been enjoying the whole planning process so much, and while I’m super excited about the trip, in a way I’ll miss planning it all out too. Of course I’m also looking forward to scrapbooking it all when we get home again.

We decided to go in the fall so we could take advantage of the free dining plan as well as the smaller crowds since school will be in session (I’m taking fi out for a week). We will be staying 7 nights in the Art of Animation building as my girls are huge fans of the movie Cars and also because it offers family suits which will be great since my mom will be with us too, there will be just a little more room than a regular hotel room, plus more of a mini kitchen area. We can heat food up in our room and just have a few more options as far as food goes.

One of the first things we did was to research all the characters the girls will be able to meet in the park. They are really looking forward to meeting characters more than rides, so we decided to focus our trip on characters. I found on pinterest a post about how you could write to your favorite character and get a nice autographed photo back.

you can write to:
Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

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The girls and I got so excited and they immediately picked their favorite princesses to write to, Fi wrote to Rapunzel and Lexi to Ariel (this was before she fell in love with Elsa!). Just to be on the safe side I double checked that this awesome autographed photo was not a thing of the past. Turns out, it was. Nowadays you just get a standard postcard featuring cartoon representations of some Disney favorites not a pretty photo of the actual character in the park. I was super disappointed, but then realized that I could just send the girls photos myself. I searched online for photos taken of their favorite princesses at Disney and printed them as nice 8×10 photos, then I searched for photos of what their signatures look like in autograph books. Using a sharpie, I tried to copy their specific signature.

Then I went a little crazy. ¬†I thought maybe the princesses might also send them stickers (because stickers are fun, and then we could also use them to make our autograph books), I also made up¬†a list of characters they might meet in the park and a list of movies to watch so they would know who the characters were and also help them to understand many of the rides and attractions at Disney and all of this went into a large envelope. ¬†The autograph list was a super help as the girls began working on their autograph books. ¬†One of the best websites as I began my search of which characters the girls will be able to meet was kennythepirate.com. ¬†He has a great list of characters and even some wonderful tips to meet random characters, sush as at Character Palooza, which takes place in the afternoons at Hollywood Studios. ¬†We made sure to keep some blank pages at the back for any surprise characters we might meet! ¬†We are also lucky, because we will be at Disney when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party will be taking place and there will be some special characters that night. ¬†The girls were especially excited for the chance to meet Flynn Rider, who was there last year. ¬†We have our fingers crossed that he will be returning again this year.

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I chose a selection of movies that I knew would be interesting to the girls, others that you may want to include are Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones, and any of the movies shown in the Great Movie Ride (we did actually watch Wizard of Oz-which they’d seen before, and Singing in the Rain for the Movie ride). ¬†I’m nervous about how well they will do for some of the scarier portions of the ride, but we will bring some noise canceling headphones for the loud parts. ¬†I know they’d love the Wizard of Oz part and the Mary Poppins part. ¬†Alien, not so much.

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I packaged everything up in a large envelope and secretly ran it out to the mailbox one day.  Later I asked Fiona if she could go grab the mail and she was thrilled to see this huge envelope addressed to her and Lexi.  They tore it open and were so happy to see the photos and all the amazing stickers.
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The girls both hung their princess photos up by their beds. ¬†A few months later the official post card from Disney came. ¬†While they were happy to get mail, there wasn’t as much excitement over this pink post card. ¬†Lexi hung hers up, but Fi’s just remained with the pile of mail.

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I’ll be back with photos of their autograph books as well as several other fun crafty things we’ve been up to to get us even more excited than necessary for this trip!

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