5 Ways to Kickstart the Disney Magic

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I am so excited to share with you that we are taking the girls on our very first trip to Disney World next week. Handyman Tim has been working an insane schedule that has been hard on every last member of the family. We’ve all had to sacrifice precious time together and it has definitely taken it’s toll. I decided that we all needed a little Family Togetherness Bootcamp type experience and where else is a better spot to do that than Disney??

Tim has never experienced the Disney Parks before. He has no idea what he’s in for. The Peanut knows we are going but can’t even imagine what she is about to see. Little Pea is just happy to be along for the ride. I’m the only one who knows and appreciates what this trip will be like so I’ve been doing my best to get everyone excited for this big unknown.

For the last two months, I’ve been looking for ways to give the girls little teaser items to be used on our trip. So today I’d like to share:

5 Ways to Kickstart the Disney Magic Before Vacation!

1. Matching outfits from Etsy: According to friends who have visited the parks far more recently than I have, it is a pretty big deal to let your little princess dress up to play the part at the parks. Neither of my girls are overly into the Princesses, we don’t own any of the costumes already. I couldn’t imagine spending the money on expensive costumes just to dress them up in hot and scratchy tulle and satin for an amusement park visit.

Luckily for me, both girls LOVE Minnie and Mickey Mouse. I was able to find these adorable halter tops and ruffled shorts outfits on Etsy.  They are all cotton and much more comfy and breathable than any costume would have been. I love the cheerful polka dots! I know my girls will love wearing them this summer even after our trips. Money much better spent!

2. Disney Pin Trading Lanyards: This is another new-to-me item that didn’t exist during my last visit to the parks ages ago. Disney has been offering these adorable metal pins for trading since 1999-ish. The kids (or parents too) can trade pins with anyone else they find willing at the parks. There are castmembers that walk around wearing lanyards of Official Castmember pins that are looking to trade with guests. This sounded like something the Peanut would love to experience but starter sets of 4 pins and a lanyard ran about $30. That seemed super high to me and the sets came with such cute pins that I knew the Peanut wouldn’t want to trade! Kind of missing the point, right?

I took to Ebay and was happy to discover several sellers offering huge lots of pins for a fraction of the price. We acquired a random assortment of 25 pins for about $15. I didn’t care if they were cute or not because they are meant to be traded away. To make it more fun for the girls, we put a single pin inside of each plastic Easter egg along with a few coins for our Disney Jar. They hunted for their pins on Easter morning and it was a huge hit.

The day before Easter, I realized they still didn’t have anything to pin the pins on since I hadn’t purchased lanyards. In a fit of inspiration, I decided to sew my own. I used this tutorial from Simply Cotton here and followed it almost exactly. The only difference was that I cut my fabric 3 inches wide and instead of folding each side in half way, I only folded them in 1/4 way so that the final width of the strap was a full inch. It’s the perfect size. I cut them to be about 24 inches long so they are just right for my girls’ necks.

3. Birthday Pins from the Disney Store: The Peanut’s birthday was on March 28. Little Pea’s will be just a few days after our trip on May 6. When a sales clerk heard I was there shopping for supplies to announce the trip to the Peanut on her birthday, she told me about their special birthday pins. If you’re going to be celebrating that occassion on your vacation, you can pick these up for your child. Write their name on the space and have them wear them to the park. I’m told they’ll receive special Birthday Girl treatment. I’ll have to report back as to just what that might mean!

4. Disney Gift Cards for Special Occassions: The Peanut just lost her very first tooth last week. The Tooth Fairy in her infinite wisdom decided to bring a gift card from the Disney Store in just the right amount for the Peanut to pick out the stuffed animal she’s had her heart set on ever since she heard of the trip. (It was her first tooth afterall. I’m sure the Fairy won’t be this generous next time.) The gift cards can be set for any amount and can be used at any Disney Store on or off the parks. I’ve even heard they can be used for snacks and beverages and anything sold at the parks so it would be a great stocking stuffer, birthday treat, Valentine gift, Easter basket filler, etc. etc.

5. The Birnbaum Disney World Guide for Kids: My neighbor just recently told me about these adorable guidebooks made specifically FOR kids. They release a new one every year and her daughter has one for each of the years their family made the trek. It is part guide, part activity book, part scrapbook. The Peanut was thrilled to receive her very own copy since Mommy has had a mile-high stack of guides sitting on the living room table for weeks. At age 5, I feel she is just a smidge too young to get the most out of the book, but I don’t regret the purchase at all. Ages 7+ might enjoy it far more.




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  1. Kristina Lancaster says

    Upon arrival at the park, you must tell them that it’s the first visit for the girls. They will get a pin that says “My First Visit” which also provides some special treatment! My kids each have their special pin on their favorite Disney stuffed animal as a very special keepsake of their first trip to that Magical place.

  2. Colet says

    This is great news! So glad you get to do it this year. You will have to write a post on where you got the pixie dust to make that Disney Jar multiply its insides superfast!

  3. Stacy says

    you and possibly your friend too are not in the know if you think scratchy princess costumes are whats “hot” to wear now. Custom’s are whats hot. There are thousands of custom princess outfits on etsy and other places.

  4. Mega Disney fan says

    When you go to the parks all you have to do is tell a cast member that it is your first time, birthday, or anniversary, and they will give you a free special event pin.

  5. Jamie says

    I was wondering about the birthday pins and first time visit. We are going and it is my youngest birthday and it is also their first visit to the park. Do I need to let someone know when I book it or will we do so at the park. Plus was is the pixie dust about?

  6. Jane says

    Never buy pins fro ebay!!!! 99% of the time bulk pin buys are all fake. Sure, you can trade them in the parks but it’s a really horrible feeling when you trade a real pin for one of hte fake “scrapper pins”. Please don’t be that person


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