Cast of Characters:
Me: 39 (mom)
Other Kid: 8
Full-court press begins after the new year.
For rest of my family that is.
Disneyland is on MY mind approximately 24/6 (even God took a day off). For them it’s when the glimmer of the Christmas gifts begin to dull, the Elf on the Shelf has returned safely to the North Pole in a small, unmarked brown box, and the excitement of the ball drop has passed. (For the last time you may not have champagne. Daddy and I can have as much as we want. Hiccup!)
We live in Michigan, so we only get to visit the Disneyland Resort annually unless we find a big bucket of money. Our visit begins ten days before Easter. We spend five days in Disneyland and five days in Laguna Beach. My job as a parent is to not only feed, clothe, educate, instill morals and values into my children, but to make them as nutso about Disneyland as possible for the rest of their lives so I’m not alone (way to bring the room down, Beth).
The first order of business is not to bombard my kinfolk with Disneyland stuff throughout the entire year. Heaven-for-bid I should be responsible for making Disneyland passé. Come January 2, I’m ready to commence bombardment.
First comes the paper chain. I hope this is self explanatory, but to those of you not surrounded by acres of construction paper scraps, let me explain. If you leave for your trip in sixty-five days, cut sixty-five, six inch strips of construction paper. You may be thinking, duh, then loop them together to make the chain. But wait, there’s more! On each strip of paper, write something that you are excited about experiencing at the Disneyland Resort. Each family member can participate in this activity (and you’d better, or you get the LOOK). Here’s some of examples of what we write:
Kid: Tower of Terror
Other Kid: Corndogs
Daddy: flat screen tv in the hotel room
Me: The feeling of being totally immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells, smack dab in the middle of a dream come true by one of the most talented, creative and influential men to ever grace our planet, Walter Elias Disney.
(Ok, fine, that didn’t fit on one strip so I just wrote “ambiance”).
Hang the paper chain in the kitchen (that’s where we spend the majority of our family time together), and each day take turns tearing off a link and reading the message inside. It’s a great way for the kids to practice reading and counting. Yeah, that’s right, it’s educational not just mama’s personal Disneyland propaganda tactic.
Next, install a collection of free apps on your mobile device and visit Disneyland inspired websites. Here are a few of my favorites.
The Countdown App:
I like it because you can use photos from your own library. In this case I used a few of my favorites photos from our 2014 trip. Be prepared to find your phone in your child’s sticky hand yelling “79 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes and 11 seconds until Disneyland!!!!!!” (or whatever the case may be)
These are 3/4 of the Cast of Characters by the way. Other Kid is the one holding her nose on the horse drawn carriage. Apparently, Ducky had a big lunch……..
……but it didn’t stop her from enjoying a salad later that night at Steakhouse 55.
Disneyland Explorer App:
This one made me cry. You can swipe your way around the park with real pictures magically enhanced by the creators (The Walt Disney Company). There are a few games and surprises along the way, and it was easy for Kid and Other Kid to navigate. Yeah, that’s right, the app is for the kids. Winky face. I’ll let you explore it for yourself, it’s super cool.
Live Disneyland webcam brought to you by the nice folks at the Howard Johnson hotel:
This is a live broadcast of what’s happening right there, right now at the Disneyland Resort. There are other webcams out there, and I’d love your suggestions! This particular webcam scratches my Disney itch in a wish-you-were-here kind of way.
Is This Bad?:
Probably the most controversial and annoying way I get my family pumped up for our Disneyland trip is to call the Guest Information Line (714-781-INFO) on speaker phone with random questions just to hear them say, “Have a Magical Day”. These are not prank calls, mind you, even a super fan like me has a few questions about the resort. But, not many because I’m awesome.
What Makes Me Even Awesomer:
Finally, a new tradition I’ve started. I purchased the fam matching themed teeshirts to wear in the parks! This year we’re all totally into Disney XD’s “Gravity Falls”. I took the liberty of distributing these as Christmas gifts (Sorry Santa, you don’t get credit for this one). Kid’s favorite character is Mabel, so her teeshirt has a picture of Mabel on it plugging in her sweater with a huge brace-face smile. Other Kid loves Waddles, Daddy digs Soos, and I treated myself to a Dipper shirt. I easily designed these teeshirts on http://www.redbubble.com.
“My name is Mabel, it rhymes with table….”
I hope you and your family, whether they are Disneyland fans or not, share the same enthusiasm for trip planning as much as I do. Or as much as I force them too.
“Have a Magical Day (as stated by the very tolerant CM on speaker phone)!”