Planning your Disney Vacation can be a lot of fun while it lasts, though, for most of us, there is a lot of waiting involved that isn’t quite as exciting. Today I have a few ideas for your family to help enjoy your countdown with some fun activities that can also save you money when you do eventually arrive.
Make Your Own Ears
Those that know me are already aware that I am a lover of Disney Ear Headbands, like, to the point where it’s almost a problem. Even so, with the recent price increases on accessory lines, including Minnie and Mickey Ears, buying them for the whole family can be an expensive task. Why not spend some of that pre-vacation downtime learning how to make them yourself? That way, each person can create and customize their own pair to suit their personal style.
I have seen so many creative and beautiful homemade ear headbands, many of which I would have happily purchased at the same price I do from Disney. Templates and starter headbands are available on eBay and Etsy if you want to shortcut the hard part and skip straight to decorating. From there, all you need is a hot glue gun and some imagination. Make this one a family activity on a rainy weekend when everyone can join in the fun. Need some ideas? Check YouTube for some great tutorials, or draw inspiration straight from your favorite Disney characters themselves.
Collect Disney Attire Before the Parks
This might seem a little counter-intuitive, but believe me, your credit card will thank you. If you are looking to save money on your vacation, don’t wait until you are on-site to start picking out those unique character apparel pieces and accessories. Lots of stores carry fantastic Disney merchandise, from Target to Ross Dress for Less, and they are a great way to put together your holiday wardrobe without spending thousands while on Disney property.
Sure, they may not be exclusive to the parks, but your photos will look just as cute, and you will have a lot more time to hunt down those perfect styles and sizes instead of sacrificing ride time on your holiday.
Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash
Start a Family Walking Session
One thing I constantly hear from first-time families who are visiting the parks is that they never realize how far you need to walk. It will be a stretch from their daily step count but totally doable for most people. For others, including families with little ones or seniors, it can be a big ask to jump straight into those 25,000 step days overnight.
Why not start a family walking session after dinner or in the morning before work/school? By doing this, you will start to challenge those legs to keep moving, even in the times when we usually feel like we deserve rest (morning and night). Your family can talk about your upcoming trip and plan while you are on the move and becoming accustomed to the increased exercise.
Have a Camp Out in the Loungeroom
I know what you’re thinking, huh? But really, I find this is one of the most essential tips for first-time travelers in general. If you aren’t familiar with traveling together, it wouldn’t be uncommon to have never tried to get your entire family to sleep in one room together. Despite how it looks in your mind, it’s never as simple as everyone hugging goodnight and drifting off to sleep. Someone is afraid, another person can’t sleep, someone else sleepwalks, and no one can turn off the snoring coming from the corner. Avoid a disaster and do a few dry runs.
I always suggest making these fun for kids by calling it a campout in the lounge room. Watch movies and enjoy snacks before everyone needs to settle down for the night. You will quickly see what challenges you might face when all together and start problem-solving ways around it. I find that Sleep Stories in my Calm app are a huge win for our family. They help my difficult sleeper drift off, while my asleep-in-an-instant child isn’t bothered by them at all. If the silence in the room is a bit overwhelming, give that app a try.
Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash
Make Your Own Matching Apparel
If you found most of your outfit bits and pieces at the local stores, all that you need now is those customized shirts or matching sleepwear to make things feel special. Make this a family activity as well, and make your own! Start with play t-shirts, tank tops, or even PJ sets, making sure you have the exact sizing, material, and colors you want. Now it’s time to make your family design using your computer. You might like to use a fun phrase if you are celebrating an occasion or nicknames for each other, whatever strikes your fancy.
Use your computer to make your design and then print at home using blank iron-on transfer paper. Cut out your design and iron it on for custom apparel that everyone will enjoy making and wearing. The added bonus of this one is that every time you see the photos from your vacation, you will remember your time in the parks as well as the memory of your family activity before you left. If you need some inspiration, there are thousands of fantastic ideas all over the internet, and with a bit of research, you are sure to find something you love.
I hope you enjoy some of those ideas to keep your family busy while you wait for your dream vacation. If you’ve ever made any of your own accessories or outfits, I would love to see them, should you feel like sharing. What family activities do you enjoy while counting down the days till your next trip to the magic?
Feature Image: Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.