I promised you that I had another surprise for the kids for the morning that we left for Disneyland and here it is!
I set these baskets up for them the night before so they could come down the stairs and discover them. Honestly, it felt a bit like Christmas morning.
So why give the kids presents when going to Disneyland is a huge present in and of itself?
Good question. Here is why I did it:
- To build enthusiasm. This trip was a big deal for our family and not likely to be oft repeated (unfortunately). I wanted to make a big fuss so they realized that.
- With all of that built up excitement, traveling in the car for 6+ hours wasn’t going to be an easy thing. I usually like to give them a couple of new activity books or games before a long road trip. The novelty helps keep their attention for longer.
- Some of the items are practical–water bottles with their names on them minimize squabbles. I also gave each child an autograph book/smash book as a place to record their memories.
- Hopefully buying a lot of cheap Disney-themed merchandise before hand, would minimize the need to buy a lot of expensive Disney-themed merchandise at the park (notice I didn’t say eliminate).
I put these together on the cheap. Most of the the components–including the baskets and water bottles–came from Dollar Tree. The notebooks and some of the other filler items, I found at Michaels. I designed a basic mouse ear shape on my Silhouette and cut large mouse ears for the baskets and small ears for the notebooks. I downloaded the font Waltograph and cut my words out of gold vinyl (white would also be cute).
While anything that they might see at Disneyland was fair game for the baskets, I tried to theme them a bit to the favorites of each child. For example I knew my older son was going to really want to participate in the jedi training and love the Star Tours ride. So Most of his basket was Star Wars merchandise.
Here is a closer look at some of the basket contents. The hardest this was trying to make the baskets evenly filled, while buying different things for each one. I found tons of different PEZ dispensers at Michaels, so there was a perfect one for each child. I was so proud of the hot dog gum find (“Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog!”), but it is actually a strong cinnamon gum, so the kids didn’t like it.
If you are traveling by air, you could do something similar, but on a smaller scale in a large ziplock bag.