Our family just returned from our first trip to Disney World and we had a wonderful time! We learned a ton and I researched for hours before we left. Over the next few posts, I want to share what I learned for any other newbie families out there. The Disney experts in my life are Kathy and Debra, so check in with them if you're looking for info that I don't have here.

I'm a planner, so for me, the best part of any major event is the anticipation. Our family's first trip to Disney World is a major event, so we started planning and saving about a year ago. The boys went through stages of anticipation: excitement when we first started talking about it, boredom when it didn't come as soon as they hoped, and even maybe a level of disillusionment. I wanted to make sure they knew the right time to get excited, but I also didn't want to deal with "Is Disney tomorrow?" questions 12 times a day for a month.

So I got this treasure chest on eBay and put it outside the boys' bedroom about 10 days before we left. (We're going through a pirate stage, and reserved a pirate-themed room for the trip, so it fit the theme.) Every morning when they woke up, there was new treasure in their chest. I shopped, eBay, and the dollar store for their treasure items. The treasure included:
  • pirate swords
  • a pirate ship craft kit
  • pirate masks
  • Disney trivia game
  • Mickey Mouse personalized duffel bags (these were on clearance, I was so excited when I found them!)
  • Mickey Mouse PJs and t-shirts
  • Mickey Mouse rain ponchos
  • lanyards & pins (more about that later)
  • autograph books and pens
  • portable water misters
  • first aid kits (I made these more exciting by including pirate stickers for decorating)
Some of there were big hits, others were duds. Eh, not everything's going to be a winner. The treasure helped build appropriate excitement, but didn't answer the "when are we leaving" question. So I made this very unprofessional calendar.

We had the gold coins left over from the school carnival this year. I added two gold coins each morning and told the boys they could cash in each coin for $1 free spending money at Disney. Azlan really got into collecting his "gold doubloons" and Patriot enjoyed spending them.

This was a great way to manage the boys' anticipation and make getting the supplies we needed a little more fun!
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