BY Air, Travel

Going to Disneyland Surprise Treasure Hunt

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Our trip to Disneyland in February was the first time for all of us so I wanted to find an extra special way to tell the kids we were going.   To do this, I came up with a small treasure hunt throughout the house including a few fun new surprises along the way.

At 4 and 2 years old, I understand it is hard kids to grasp the concept of time so I waited until the week before our trip to let the kids know exactly when and where we were going.  I figured only 7 days of “When are we going?” was best on both them and us.  I had considered waiting until last minute, but the week gave me time to get things packed and ready without having to hide suitcases or answer questions from my 4 year old.

Our 10 day trip was basically divided into 3 parts – Disneyland, Legoland and then a few days with my husband’s parents in Palm Desert.  My son loves treasure maps, so I decided to design a simple map for him with each of the destinations as small picture pieces to glue on.  I wanted it to be fun and interactive while giving a visual image of the trip that he could look at and easily follow.

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To prepare for the treasure hunt, I had my husband take the kids out of the house to a movie (Big Hero 6) Saturday morning.  I set up 4 different treasure spots throughout the house – one with the initial instructions and one for each of the three locations we would be visiting on our trip.

When the kids got home, they were surprised with the new Little People airplane and their figures ready to go on a plane ride.  Well,at least one of the kids was –  the movie tired my 2 year old out so she ended up napping on the couch while her brother got to enjoy all the treasure hunt fun!

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A small sign with the plane explained:

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Their first clue read:

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After first checking out Nova’s favorite sleeping spot on the main floor, Camden then headed upstairs to Keira’s bedroom where he knows she often naps.  Here he quickly found their maps, along with our Grandma and Grandpa Little People figures and a small globe.

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He was excited to get their maps and glue their pieces on before reading the next clue.

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I had Legoland spelled out in Lego blocks overtop Camden’s bed.  We had already spilled the beans to Camden about the Legoland trip so I knew finding this clue might not be all that exciting for him.  I found the “Everything is Awesome” shirt at Target and decided to include it in a small box for him to build the hype.

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After getting the LEGOLAND piece glued on, we read out the last clue:

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We headed downstairs and in our (yet to be finished) basement playhouse Camden found this:

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He seemed very excited about the new Fisher Price Little People Day at Disney set and the Mickey cupcakes, but it took some prompting before he clued in that we were going to Disneyland.  In his mind Disneyland was all Mickey Mouse and Princesses so his reaction wasn’t exactly as I had hoped.  Luckily we had the Disneyland planning DVD to watch so he could see some of the other fun “boy” stuff Disneyland has to offer.

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I took video of him discovering the surprise, but I mistakenly deleted off our camera during our trip so I don’t have many pictures to share.  I was upset about deleting the video at the time I did it, but since his reaction wasn’t that great I am not completely heartbroken over it.

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After Camden checked out the new toys, we all sat down to enjoy the mickey cupcakes and watch the Disneyland planning DVD.  Even though I have had it for several months, I resisted watching it until then so we could all get excited together.  Keira eventually woke up and Camden was very excited to show her the new toys and explain the map to her.

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I won’t lie that, after all my planning, I was a bit disappointed over my daughter sleeping through the fun and my son’s less then excited reaction to the Disneyland news.   It was something I had kind of expected and knew to prepare for with kids so young, but I was a bit bummed nonetheless.

And to drive the point home that you REALLY can’t plan for everything with kids, we ended up with a trip to emergency room that same evening.  Our excitement filled day was capped off by my poor little guy falling off a bar stool and breaking his arm.  He ended up going in for surgery the next morning, just 6 days before the trip, and we were left questioning whether we could even go on the trip.  Lucky for us, the surgeon cleared him to go and the broken arm really didn’t limit Camden from being able to enjoy almost all the rides and activities at the parks.

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Even though everything did not work out as planned, I still had a lot of fun planning our treasure hunt surprise and I know if I do something similar next time there will be a lot more excitement as the kids have now been and know the magic of Disney.  I just hope next trip announcement doesn’t involve any broken bones!

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Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun, Uncategorized

DRESSing for Disney

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To princess dress or not to princess dress?  That was the question I faced before heading to Disneyland.  We have no shortage of princess dresses to select from, but they are all very delicate and not made of the most comfortable material for a full day of wear.  They are also all pretty long and I worried about my daughter tripping or getting caught up on it when getting on rides.

BUT I was also afraid after seeing all the other little girls in the park wearing their Princess dresses that she would be upset.  In the past month, she definitely hit the terrible two stage full-on and has become very headstrong if there is something she sees and wants.  Before the trip, I downloaded the Disneyland app to my phone and she repeatedly went to the Fantasy Faire section to pull-up the pictures of the princesses to point to the dresses and proclaim “I want dat!”.  I know they do sell much better quality dress-up costumes in the parks, but there are still a lot of itchy materials and the length issue to consider.

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I ended up getting this lovely Cinderella Deluxe Dress from our local Disney Store and hoped it would be a good enough compromise for my dress obsessed little girl.    The bodice is a nice cotton so she was comfortable throughout the day and the skirt portion was short enough that she was not tripping as she ran through the parks and stepped onto the rides.  The extra layers at the skirt did make it a bit heavy, but I don’t think my little ‘Rella even noticed.

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She was with me when I bought it, but I tucked it away and surprised her with it for our second day in the Disneyland Park when I knew we would be visiting Fantasy Faire.  She was so excited and proud to get the dress and she ran/pranced/skipped the entire way from the hotel room to the park that morning.

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The dress worked perfectly and the adorable photos of my princess were well worth the cost of the dress.  Her faced absolutely beamed every time she was called a princess that day or was told how pretty her dress was!  It is better made then most of the dresses in our dress-up our collection so it should stand up to the daily use I know it will get now that we are back from the trip.

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For the other days in Disneyland, she was happy to wear her Minnie dress, and her favorite Frozen outfit.  The more frills and tulle for my girl, the better!  I did have a frilly new Minnie outfit for our last day in the parks, but she insisted on wearing the Cinderella dress for a second day.  I think she would have worn it the entire trip given the choice.

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How do you deal with princess dresses in the Parks?  I figure my little girl will only be little for a short time so I want to embrace this phase as much as I can.  Seeing her excitement in the park just made me excited for the next time we go when she will be able to get the full princess experience with a Bibbidy Boppidy Boutique makeover!

Disney Under 3 also shares a great idea to use Princess Dress-Up Aprons on your visit to the parks.  I came across this too late to have time to order any this trip, but I will definitely keep this in mind for our next Disney adventure.

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