Blog image-Orlando
Magical? Yes, very! Planning-Overwhelmed? EXTREMELY!!!
I’m going to start out by saying, this was my family’s 3rd trip to Orlando since my son has been born. The first, he was way too young to appreciate it. The second, we were all sick throughout the entire week stay. So I was bound and determined to make this one really count. Since my son is 9, I knew that I would have to research deeper to find “bigger” kid activities. Even though when ANYONE goes to Orlando (especially Disney World), you become a kid instantly. Part of the MAGIC.
First things first. Before you even start planning the actual trip, there are a few things to get the family into the Magical! My son and I created a “Countdown to Orlando” wall hanger. Basically, a square piece of construction paper with characters of all the places we intended to visit in Orlando: Disney World, Universal Studios and Lego Land (in Winter Haven, FL). Then, we cut out strips of construction paper to make rings-one for each day remaining. We hooked the rings on the bottom making a chain. Each day, my son pulled one off and it built the anticipation. Especially when he would count the rings left after he pulled off the day’s ring.

Another thing we did to get in the “Disney Mood” was watch some of our favorite Disney movies. (When we were actually at Disney World, we would ride a ride or watch a play and I’d really want to watch that movie.)
We didn’t do this one, but I really would have loved to. Create your own autograph book. It not only serves a purpose of letting your little kiddos get all the autographs of their favorite characters, but it also gets them (and you) pumped up for the trip. Get a small notebook (about a 3X5 notebook) and decorate the front. You can use stickers, embellishments, ribbons, etc… Make it your own. The dollar store has a lot of this for very cheap. Make sure you get a notebook with a lot of blank pages. You can also go a step further and designate pages for each character by putting the name or a sticker on it, then leave some in the back blank.
Order custom shirts for your whole family. I bought red t-shirts and put a Mickey Mouse silhouette on my husbands and sons. Mine had Minnie Mouse silhouette. On the back, I put our last name and a jersey number for each of us. My husband had 01-Me-02, my son-03. They were very cute. (See picture)Blog Picture-Orlando 2
This one didn’t actually get us into the mood per se, but was very necessary. I took an empty box (a tote, bag, laundry basket, etc… would do) and started filling it with the essentials for the trip. Little by little I would buy items that we could possibly need. Here is a brief list, you can add or take away at your discretion:
1. Ponchos-you can buy them at the park but I decided to purchase mine beforehand. Much cheaper and didn’t have to rush around to find a store in the park to buy one when it started to rain or we decided to ride a wet ride.
2. Kleenex
3. Anti-bacterial wipes-especially useful when we would finish a sticky treat
4. Anti-bacterial sanitizer hand gel with holder. The holder is very important so you can strap it on somewhere inside you backpack for easy access.
5. Glow sticks- During the parade and firework shows, there are a bunch of glow-in-the-dark items you can purchase but they are very expensive. You can get silly glow-in-the dark glasses and wands and the dollar store for a fraction of the cost.
6. Travel activities for the kids-whether you drive or fly, get a few things that will keep the kiddos preoccupied. At the Dollar store, they have travel size games-Yatzee, cards, etc… Coloring books, small cars for boys, and of course handheld video games.
7. Snacks-granola bars, fruit snacks, cheese crackers, etc…
8. Change-I know this sounds kind of weird but my son loves getting pressed pennies at the different locations we visit (btw-cheapest souvenir EVER!). Make sure you get a coin purse or baggie to put the coins in.
9. Small First-Aid kit-for all the scrapes and blisters that just comes with excitement, kids and walking miles a day in theme parks.
10. Small sewing kit-actually very handy, especially the safety pins.
11. If you have small children, take some stuffed animals or characters. Staying in the resorts on the Disney property, the housekeepers are said to arrange the stuffed characters in the room.
12. Also if you have smaller kids, instead of buying toys at the parks and pay double or triple the price, purchase a few small toys to give out during your stay. Maybe use it as a bonus at the end of the day as an incentive for good behavior. (Come on, we all do it-If you are good, you can have fill in the blank).
13. Sunscreen and lip balm. A definite must!
14. Any medicines that are prescribed and some that are not. A few examples-Pain reliever for the aches and pains, Pepto & ginger root pills for upset stomach and motion sickness. Anti-bacterial ointment for blisters and scrapes.
15. Camera case
16. Extra batteries for any electronics you take
17. Chargers for phones, tablets and video games
18. And of course, a backpack with multiple pockets but not so large that it breaks the back of the person who is carrying it.
Now the above is only a brief list that does not include the regular clothing, shoes and accessories.
Some more sites for packing lists and special activities to get in the mood:
This article was more of preparation to do before you go to Orlando, besides the actual sitting down with a budget and planning the travel, accommodations and tickets. Look for Part 2 of our Orlando Trip for tips on budgeting and planning the itinerary.