By Character Diva
Planning a first birthday child for any child, particularly your first child, almost always requires a lot of time and effort. How much to budget, what type of theme, whom to invite, where to have it, what kind of food to buy, what gifts to buy, and so on and so on. The “to do” list is exhausting. But me, being the overachieving planner that I am, began planning my daughter’s first birthday back in October… seven months before her May birthday date. Disney Diva Tip: Is planning 7 months in advance a little excessive (not to mention obsessive)? Probably. But I recommend planning a party (at least tentatively in your head) at least two months in advance, and I would start budgeting for it much sooner. Not only does this give you time to save, but it gives you time to keep an eye open for things on sale. Now while I realize this may not work for an older child (one minute they love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the next day they like princesses), but for a one year old, let’s all admit it, the party is really more for the parents (and by that I mean usually the mom, my husband really had no preference).
With so many themes to choose from, I decided to pick a theme, and started Googling first birthday party ideas. I came across one theme for a little boy who had a winter birthday, and whose mom had come up with the idea of a “Winter One-derland” theme. Now me being an adamant Disney lover, and Alice in Wonderland being my favorite Disney movie growing up, right away modified the theme in my head to an “Alice in One-derland” theme.
Once the theme was in my head, I immediately began thinking of various props/decorations (giant pocket watch, flamingos, miniature Mad Hatter hats), and other things that would fit the theme. Disney’s Family website already had some great party ideas, such as the Pencil birds and Mome Raths I found here.
We also based my daughter’s Cheshire Cat cupcakes from the Disney Family Party Website. Mine didn’t turn out nearly as cute as the originals, but for my daughter’s first party comprised of immediate family and close friends, it worked. You can see a few of my samples below when I was trying to figure out what they should look like.
At the time, the Disney Store was selling stuffed animals of the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. We bought the Cheshire Cat, and then a little later bought the White Rabbit, who was on clearance for around $6-7! Who am I to argue with that? And they made great centerpieces for our picnic tables.
Since my daughter’s party wasn’t going to be on her actual birthday, I themed the party invitations and thank you’s with an “unbirthday” theme. Of course, this meant that there also had to be elements of the Mad Hatter’s Unbirthday Tea Party, so I found a hat from Party City, some ribbon from Hobby Lobby, and an index card and came up with this to represent the Mad Hatter. I also bought a large ceramic teacup and a large ceramic watering can that looked (sort of) like a teapot, and used those for more table décor. I did want to buy some Chinese lanterns to hang above the picnic table, but didn’t really have any way of hanging them at the location we were using, so I decided that I better not get too carried away… if that hadn’t already happened.
And of course, if you’re having an unbirthday party and an Alice in Wonderland theme, obviously I needed a little Alice. I was hoping that the Disney Store would have an Alice in Wonderland Halloween costume that I could buy on clearance, but apparently, Alice didn’t make the cut that year, and I was out of luck. So after Googling a few more options, I finally went with this costume that I found here.
And because I am worse than the paparazzi when it comes to photographing my children, I of course needed to do an Alice photo shoot for my daughter. So naturally I had my daughter put on her costume and began clicking away. Disney Diva Tip: While I tried posing her with various props and decorations for her party (the stuffed animals, the teacup and teapot), etc both indoors and outdoors, the outdoor pictures turned out best. I also wanted to take our daughter to our local botanical gardens, since I knew they had some giant mushroom statues for kids to play on, and of course flowers, but we didn’t quite make it. But if you have something similar (or are really fortunate and live near Disneyland or Disney World and can have real Disney themed pictures done), by all means do so!!
Now it was time to start designing the invitations!! I came up with the idea of having them in a playing card, and my talented husband was able to design this one on the computer using Excel and we printed them on card stock (the arms and feet were added inside and we printed those on red card stock to save ink). The playing card opened up to have not the party details, but we also took a picture of my daughter on a real playing card. Disney Diva Tip: To accomplish this part, I uploaded some of the pictures we had taken onto Artscow (a site similar to Snapfish or any of those sites). One of their photo gift options was a deck of playing cards, so we just picked which picture we wanted to use and ordered them.
We also used Artscow for my daughter’s thank you cards. Again, we used a picture from her photo shoot, and I chose a font that I figured was a little wacky and “Wonderland-ish”, and Artscow had a kit that included these teacups stacked together, which again, seemed perfect for an Alice party.
As far as the party favors went, I found some Alice in Wonderland coloring books, and took clip art of different characters and attached it to a tag with each child’s name. While not all of the goodies in the gift bag fit the theme (Goldfish crackers, bubbles, and juice boxes seemed to work for toddlers), we also added cookies that said “Eat Me”, because really, what Alice party would be complete without that?
Now let me close by saying that in planning my daughter’s party, I quickly discovered that my “Alice in One-derland party” was not quite as original of an idea as I thought. Which was okay. Great minds think alike right? And it allowed me to draw inspiration from many other wonderful themed Alice parties. My particular favorite was this one. While I did not have the time, money, or resources to pull it off, particularly for a one year old (if she was seven, maybe), there are a lot of great ideas out there, and I highly recommend doing more research. And for more Disney Birthday Party themes, feel free to see what some of our writers have done with these Cars, Tinker Bell, and Buzz Lightyear birthday parties! And if you’re really lucky and will be in the area (and have the extra money to spend) you can find out about birthday parties at Disneyland and Disney World!