by Character Diva
This year, my daughter wanted a Zootopia themed birthday party, which was fine with me. Being the Disney lover that I am, I was more than happy to indulge her with a “Wilde” Zootopia party.
Etiquette- Invitations & Thank You Cards
One of the first things you have to think about when planning a party is who you would like to invite. Because we don’t live by my side of the family, but we do live by my in-laws, I knew that they would all be in attendance. We also wanted to invite my daughter’s entire preschool class, as well as a few friends with school aged children. And because my daughter was only turning 5, she’s at the age where when you invite someone, you invite their whole family, so I knew we would have a large number of people to invite, even if they all wouldn’t be able to attend.
Personally, I prefer inviting people either by using a program such as evite or creating a Facebook event. In this case, I did both. For friends who I spoke to more via email, I sent out evites. For my in-laws and friends who I communicated more regularly over Facebook, I created a Facebook event. While I realize that this isn’t as fun as receiving an invitation in the mail, it does let me keep a better tally of who is actually coming (it’s so much easier for people to rsvp by clicking a button, and I am also able to see who has viewed the invitation and when the last time they did so). For the Facebook event, I also uploaded some Zootopia clipart with the phrase “Help us celebrate (name’s) Wilde Zootopia Party!” to give it a little more of a Zootopia theme.
For thank you cards, I have to admit I broke away completely from our Zootopia theme and just used what I had on hand, but you could definitely make your own or add Zootopia stickers or clipart to decorate them (and of course there’s always Etsy).
Location & Decorations
Another detail you want ironed out early on when planning an event is the location. Because I was expecting a large number of guests (both kids and adults), I wanted an outdoor setting. And because I’m on a budget, I wanted it to be as cheap as possible. And when you have a ton of kids with a lot of energy, it doesn’t get much better than having a party at the park… especially when it is only a few blocks away from your house.
For décor, we kept it pretty simple. Our décor turned out be more of a police them than a Zootopia theme, but it still worked with all of our given activities. I used blue tablecloths paired with yellow plates and cups for the table setting. Oriental Trading Company also had this great napkin ring idea here, and I thought it was absolutely adorable for anyone who wanted a quick, DIY project.
Games & Activities
The biggest thing I wanted to focus on were the games. I really wanted some sort of organization to the games and some way to tie it all in together, so I thought what better way than to have the kids try to become junior Zootopia officers like Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde? Disney Diva Tip: I also bought a carrot pen from Toysrus (though you can also buy them at the Disney store), and planned to use that throughout the party, but somehow it was left at home. Still, my daughter loves it and whether you use it for your party or as a gift, I’m sure it’ll be quite the hit.
For our first game, I based it off of Judy Hopp’s pursuit of the weasel through Little Rodentia. At first, I thought of doing some kind of sack races where we had to capture the bandit, but my sister recommended the kids play “Capture the Bandit” with a Duck, Duck, Goose instead, which I admitted, would probably be easier and require less coordination from our participants.
The next game, went through quite an evolution of ideas before I finally decided on a hide and seek type game. I really wanted to do something with a missing character since that was such a huge part of the movie. I finally decided since Mr. Emmet Otterton was the mammal Judy was responsible for finding, that it make sense we hide Mr. Otterton. I found this adorable Mr. Otterton stuffed animal that was perfect for hiding. While I initially hid it and then had the kids look for Mr. Otterton, I let whichever kid found Mr. Otterton hide it the next time. This was definitely one of the kids’ favorite parts about the party.
Finally, the last game I came up with was based on a game my cousin’s kids play for each of their birthdays: A donut eating contest. And I thought this worked perfectly with Officer Clawhauser’s love of donuts. While I originally was going to play it the way my family does and attach donuts to strings, I thought this might be kind of hard to plan in advance (trying to hang donuts at the last minute… not good for little kids who can get distracted easily). So I modified it to be a little more time-friendly and just had the kids eat them off of these adorable donut plates from Walmart.
A couple honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut included “Who Am I?” where the guests would have to guess which character the kids were pretending to be, a Missing Mammal Hunt where 14 mammals were hidden around the park (printed off onto paper and taped onto bamboo skewers), a scavenger hunt, a variation on bowling where one kid would bowl a giant donut towards pins with citizens of Rodentia taped onto them and you had to intercept the donut before it knocked over the citizens of Rodentia, a Zootopia Memory Game (either a giant sized version for park play or a smaller version to play at home), as well as a Gazelle dance off to the popular “Try Everything” song. And while these ideas may not have made the cut for our birthday party, I am happy to say I am planning on using them (and some of the leftover party favors) for our Zootopia Family Movie Night in June!
After completing all of our games, I wanted to have a mini Junior Zootopia Police Officer Induction Ceremony where after having the kids recite a pledge promising to be brave, show integrity, be truthful, and protect the citizens of Zootopia, I named them honorary Junior Zootopia Police Officers and passed out police officer badges. Disney Diva Tip: Oriental Trading Company also had other police party paraphernalia available, such as hats, notepads, cups or sticker badges. You can find some of those products here.
Another Disney Diva Tip: When Zootopia first hit theaters, the Disney Store actually gave away paper headbands of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, as well as plastic Junior Zootopia badges. Sadly, our Disney Store no longer had them when I called to see if they had any left over, but you may wish to check online (perhaps Ebay?) or even with your local Disney Store in the rare chance that there are any leftovers you can get.
Food & Dessert
While I kept the actual menu pretty typical of your traditional party food (pizza, chips, and drinks), knowing that Judy’s family farmed both carrots and blueberries, it made sense to have those on the menu, so I made both a fruit and veggie platter to round out the menu (and also add some healthy munchies).
My daughter wanted cupcakes, so stealing an idea I had used for my son’s Cars themed party, I decided to find clipart of various Zootopia characters through a quick Google search, copy and paste them into a Word document so I could size and arrange them to look the way I wanted, print and cut them out, tape them onto the back of a toothpick and insert them into the cupcakes. Easy peasy.
Then it was time for favors. Since that’s what everybody takes home, why not make it memorable? Let me just say, besides the Zootopia Play Pack Grab & Go sticker, crayons, and activity booklets, I couldn’t find ANY thing close to Zootopia themed party favors at Party City, Walmart, or Target. Knowing that our guest list was going to be pretty high, I wanted something a little cheaper than 87 cents a pack for one tiny favor. So I turned my search to the World Wide Web and decided to try Pinterest, Amazon.com, and Oriental Trading Company.
I really wanted to focus on stuff that the new Zootopia police recruits would find useful, but somehow it turned out mostly to be a medley of snacks. I was able to find the idea for “Cop Corn” (aka Popcorn) off Pinterest here, and going along with our Officer Clawhauser’s love of donuts from earlier, I wanted to make sure to include some miniature donuts. I also found these police badge suckers off of Oriental Trading Company that happened to be on clearance. Oriental Trading Company had put them on clearance because the ink wasn’t printing exactly correctly and some of them were smudged, but since that was the only thing wrong with them, I figured the kids wouldn’t mind if the writing was slightly off center as long as they tasted good. And I don’t know about yours, but my kids never turn down a sucker, and I rarely turn down a bargain, so it was a win-win situation.
Somehow through all of my searches, Oriental Trading Company decided that these carrot jellybean bags would be perfect as a recommended item. While they weren’t exactly going with my police theme, they did fit Judy’s family’s carrot farm, and I thought they’d be another cute, edible snack. Honestly, the carrot bags and jellybeans were a little smaller than I pictured in my head (though I should’ve read the description better since it says each bag only contains about 16 jellybeans), but my kids didn’t mind, and they were elated that instead of receiving two dozen, we received 26 (so they volunteered to test the extras out in advance).
My favorite thing in our party favors (and also the non-edible ones) were the traffic violations. I found a book on Amazon.com called “Big Trouble in Little Rodentia” that actually came with six traffic violation punch out cards as well as Zootopia police badges in the book. Because I had already purchased badges from Oriental Trading Company, I didn’t make copies of the ones in the back of the book (plus I figured they would be harder to wear), but I LOVED the traffic tickets. I’m not going to lie… I ordered the book solely for the traffic violation cards. And they were super cute. I then paired those with pencils my daughter picked out from our local Dollar Tree so the kids could issue parking tickets to their hearts’ content. Disney Diva Tip: While I loved the traffic tickets, you could definitely come up with your own or even just give the kids little memo notebooks to issue tickets to offenders.
Disney Diva Tip: Other party favors that crossed my mind included: Judy’s carrot pen, plastic handcuffs, toy water guns, sticker badges, the Play Packs mentioned above, and copies of the “Big Trouble in Little Rodentia” or other Zootopia books. For various reasons, all of these items were nixed from the list, but if you’re having fewer attendees or if you have a bigger budget, these may be some good suggestions for you.
Lastly, I stuffed all of the favors into clear plastic bags, and then printed off more clipart labels with each of the kids’ names on them.
For those of you who can’t get enough of Zootopia, you can order a copy of it here!
Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out some of our other parties here!
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