Planning a Disney vacation is exciting! I love to find different ways to countdown the days to my vacation. Here are some ideas that are fun and easy:
1. Apps! There are plenty of cell phone apps that you can download for free that countdown for you, down to the seconds! Search for ‘countdown’. There are several Disney-themed countdown iPhone apps for just $.99.
2. A dry erase board! This is super easy-peasy for anyone to do. You can find dry erase boards at lots of stores including Wal-Mart, Target, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and the Dollar Store. You can find bigger ones on the cheap around Back-to-School time. Decorate your board with the dry erase markers, or you can dedicate it for just Disney trips and color with permanent markers and Disney stickers!
3. Add the countdown days to your family’s calendar! If you already have a family calendar in your home, do what the Disney Diva does! She has a wall that she painted as a floor-to-ceiling giant chalkboard that she writes their entire month on and when they’ve got a Disney trip it says “__ many days till Disney”.
4. Printables! Find or create a page on your computer to print out that has ‘Countdown to Disney’ or ‘Countdown to Our Vacation’ on the top and 30 circles with a number in each counting down. Every day you’re closer to your trip, you or your child can mark out the day with a marker or place a Disney sticker on it!
5. Magnet board! Start with thirty magnets on their own board (or use the refrigerator) and remove one after each day.
6. Paper chains! Cut out good sized strips of paper in any color you want. I use about one-inch wide strips of construction paper. Write a different Disney activity on each one. Create a chain by stapling the strips into interlocking rings. Every day, you or your child can take a ring off and have your activity of the day! Here are some ideas: Watch a Disney movie, make Mickey pancakes for dinner, Disney trivia, dress-up as your favorite Disney character for dinner, have Disney fruit snacks, & get a special gift from mom.
7. Countdown gifts! Get a gift for each child for each day you want to countdown. Wrap them or put them in their own brown paper bag and write a countdown number on the front. Each day they get to open that day’s gift. Check-out the Dollar Stores, Target’s value section, & craft stores to find affordable trinkets. You can also use the things you were already planning on giving them for the vacation, such as a new pair of pajamas, glow sticks, a Disney swimsuit, a new T-shirt, coloring books, crayons. Everyday they can add these things to their backpack or suitcase!
8. Princess Diva says: “I used my Mickey hole punch and found little jars at Hobby Lobby. I put one Mickey punch-out in the jar for every day until our trip. I had a little poem that went on our jar and every day the kids got to pull a Mickey out of the jar.”
9. Punch cups! Have a disposable cup & a small toy or individually wrapped candy for each day you want to countdown. Cut tissue paper into squares that are just bigger that the mouth of the cup, and write you countdown numbers in the center of each square. Place one toy or candy in each cup, dot the cup’s rim with glue, and top with the tissue paper. Everyday your child can punch through the tissue paper and claim the prize inside!
10. Activity binder! I think this is great for older kids. Print off a coloring page or activity (word search, trivia) for every day you want to count down and put them in the binder. Each day your child can complete the activity. You can also add notes to the pages, like ’12 more days until Disney!’, ‘You are going to see Belle in 10 more days!’, ‘Oh my, three days to go! Have you done your laundry?’ There’s nothing like sneaking in chores to the Disney excitement, you can have all sorts of reminders and ‘to-dos’. Binders and office supplies go on sale around back-to-school time, so pick some up if you get the chance.
11. Mickey garland! Cut Mickey shapes from construction paper and thread them onto a long piece of yarn. Tie or tape the yarn on both ends somewhere in the house it can hang, like down the hallway or high across a door frame. Spread out the Mickey shapes along the yarn. Each day you or your child can pull one off the yarn.
12. Pathway to Disney! Print out a picture of your destination at tape it to a wall or door. (always test first so you don’t damage the paint!) Next, cut out Mickey shapes and tape them underneath the picture, creating a pathway. Every day closer to vacation you can take a Mickey off, making the path shorter!
13. It’s a surprise! I personally cannot keep a secret, but here’s a great way to fill your kids with anticipation. Create a clue on where you’re going for every day you want to count down. Start off with vague or difficult clues, getting easier as you go. Every day your child gets to read the clue and have one guess on your destination. When they guess it, they’ll still want to read the clues every day, and you can also include the things you plan on doing while you are there like shows or restaurants.
14. Sticky notes! Place different colored sticky notes on a big sheet of poster board and number them for your countdown. Every day take another one off! You can even have a surprise waiting on the board behind the sticky note, like a fun sticker or a message.
15. Flip book! Decorate each page of a spiral notebook of any size with your countdown numbers, one on each page. Every day, flip the notebook to the next page.
16. Activity envelopes! Glue brightly colored envelopes, flap side out, to a big piece of poster board. Draw a countdown number on each flap. Write activities on index cards that fit inside the envelopes. Every day pull out a new activity card to do with the family!
17. Clothes on a clothesline! String up a clothesline somewhere in your house and get your hands on some clothespins (Wal-Mart has them). Buy a new pack of socks, chances are someone in the house needs them anyway, and put a trinket in each one and hang them on the line. Every day your child gets to pull off a sock. You can also use rubber bands to wrap up new Disney clothes so they can’t tell what it is, and hang those along with the socks.
18. Blocks! For you out there who are more crafty, decorate four wooden blocks with one number from 0 to 9 on each side. You’ll need four blocks to make sure you have enough number combinations for the countdown since only six numbers fit on one block. Do two blocks with 0 through 5 and the other two with 6 through 9. You will have two empty sides on the last two blocks that you can put Mickey or any other character on. There are many different mediums you can use for this craft, from paint to scrapbook stickers.
19. Poppers! Collect enough empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes for each day you want to count down. Put a small toy, gift, candy, or note inside the tube. Wrap a sheet of tissue paper around the tube, leaving several inches hanging off each end, and tape to secure. Next, twist the tissue paper on each end once & tie a bow around it so the prize inside doesn’t fall out. You can write the countdown numbers on the side & decorate them with markers or stickers. To open them, have your child pull on both ends until the tissue paper pops!
20. Candy! Find a glass jar with a top or lid, like a washed out spaghetti sauce jar. Fill the jar with the number of candies that matches the days left in your countdown. Everyday help yourself to one candy!
Have a magical vacation!