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So you have booked the trip and you are all ready to go feel the magic, and you want to keep the kids entertained and happy the whole time. So…you can add little surprises along the way. Even if the trip isn’t necessarily a surprise, you can add little surprise here and there to keep the glee on their faces! Keep some of the magic that you have already planned to yourself and watch their faces light up as they find out about it! The key isn’t always spending unexpected money, it’s hiding key details of the trip and exposing them at the opportune moment.
  • Character meals– You could book a special family dinner or breakfast with the family where your princess could meet her favorite fellow princesses or your little boy could hang out with Mickey and the gang or Pooh and friends.
  • Pins in the room to trade- You could easily order a pin lot from Ebay and then place the pins all over the room one day and the kids could have an amazing time exploring the park and trading with cast members for their favorite characters!
  • Gift card for souvenirs with favorite character- Right before they get ready to go to the park, with some financial help from the parental units and the hard earned money of the kids themselves, load up a gift card on with their money and incorporate their favorite characters onto the gift card. I say go to because they have a much wider character selection, including villains and under loved characters and even customizable gift cards. The kids can keep loading them at the Disney Store as they earn money. It will make them think more seriously about how they spend their money and provide them with a scrapbooking souvenir of their favorite character or a family photo. You could also surprise them with Disney Dollars in the parks if you are feeling so inclined, as they are only available in the parks and online.
  • Duffy bear before the trip to photograph- When you take the kids to the Disney Store to get excited about their Disney trip, I suggest getting a Duffy bear if the kids are into photography or documenting all aspects of their trip. I have seen a lot of people take pictures of Duffy in various awesome locations around the park to share with family and friends! I believe Duffy is also a bit less expensive at the Disney Store and the story that goes with him is just adorable!!
  • Souvenirs from characters or parents in the room (buy at home, place at night when they are asleep)- Before your trip, check your local craft store, the clearance section of your local Disney Store and pick up some little trinket souvenirs. Your kids will generally ask for them at the parks, if they have them beforehand, they won’t ask for the more expensive version of them in the parks. Suggestions include Disney character puzzles, Disney hair accessories (can be bought at Claire’s), Disney pens, small Disney plush, Disney candy, coloring books, Disney necklaces for little girls, Disney PVC figure sets of their favorite characters. There are also fun print out crafts on
  • Character wake up calls- Have to wake up early to get to the parks? Why not wake up the family with the sound of a character like Mickey, Stitch, or Goofy. As of right now there is no way to request a certain character but all of the choices are adorable and so fun to hear upon waking up in a Disney resort!
  • Surprise souvenir from the parks on the way home- Everyone has that one pin, plush, doll or other souvenir that they wish they had bought in the store when they saw it. Why not surprise your fellow traveler with that souvenir in the airport on the way home. So pay attention at the gifts they don’t buy for themselves and surprise them with an extra special treat that makes even the departure from the most magical place on earth fun for everyone! If you have already departed the park or can’t quite remember where you saw the item, simply ask one of the hotel cast members and they will do the research and find out where the item is located in the parks and shops. However, if you want to purchase an item someone is particularly attached to, you can easily have the packages sent back to the hotel room, or your home. So that you are not walking all over the park with the bag.
  • Movie night at the resort- Some of the Disney Resorts, including the campground, and the All Star Resorts have Movies Under the Stars where they screen Disney films outside! For the schedule or location of the nearest one, call the front desk of your resort.
  • Plan a surprise every day and leave clues in the morning- If you know the schedule of various events or meals you will be surprising your fellow travelers with, you could leave clues in the hotel room and allow them to figure out what the surprise will be. You could type them in the Disney font before you go and pack them with your travel documents. You could have clues that lead to Movies Under the Stars, a special Holiday Party, Character meals or a special dinner with the family.
  • Going during a special time of year and add the party- Let’s say you are visiting the park during either Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or the Very Merry Christmas Party. Why not purchase tickets to the event and not tell the kids. However, if you plan to do this, make sure the kids either get to sleep in or get a nap in sometime during the day, these parties last late into the night 🙂
  • Stay in a princess royal room or a room themed for their favorite character.- You could tell the kids about the trip and not tell them that they are staying in a hotel specially tailored to their Disney loving preferences. The Princess Royal Rooms, or any room at the Art of Animation would be a perfect way to make sure the kids spend ample time with their favorite characters all through the trip!! Save the surprise until you get to the hotel!