If you know me at all, you could probably guess that I wouldn't just throw a few t-shirts and shorts into a suitcase and head to Disney World. Oh, no, that would be way too easy. See, Disney is magical. Really magical. But can I leave it at that? No, I want to add to the magic. I want to make a Disney vacation as totally-freakin'-awesome as I possibly can.
Our planning began over a year ago. Actually, it really began as soon as our first Disney vacation ended. I started thinking about things I might want to do differently, or what worked really well. I knew I wanted to do a different kind of autograph book and took a time to come up with my idea of a perfect autograph book. I started selling them on Etsy because I loved them so much, and because our vacation was ages away. For our trip, I created two books - one with all the girly characters (princesses, Marie from Aristocats, etc), and one with all the other characters (everyone from Mickey and the Gang to Phineas and Ferb). When I sell an autograph book, I embellish the pages meant for photographs with coordinating patterned paper, but I left ours blank so I could make sure the papers match the colors in the photo instead of just the illustration. I didn't get any before shots of the books, but here's Pooh signing his page:
The other big project was our clothing. On our first trip, I was a novice at Mickey head tie-dye, but we still really enjoyed wearing our shirts. Now, two years later, I've much improved on my methods. I sell a lot of tie-dye shirts in my Etsy store, including the color combination I picked for our trip. Here's a picture of the kids wearing their shirts - my husband and I wore matching shirts as well.
Unfortunately, we neglected to bring a matching shirt for the Mad Hatter. Oh well, maybe next time.
I didn't leave it at just tie-dye, though. Another thing I love doing is freezer-paper stencils, using my Silhouette Craft Cutter. I came up with this design, which I have yet to list in my Etsy store, though I will offer it as soon as I get a new shipment of grey t-shirts (the grey ones at AC Moore are too light, in my opinion).
I think the bears are just adorable! They're based on the baby brother bears from Brave, and it worked out perfectly that there are three bears in the movie, and I have three boys as well. In that picture, Fiona's wearing a t-shirt that I sewed an embroidered patch onto - I bought it from the Etsy shop, MyHoard. I also got her a Belle Mickey Head and I got Niall Buzz and Woody Mickey Heads. They're super cute and well made.
Of course, the boys had to wear two of my favorite designs that I've offered in my Etsy shop: Here Comes the Smolder and Clone Troopers Go Commando. Here's Lachlann wearing his Flynn Rider shirt.
Fiona's wearing a shirt I picked up from Target and then embellished with rhinestones. It was fairly painstaking, but I really loved the way it turned out.
I upcycled three other shirts for Fiona, too. The first was a light blue shirt that I added an apron to so it would look like Alice in Wonderland's dress. I figured that by upcycling shirts to a character theme, Fiona could dress up like her favorite characters without having to be uncomfortable in a giant polyester dress all day. Here's her Alice shirt, and for what it's worth, I do have a few listed on Etsy.
Another upcycled shirt was a plain purple t-shirt that I turned into a Rapunzel shirt with some tulle and ribbon. I also bought a patch on Etsy from The Pinpoint Shop and ironed it onto a pair of jeans to complete the look. I really wish I could have sewn it, and I might try to hand stitch it a bit because the adhesive is coming off a bit. But there's no way to machine stitch it to such a skinny pants leg. Anyway, here's our Rapunzel.
The boys are wearing shirts I made for them based on the Agent P Missions in Epcot. The front has a simple "Where's Perry?" in Phineas and Ferb front, but the back (which I don't have a picture of, unfortunately) has "Raum World Showcase Tour" and a list of all the countries in the World Showcase, sort of like a concert t-shirt.
And last but not least was the purple ruffled shirt I found in Target. I used three different types of Disney Princess fabric to turn it into a twirly dress. It was really easy and Fiona loves it! Here she is on the observation deck at California Grill.
Not all of our 'extra' magic was stuff that I made. On Disboards.com, there's a whole community of people who create amazing things in Photoshop. I found a whole ton of invitations that you can customize for your dining reservations. We printed one out for every table service meal we had planned and after the kids were asleep, we set the next day's out to look like someone had slipped it under our door. The kids never caught on and were always excited every morning to see what 'mail' they'd gotten. Here's one I came up with myself, since Be Our Guest is a new restaurant and I couldn't find a pre-made one.
We also printed out Thank You cards - little business cards with cute pictures that said things like, "Thank you for making our day magical!" We handed them out to anyone we had a great interaction with, even guests. The kids loved it, and everyone we gave one to seemed quite pleased. Here's one that I really liked, which I got from a Disboard user named Natalie. Most of our invitations came from her as well.
The last really big thing we did was to create Epcot Passports. In each of the countries in the World Showcase, there's a Kidcot stop manned by a native of that country. Kids can pick up a cardboard Duffy or Agent P to color in, and the cast member will stamp them with their country's flag. You can buy a passport at Epcot as well, and they'll write something in their native language for you on the page they stamp. As I was browsing Natalie's files, I saw her beautiful passports and decided to make them for each of the kids. I bound them the same way I bind the autograph books, and they came out fantastic.
Oh, one last thing, I swear. We also decorated our window at our resort. Using my trusty Silhouette Craft Cutter, I cut out a bunch of Mickey heads and we strung them up in the window using 3M Command Hooks. Pretty simple, but it was fun.
So why do I bother with all this stuff? Is it necessary in order to have a good vacation? Absolutely not. Some of it is simply a way to 'kill time' before our vacation. I'm a really impatient person and the lead time before a vacation just kills me. So doing crafty stuff like this makes the wait a little more bearable. And the other reason is that it really does add to our vacation. Whether it's creating conversations we wouldn't have otherwise, giving the kids something to look at during a wait, or making them feel extra special, it's worth it to me!