The anticipation of any vacation from normal life has always been a big part of the fun for me. It was no surprise to read that a 2010 study reported the effects of vacation anticipation boosted happiness levels for 8 weeks prior to a trip.
Some enlist the help of Disney touring specialists to plan their trips, while I'm thankful to have had the time to research crowd trends, character meal reviews, and park secrets myself. My husband would hire this portion out in a heartbeat or just show up & wing it. We've been to WDW several times between us, but have never taken the kids. Our oldest two are at prime ages to experience the magic. We were sold on going with a baby when we learned of parent/baby swap (whole party waits for ride, parent A stays aside w/baby while parent B & tall-enough children ride, then parent A & B switch & kids get to ride again with parent A). We'll go back again in a few years when the littlest can appreciate it and the older two can see it in a new way. She is free to fly, to stay, & can eat from our plates, so we don't have to worry about her getting our money's worth.
Going through the summer clothes bins & putting sunscreen in my basket at Target is welcome task after our first Northeastern Winter in nearly 10 years.
To build excitement & give them an idea of what to expect:
We've been watching You Tube videos of the parks. (I nearly teared up watching Celebrate the Magic.)
We are big fans of these Songs & Story CDs.
Pandora plays Disney while we're doing homework through dinner (I like the Enchanted station w/Amy Adams & James Marsden because it mixes some old standards for a break from straight Disney tracks.)
I'm considering a library run for the movies my kids haven't seen much or at all. I've always loved Mary Poppins & Swiss Family Robinson were some of my favorites at their age.
Last night at midnight, I created this chain link countdown to Disney (because I promised it would be up in the morning & remembered on my way up to bed). My kids are under 10, so 30 days or less seems fitting for time visualization.
I cut strips of red & white cardstock, 1 for each day until we leave (including the morning we leave)
On each strip, I wrote trivia questions ("What did Rapunzel want to see?", "Who helped to make soup while hidden under a chef's hat?" "What is Belle's favorite activity?" ,"What are the names of the superhero family members dressed in red") and actions "Bounce around like Tigger!", "Say it with me: "Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!" "Swim around like Nemo", "Race around like Vanellope").
Secure the ends of each link together, keeping the writing inside of the loop, one linked around the last; creating a chain.
My son asked if he could start packing this weekend.
I think we can check "Build Anticipation" off of our list.