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The anticipation of a Disney vacation is part of the magic. It’s a wonderful time for the entire family as you plan your trip. Here’s a simple DIY Disney countdown calendar, created to amp up the pre-trip excitement. It’s an easy craft that all ages will love!
This post is sponsored by VISIT FLORIDA.
My family has been taking Walt Disney World vacations for more than 20 years. In those 20 years, I’ve learned that the anticipation of a Disney Parks vacation (including a Disney Cruise) is just as fun at 21 years old as it is at 2 years old. There’s just something about that “Disney magic.”
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As my kids have grown, I have found there is something to enjoy on a Disney trip at every age. There is such a wide variety of things to do in the Disney Parks that there seems to be something fun for everyone to do each time we visit.
Disney Crafts Make Disney Even More Magical!
When my children were younger, they loved to meet (sometimes from afar) their favorite characters. Now that they are adults, they love finding a new favorite Disney snack and jumping into the single rider line at Expedition Everest 10 times in one day!
Each time we visit WDW I plan a little DIY or craft project for my family to create before our trip. Sometimes we make Disney t-shirts to wear while we are in the parks, and other times we find fun ways to count down the time until our vacation.
I consider myself a “crafty mom,” but I don’t enjoy projects that are too complicated or require too much planning. I like things that are simple to create AND easy to keep up. If you’re the same way, then I think you might like the simple Disney countdown banner that I have designed to share with you!
This Disney countdown calendar is great because as you turn over the days of the cards, a decorative Disney banner is slowly revealed! It’s also reusable, so you can save it for when you’re ready to plan your next Disney vacation! It would also be a creative way to share the anticipation of your magical vacation on social media!
About the Disney Countdown Calendar
The DIY countdown banner is made up of 14 cards. On the front of each card is an image that I have designed. Each image was inspired by some of my favorite things about a Disney vacation. I have cards inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Star Wars, Pixar characters and even Disney food.
The back of each card features a number, from 1 to 14. This countdown DIY is designed to be used in the two weeks leading up to your trip. When my kids were small, I learned that anything longer than two weeks seems to be a bit too much for them to grasp, as far as time goes. Fourteen always seemed like the sweet spot for the correct number of days to countdown to a trip
This Disney countdown calendar is perfect for keeping track of the day until your next Disney vacation, whether you’re going to Disney World, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruises or Disneyland Paris.
TravelingMom Tip: If you’d like to use your countdown for fewer days, you can always start the cards at a later part of the countdown.
How to Use the Disney Countdown
Hang your countdown cards somewhere in your home where your family can easily see them. I hung mine on my fireplace mantle, but you could also use a pinboard, fridge or the front of a closet door. You can use twine, magnets or push pins to attach your cards.
Begin with all of the cards with the number side facing forward. Each day turn one card over, revealing the design on the back. At the end of the 14 days, you’ll have a fun Disney characters “slideshow” hanging in your home.
Supplies for Your DIY “Days Until Disney” Project
- Free Printable Cards The cards are in PDF format and can be downloaded and the full version printed at home.
- Cardstock or Matte Photo Paper (TIP: print the card fronts on matte photo paper. It will give the colors a lot of pop and make the cards studier so you can use them over and over again).
- Paper Trimmer or Scissors
- Glue Stick
- Clothespins or other items to hang the countdown cards.
Disney Countdown Instructions
- Print out the card fronts and card backs. There are six pages to print in total.
- Using a paper trimmer, cut out each card. You can also use scissors if you don’t have a paper trimmer.
- Decide the order you’d like your images to appear in your banner.
- Glue the cut-out number card to the back of the cut-out card front. I think the easiest way to do this is with a glue stick.
- After you’ve glued the card front and backs together, trim the edges even, if necessary.
- Now all you have to do is to hang up the cards and start your countdown.
Five Additional Creative Ways to Count Down the Days Until Your Disney Vacation
Make packing fun! (And create these cute printable luggage tags)
My kids always loved (and still do even in their twenties) planning creative outfits to wear when in the parks. Each night in the week leading up to your trip, help your kids prepare and pick out the outfit that they’d like to wear. You can get creative with the ideas! For example, on the day you visit Hollywood Studios, help them put together an outfit inspired by one of their favorite Toy Story characters!
Give kids the opportunity to earn souvenir money.
I realize that each family uniquely handles chores and allowance. My children always enjoyed having opportunities to earn some money before our trip to spend on souvenirs. This helps with the household chores and gives the kids a bit more ‘investment’ in the money they are spending on souvenirs. Since they had to earn it, my kids always seemed to appreciate it a bit more.
Host a digital slideshow.
Pop some popcorn and settle into the living room for a good old-fashioned slideshow! Make an album on your iPhone (or android) with your favorite Disney photos and videos. Then view them on your TV so everyone can enjoy them together. If this is your first trip to Orlando, this would also be an entertaining activity to do after you get home.
Have a Disney movie night!
We have a Disney + subscription and love to watch Disney movies in order! Recently we watched all of the films in the Star Wars saga. We watch one movie a week until we finish the WHOLE story! There are so many great Disney movies from which to choose! Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel movies, Toy Story movies and more! It would be so fun to watch a film in the series a week (or a day) leading up to your vacation.
Schedule a Disney craft night.
Being a “crafty mom,” I have a special place in my heart for family craft nights! You could jump on the tie-dye craze and create a set of matching family t-shirts to wear in the parks. You could also:
- Design and create a set of luggage tags for your trip.
- Decorate simple canvas tote bags or backpacks. These would be great for the kids to use to carry their stuff in the parks.
- Create a scrapbook. Using simple scrapbook supplies, pre-create a book to hold your photos when you get home from your trip. Plan out pages to hold photos from your various park days. Then when you get home, all you have to do is print out your photos and glue them into your album.
If you have additional ideas and suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comments section!
Melissa Mortenson is the founder of the Polka Dot Chair blog which has been sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers since 2008. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her work and designs have been featured on numerous websites including HuffPost, Today, Pioneer Woman & BuzzFeed. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.