I just returned from a fantastic Disney vacation with my family. Although there are plenty of online tips and tricks for enhancing your Disney experience, I have a few crafty tips and tricks of my own to share with parents. These tips and tricks have been refined and honed during multiple trips to Disney and the crafty tutorials and tricks below should make your time at Disney even more magical.
Here are my “Top 3” tips and tricks for preparing for Disney with kids. These Disney crafts for kids not only enhance the vacation experience, but working on these items also gets everyone excited for an upcoming trip to Disney.
1. Make Lanyards and Get Pins for Disney Pin Trading
2. Make Autograph Books and Card Sleeves to Hang on Your Lanyard
3. Design and Make Custom Mickey Ears
Lanyards and Disney Pin Trading: Disney has changed a lot since I was there as a kid – in the 1980s. Many of these changes are not just related to new rides or attractions. For example, you may have heard of Disney Pin Trading. If you are unfamiliar with Pin Trading then here is how it works. Most “Cast Members” (Disney employees) carry about 8 pins on a lanyard. Any Disney guest can give a Cast Member a pin in exchange for one of their pins. There is one catch, the pin that you provide must be a certified and branded Disney trading pin.
Pin trading is a lot of fun with the kids. My kids loved it, and it is a great way to entertain them while walking from attraction to attraction. The hunt for a new pin can be very exciting. Initially, the Cast Members are given pins that are not available for sale. So many of the Cast Member pins are different from the pins that you see in the shops at the park.
The problem is, if you buy pins in the park, then you will:
- Only have pins that your kids really want. They won’t want to trade them.
- You will pay a lot of money for the pins (each pin costs $5 to $10).
I suggest buying a random bag of pins on eBay – you will save tons of money. Be sure to pick a seller that guarantees “authentic Disney pins” and has a lot of positive feedback. I also suggest buying more pins than you think you need! I usually buy at least 5 per child per day in the park, which is not too bad since you can find 100 pins for ~ $45.
Making your own pin lanyards with the kids is fun. My daughter loved picking out her own ribbon and sewing it herself after I helped her set it up. She even made one for my Mom! Be sure to pick thin, non-wired ribbon. Pins can fall off if the ribbon is too thick. I picked up great clips for the bottom of the lanyard on Amazon, see 1.6″ Curved Lobster Clasps. See the image 2 images below. In that photo I have a sharpie and an autograph book clipped to the lanyard using this clip.
Another new and popular activity in the park is getting the autographs of the characters that the kids meet. Most autograph books are rather large and a bit cumbersome. I suggest making your own autograph book to hang on the lanyard. You can purchase die cut pages on Etsy and make your own covers by printing your own theme and glueing the theme to a piece of cardboard that is cut to the proper size for your pages. I found ~4″ x 3.25″ pages were a good size.
Another option for sturdier books is to use a wood front and back cover. I found pre-cut wood pieces at my local craft shop. You can use Mod Podge to attach your photos to the wood. Punch a hole through the page corners and hang on a Split Key Ring. This will allow your kids to then attach the book to their lanyard. I also purchased the Sharpie Mini Markers key rings to hang on the split key ring so that we were completely autograph ready.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards:
The Magic Kingdom also has an interactive card game called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. You can pick your cards up at the Fire Station by the entrance to the Magic Kingdon. You will receive 5 cards with each park entrance. They are the size of baseball cards. Purchase baseball card sleeves, punch a hole in the corner of the sleeve, and add them to a split ring so you can place them on the lanyard while you play the game too. The game is played throughout the park at “magic portals”, which come alive as you approach them with the proper card. It is a lot of fun!
Mickey Ears: Before the trip I made princess Mickey Ears for the girls, and pirate ears for my son. They were fun and easy to make and really got us excited for the trip. The ears were a big hit at the parks, as people were stopping us all the time and asking where they could purchase these ears. I have created detailed instructions in a separate post, DIY Minnie Mouse Ears. If you are not inclined to make your own ears then there are people on Etsy who make ears. I had such fun making mine and a have some extra materials. I may post a few for sale too, if I find time to make them…
I highly suggest finding a small pouch or bag to carry certain accessories mentioned above, since the lanyards get heavy when they are fully loaded. No one will want to wear the full lanyard all the time! So when you are in Epcot (for example) you will not want to wear the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card around your neck!
I hope these Disney crafts for kids help you to prepare for a great vacation! We loved our most recent trip!
Here is summary of some of the items I suggested. It includes a few options for the Lobster clasps. You only need one.