I had the most amazing opportunity to host a #DisneyKids preschool play date for my youngest child and his friends. Disney Resorts selected us and I was on CLOUD NINE, I tell you. After all, we are an insane Disney family. My son got his first haircut at Magic Kingdom (Bet you didn’t even know they had a barber. Huh?).
Both of my children went to Disney before they were three. After all… they’re FREE until they’re three. 😉 And, we’ve always stayed at one of the Disney Resorts because of so many reasons: 1) It’s like you’re in another world; 2) Everything is contained so there’s on-site transportation and it’s a safer environment; 3) There are amazing benefits like extra hours at the parks and special touches like towel characters, resort activities, etc. 4) There are no other resorts with Disney’s – themes, customer service, fun, value, and caliber of overall quality. I could go on.
I’ve been visiting Disney since I was a small child as well. That was long before there was a talking Mickey. That’s right! They now have talking characters at Walt Disney World. Your child can actually meet with Mickey and they can talk back and forth, interacting with one another. (sigh) I practically grew up at Fort Wilderness Campground and I’m so glad that I get to share so many amazing experiences with my children there. So, I can’t tell you how tickled I was to see that American Tourister had shared with us a Star Wars Storm Trooper rolling suitcase. We immediately had to purchase some Rebel patches to balance the evil with good. After all, I can’t have my five-year-old slipping over to the darkside.
The supercool thing about these suitcases is that they’re made by American Tourister so you know they’re well made but they’re not boring ol’ adult suitcases. Another cool thing about them is that instead of your kids having to lug around a 25lb bag, they can roll it behind them. And, as you can see in the picture of their Sofia the First suitcase, the handle retracts and gets tucked away behind a handy zipper!
But… you know what? My family’s Walt Disney World adventures will be for another article, another time.
In addition to these suitcases, Pillow Pets wanted to share with us the quality of their Disney Pillow Pets by having Elijah test out their Dory Pillow Pet and then showing her off to his friends. As you can see, the Dory Pillow Pet past the test!
Back to the play date…
Most of you who know me know that I thrive on setting up parties for my loved ones. I’m not the mom that’s trying to impress other moms. I’m the mom that’s trying to create memories for me and my family. And since I have a high standard for myself (often not lived up to – I’m pretty hard on myself as I’m sure a lot of you are); so, I like to really do it up. Kind of like the pictures you see here…
And I had every opportunity to do that here, too. You know what I decided, though? This is a freakin’ play date! Who has ever heard of a mom pulling out all of the stops for a play date?! And, you know what? Every play date I ever had with my friends, barely had any parental supervision let alone pennants, candy buffets, bouncie houses, and finger foods! But, man! Did we have a blast! I’m not knocking any of those things; but, without any of it my friends and I entertained ourselves and exercised our imagination in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. My friends and I, with just a few props or toys, would always have so much fun when we played together. That’s what I wanted to create here. Well, I guess it would be better put to say that I wanted to create an environment where the kids could create that fun themselves! After all, isn’t that the point of “play?”
So…I did the hardest thing I’ve probably ever done in my life – I kept it simple. And, you know what? It was a complete and utter SUCCESS! We played with toys. We played Pin The Nose on Mickey! We even played charades. Do you know that these kids had no idea what the game of charades was?! A pure travesty! 😛 One of which I quickly amended. 🙂
When I was deciding on the location of our playdate I wanted something different, a place most parents don’t always think about but was a big part of my childhood – the movie theater! A lot of parents don’t know that their local theater offers birthday rooms and packages. The Regal Cinema 20 & IMAX at the Mall of Georgia provides a great party room! If you’re interested in celebrating a special occasion with your little one, they have birthday party packages starting at $17 per child that include a film booth tour, a popcorn/candy/soda meal, group seating in the theater of your choice, $2 in game tokens, host/hostess service, paper products, and of course movie admission to the film of your choice. Of course, we were only there for the Disney films. 😉
The kids did not disappoint me in their reactions or behavior. What was so cool to see, too, was that there was no limitations or box that any of them felt they needed to fit into. Even the girls wanted to be Chewbacca and Darth Vader. The boys shared the crown in order for Addison to become Princess Addison. And Abilene quickly showed that she was more Jedi than she was princess for the day as she battled against Darth for the rebel alliance! The boys didn’t play separate from the girls nor did the girls exclude the boys. Everyone played together and took turns being Iron Man, Woody, Prince Adam, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper, and more. You would turn to your left and see one princess crowning another. You would turn to your right and see Woody transforming into Captain America without so much as a breath between. It was AWESOME!
Here the kids are coloring Disney character sheets provided by The Disney Store at our local mall! They had just finished decorating their party hats into Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat from Fantasia. You can see Princess Abilene crowning Princess Addison on the bottom left. On the bottom right you can see the kids excitedly lining up to play Pin the Nose on Mickey! For some of them it was their first time playing a pinning game!
We kept the play date simple in its execution and one of the ways we did that was with simple food. I made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting. The super not-so-secret way I turned them into Mickey cupcakes was by adding black food coloring to chocolate icing and using miniature Oreos for ears! The kids LOVED them!
To couple nicely with the cupcakes we had some super yummy fruity macarons from Mac Lab & Bakery that both the kids AND the parents quickly devoured! At Mac Lab they can customer make any macaron your heart desires. If they sound familiar it’s because they’re the bakery that went viral when a few people got wind of their unicorn macarons!
Our local Kroger grocery store was kind enough to want to contribute to the kids’ play date and gave us an amazingly yummy (no seriously – this wasn’t gas station quality – this was high quality boars head deli food here) tray that the kids thought was super cool because it used pretzel sticks instead of toothpicks to pick up the cheese and meat! (It’s the little things.) I saw kids eating turkey that had never liked it before. Good job Kroger! Of course, before the kids dug in to the goodies they washed up with Softsoap hand wash; which, after a cold day, left their hands feeling soft and moisturized rather than dry and itchy like so many hand soaps can do to little ones’ skin.
You can pick up Softsoap at your local grocery store just as you can pick up our go-to party snack of Pop Secret popcorn! We picked up some super cute Disney popcorn containers at the Dollar Tree (4 for $1) and poured in Pop Secret’s yummy popcorn for the kids to nibble on throughout the party. What else would you have at a movie theater?!
As the parents and grandparents sat around, we discussed Disney Resorts and memories: what we’ve done, what there is to do, what the kids really love. Again, I’ll tell you all more later about some of our experiences at Disney Resorts but this’ll give you an idea 😀
Now, when the play date was over, when didn’t want our kids disappointed and sad that the fun was over so they each got goodie bags full of fun. They got everything from bubbles to t-shirts. We easily accomplished this with some help from some great Disney-friends such as Regal Cinema 20 & IMAX at the Mall of Georgia who made sure each child had a movie pass to see the Disney movie of their choice (most wanted Beauty & the Beast, some were waiting for the next Cars). We also had wonderful contributors such as The Disney Store at the Mall of Georgia who provided stickers, Star Wars cut-outs, and coloring sheets! If you haven’t visited your local Disney Store, I encourage you. They have all sorts of activities and events! We also filled our bags with all sorts of affordable Disney items that gave the kids a taste of that Disney magic, pixie dust if you will, by visiting our local Dollar Tree and finding TONS of great finds.
Thanks to STA Apparel, our kids each got a customized shirt just for them! If you don’t know, families are really into getting matching t-shirts for their trips to Disney events and resorts. It’s fun but it’s also a great way of easily keeping your eye out for each other. STA Apparel can add names, print in several different ways to fit your budget, and their quality can’t be beat. Our #DisneyKids absolutely fell in love with them as you can see!
Well, after it was all said and done, the kids had loads of fun. They each walked away having enjoyed each other, having exercised both their bodies and their imaginations. At the risk of sounding cheesy and poetic, I even believe they each walked away feeling a little bit more like they could conquer a dark sith, preside over a kingdom with humility and grace, engineer their own super suit, and that they definitely had “a friend in me.” 😉 See what I did there? 🙂
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So, because I’m still floating on a cloud of Pixie Dust, I MUST SHARE THE DISNEY LOVE! I have a Disney goodie stash just waiting to be given to someone. All you have to do is Enter Here and, if you’ve met all of the requirements, you might just find some Pixie Dust in your mailbox soon!
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