When we were planning our first trip to Disney World as a family, our kids were going to be six and two. There were several characters the kids knew and loved (Lightning McQueen and Mater, Mike and Sulley, etc.), but I knew there were a lot of characters they weren’t very familiar with. I wanted to make sure they were introduced to as many Disney characters as possible before our trip. What better way to do that than a Disney Movie Countdown?
A quick rundown on my plan: I made a list of the movies I wanted the kids to see (or see again) before our trip, including a couple that would be releasing in theaters. I planned to have movie night once a week, and have a special meal, snack, or activity to go with it. Some were more elaborate than others, but none were expensive or very time consuming. Most of the time, I was able to work the food items into our regular meal plan and grocery budget.
I actually listed the movies by week, alternating familiar movies with movies that were new to them. It also gave me a chance to check our calendar and determine when we’d have time for something more involved, or see if we needed a quick snack. (Life must go on, even while you’re planning for Disney!)
The kids absolutely loved it. They looked forward to movie night every week, and couldn’t wait to find out what surprise was coming with the movie. And, ok, I loved it too. I actually missed our weekly movie nights after our trip!
How to plan a Disney Movie Countdown:
1. Determine how much time you have between now and your trip, and decide how often you want to do movie night. (We chose once a week.)
2. Make a list of Disney movies for your movie nights. (I listed over 20 movies!)
3. Figure out where you can get the movies you want to watch. We actually owned all but about four of the movies I wanted to watch. We were able to watch one at my Mom’s, Redbox another, and I decided (and was able) to purchase the other two. Some of Disney’s movies are in the “Disney vault” and aren’t available for purchase. If you don’t already own the movies, try borrowing from friends, and check your local library, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Redbox. And keep an eye on your cable listings. Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and ABC Family frequently air movies you might not otherwise get to see. (If you aren’t already a member of the Disney Movie Club, now might be a good time to join. That’s actually how Chris and I started our collection, long before we had kids. Look for a start-up deal that gets you several movies pretty inexpensively.)
4. Think of snacks, meals, and/or activities to go along with each movie. You can be very simple or go crazy – it’s completely up to you. Pinterest is a great resource, but don’t let it give you an inferiority complex. Do as much or as little as you want to, and just have fun!
Most importantly, sit down and enjoy some Disney magic with your kids.
What are your favorite Disney movies?