Auntie Tip: Birthday Cards from Princesses

Following up on Friday’s post about getting birthday cards signed by characters, I just had to share one more card. I picked this one up at Walgreens for only $1.99, and I loved how it has five baby princesses on it.

First birthday card featuring baby Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White

I already got two princesses to sign it … just three more to go!

Birthday card signed by Snow White and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

I found Princess Aurora and Snow White in Epcot, and I only waited about five or ten minutes for each of them! If your kids are dying to meet princesses, I recommend checking the Epcot Times Guide to find out when they will appear in their respective countries. If you catch them at the right time, the wait can be much shorter than in Magic Kingdom.

Sign for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Princess Storybook DiningAnother way to meet a lot of princesses at once is to do the Princess Storybook Dining experience at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway in Epcot. I did breakfast there a couple years ago, and my niece loved meeting so many princesses in one day. My baby nephew also attracted some attention, resulting in lipstick kiss marks on each cheek. It was adorable!

Where is your favorite place to meet the princesses in Walt Disney World?

Auntie Tip: Birthday Cards from Characters

I spent today in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, and it was magical! The crowds were light, and the weather was perfect.

I tried a new idea today that I wanted to share with you. This trip is kid-free, but I wanted to get something special for my nieces and nephews who have birthdays coming up. So, I bought Disney birthday cards (Hallmark brand, from Kohl’s) and brought them along, and today I had some characters sign them.

Third birthday card signed by Donald Duck in Walt Disney World

First birthday card signed by Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World

Cool, huh? I have more cards that I’m going to get signed tomorrow.

If you decide to try this tip, I recommend buying cards with multiple characters on them so you have a choice of who could sign them (unless, of course, there’s one favorite character you must get). Make sure you bring something hard to write on. I used the stack of cards. I also recommend using a Sharpie marker, because it seems easier for the characters with gloves to handle. Make sure not to close the card or touch the signature until you’re sure it’s dry, especially if the card is made of a glossy paper. You could also take a picture of the character signing the card and include a print in the card, so the child knows the character really signed it—not you doing your best Mickey Mouse signature.

If you like this idea but want more flexibility of what to do with the signature, check out my tip about collecting character autographs on index cards.

That’s my tip from today in the parks. I’m looking forward to another magical day tomorrow!

Auntie Tip: Venture Outside of Magic Kingdom

When kids imagine going to Walt Disney World, they probably picture scenes from Magic Kingdom, like Cinderella Castle, Dumbo, or the tea cups. It’s true that Magic Kingdom has the highest concentration of attractions that appeal to young kids, and if your family has mostly kids under age eight, you’re probably going to want to spend a solid day or two there.

However, I want to encourage you to also venture outside of Magic Kingdom! You can still find a lot of things for kids to do in the other parks. In fact, one of the most toddler-friendly attractions, Disney Junior—Live on Stage!, is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In that park you’ll also find one of the top attractions favored by elementary-aged kids: Toy Story Mania!

In Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are attractions that appeal to kids, such as The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Epcot) and TriceraTop Spin (Animal Kingdom), but what I like best in those parks for kids are the more experiential attractions.

When my parents and I took my sister’s kids to Walt Disney World a few years ago, they were four and two. One day, we got a slow start so we decided to spend some time riding the monorail and visiting the other resorts. In the afternoon, we wanted to go to a park, but the kids were in the mood to do something a little more hands-on than sit in a ride vehicle, so we went to Epcot. There we spent a few hours in Innoventions. The kids loved the little piggybanks in The Great Piggy Bank Adventure. They also liked pushing the little garbage truck in the Waste Management exhibit that’s no longer there. It was a nice change of pace from the queuing and sitting that we would have been doing in Magic Kingdom.

Watching a video in The Great Piggy Bank Adventure in Innoventions in Epcot in Walt Disney World

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Auntie Tip: To Park Hop or Not to Park Hop?

Since most of the posts here on Vacationearing are about having themed days in Walt Disney World, I usually assume that you’ll be park hopping in order to experience all the activities related to that day’s theme. But if you’re not doing a themed day, should you park hop or not?

As you might expect, the answer is “it depends.” Here are some of the pros and cons of each option.

To Park Hop

The biggest benefit of buying the Park Hopper option is maximum flexibility. If you want to spend most of the day in Magic Kingdom but have lunch in Epcot, you can. If you only have a few days in town, you can do two parks per day so you can still experience your favorite attractions. If you’re traveling with a large group and you want to split up, you could all go to different parks during the day and then meet up together in Epcot for IllumiNations at night. Even if you usually spend all day in one park, having that Park Hopper option gives you the added assurance that if you wanted to go to another park, you could.

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Auntie Tip: Bringing the Magic Home

Although Vacationearing is about planning Walt Disney World vacations around the things you love, unfortunately, vacations don’t last forever. To help ease the transition, make sure you bring some of the magic home with you.

Disneyland WALL-E Pressed NickelYou might assume this means buying souvenirs, but there are a lot of free and almost free alternatives to what you find in the gift shops. Here are some examples:

  • Digital photos
  • Guide maps and times guides
  • Information packet from your resort
  • Tickets
  • FASTPASSes
  • Character autographs
  • Pressed pennies (only 51 cents!), nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • Birthday and other celebration buttons (request them at Guest Relations)
  • Confetti (be sure to bring a baggie to keep it in)

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