Disney Trip Planning: The Search for a Countdown Calendar

Last time we took a big family trip was January/February 2011. My daughter and I plunked down in late December to make up a quick countdown calendar out of construction paper and yarn, which we strung up along her window in her room. It was very simple: she (just shy of 5 at the time) drew circles on the paper by tracing around a glass, and then I cut them out. Then she wrote numbers on them, 1-30, and punched a hole at the top of each, and I wrote a message or activity on the back and strung them onto a piece of yarn.
Every morning, she’d pull down a number – counting down to 1 – and read what was on the back of it. They were simple things like “do a Goofy laugh!” or “in 14 days we’ll be at Epcot!” or things.  I also got a fun surprise out of it – knowing that she would hardly sleep from excitement the night before we left, I made one extra circle. On the day marked “2”, the instruction on the back was “Take down the last number” and that one said “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

So yes – simple, and fun. This trip, I have two kids who are both older than four, and I’m also dying to be creative (I’ll admit it, I live in jealousy of some of the people who have crafty skills). So, because I lack design and idea skills of my own, I’m turning to Pinterest to show me what to do… as so many of us do in our darkest hours. 🙂

Not surprisingly, there are a LOT of cool options on Pinterest. I think I may end up doing two calendars, one for each kid – which will remove the otherwise inevitable fighting over whose turn it is – but does require a bit more time and effort.  As for picking which ones, I have no idea. I guess I’ll get some input. But for those readers who may want a suggestion or eight, here are my faves that I located – something for everyone!

First of all, you can check out the full board here. I can’t promise I’m going to add to it, but I have a few other boards – including my “Haunted Mansion Rocks!” (because it does) – that I add to every so often, so follow if you’re inclined!

So now the calendars:

  1. The Ideal:

From Bombshellbling.com

This is the one I most aspire to. I don’t honestly know if I have it in me to make this, but I’ll make a real list about what’s needed and see if I can pull it together in the next few weeks. A lot of calendars are made using now-discontinued Mickey Paint Sample chips from Home Depot, and this is one of them, but I could adjust for that. In addition to a very cute design – self-contained and all those little Mickeys are just so cute! – there is an activity or question on the back of each. And as we’ve established, I love that! It’s always more fun to be interactive than it is to just check something off.

2. The Quick Clean-Up:

From Gingerlymade.com

In addition to being super cute, this one has the added benefit of being totally disposable, as the blog points out. It’s a guest post on Gingerlymade.com, by a blogger called Grey Luster Girl, hence the conflicting URLs. 🙂 This one is a step up from the original version I saw because she includes templates suggesting how to include the ears on the black loops.

3. The Re-Usable:

From MySweetSanity.com

Incredibly easy, for this one you just use dry erase markers to daily update the remaining time until you go on your trip on top of the glass of a frame. Visit the site for the printable!  Easy, but elegant.

4. The One The Kids Can Do:

From Blog.DVCRequest.com

This link has a version that is already coloured in if you want to skip that part, but I frankly love the idea of letting the kids get involved. Only – is this too much? Would they balk at colouring in 30 of these? I don’t know. This, by the way, is a little like a gussied-up (as in “more time and thought and skill went into the design than I am capable of”) version of the one I did 4 years ago, in concept anyway.

5. The We Saved You the Work And Look How Pretty one:

From MyDisneyLifeByMelissa.blogspot.com

Melissa made a design I love that requires little more than just printing out and adding dates. She’s got a few different versions of this available, too! I guess it helps that I love the colour scheme. Yeah, I’m like that.

6. The One That Requires WAY More Time Than I Have:

From LindseyJane.com

WOW, this is so much colour! And if you happen to find the other designs on here too easy or too boring, this one is definitely NOT boring! So this calendar has THAT going on for sure. I’m not a scrapbooker so I’d have to buy an awful lot of items I don’t have lying around, but yeah man, this is way cool.

7. The Rustic Wreath:

From FiddleDeeMe.com

She makes this look really easy, but y’all, reading the directions on the blog, this is a LOT of work! And I think the fact that she makes it look easy says a lot about her skill! I haven’t decided yet if I want to tackle this or not – the answer is probably not just due to time constraints. But I *do* still have about 50 days until our final month kicks in…

8: The Official

From Disneyparks.Disney.go.com

This is a lot of printing, but I can’t resist this. I have to try it. I WILL try it. There’s frame painting involved and I kind of love that!  So this comes off of the official Disney Parks blog, and as usual they make great use of images to put up a tutorial nearly anyone can follow. The link to the blog will show you the numbers as images, but to print them, you’ll want to use the links at the top of the blog post. In addition to a countdown to WDW, it also offers numbers for a countdown to Christmas.

In addition to the ones above, I’ve also found a pin for hourly treats in a car ride to Disney, a calendar to countdown to Disneyland, and a preschool-targeted countdown poster for 15 days out and under, plus others! Check out the board to see!

All pins here were used without permission but please follow the links to the original sources if you like the photos here. I did not create a single one of these. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Disney Trip Planning: The Search for a Countdown Calendar

  1. These are all fabulous ideas. I’m really drawn to the Mickey paper chain – simple, classic, yet with a Disney twist. Maybe you could write activities inside the papers before linking them to make it interactive?

    • That was my thinking! I can’t make a countdown calendar without some kind of interactivity to it. This one looks like it takes about the amount of time I have available too – but I am determined to do that official Disney Parks one, too. Just ’cause. ;D

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