Last Minute Disney Trip!? No problem!

A note from Steph: The podcast episodes are moving to Wednesdays because of the Touringplans Podcast Network release schedule. Instead of a new show today, we have a post from Britt!

I'm a planner.  I like to have a plan, stick to the plan, check things off my to do list, etc.

HOWEVER, I am more than willing to throw that all out the window when my husband comes to me and says, “Lets go to Disneyland next week.”, which is exactly what just happened to me!

My amazing hubby surprised us with a last-minute trip to Disneyland over July 4th weekend.  Yes, we know it'll be a madhouse, but WHO CARES?!!  We're going to Disneyland!!!!!  I was jumping up and down, but the planner inside me immediately went to work.  There was so much to do and only a handful of days to get it all done.

So how do you still create extra magic, special stuff for your family, AND get it all together for a quick and messy trip to Disney?  Let me tell you how I've been doing it.

We already had our tickets purchased for our upcoming trip in October.  Josh's plan was to use those tickets now and upgrade them into annual passes at the end of the trip.  (It's basically the same price to upgrade to annual passes as it would be to buy tickets again in October.)  So tickets are done.  Priority #1 was to get a hotel room booked!!  Josh sprung the trip on me late Friday night, so as we sat around on the couch that night, we both manned our ipads and within an hour or so we had a hotel researched, priced out, and chosen. gave us a good deal, quick walking distance to the park, free breakfast in the hotel – done and done.

My first full day of Disneyland prep!!  Luckily I didn't have a lot on the calendar, so my morning was spent list-making, online shopping (thank you 2-day Prime shipping) and then getting some projects done.

Since my daughter is only 2, I wanted her to have some sort of a fun visual countdown so when we tell her we're going to Disneyland she would have an easy way to SEE how many days are left.  I knew I had to make something that would be quick and easy because I wanted it done by tonight!  I pulled out my trusty Silhouette Cameo and cut out 6 large Mickey heads onto some neon cardstock I already had in the closet (leftovers from some other project).  I pulled 6 photos from my last trip photo album and taped them to the heads.  I wrote the number of days on the ears.  I hung them on my existing Instagram wall.  In about 20 minutes I had the entire project finished!

Its not the cutest thing in the whole world, but for a last minute trip it'll do!  And Scarlett thinks its bright and fun and loves to look at the numbers and pictures and take one down each day, which is all that truly matters.  Mission accomplished!

I also knew I wanted Scarlett to have an autograph book.  This would be her first trip where she's old enough to do autographs.  So, how can I put together an inexpensive, QUICK autograph book?  Easy solution – “Project Mouse: Autographs“.  I hate to plug my own product, but that's what I used!

I used the 8.5 x 11 digital print sheets that are included and ordered prints on white cardstock off of to be picked up at my local Staples store.  (OH!  And I used Photoshop to create a front and back cover, but those aren't really necessary!) Two and a half hours later I got an email saying my prints were ready to be picked up.

I used my trusty paper cutter to cut the cards, but I was careful to leave about a half inch margin on the left hand side for binding.  I left this margin so I could bind the book and then after the trip, if I decide I want to cut the binding off and slip the cards into 4×6 photo albums or pocket page protectors, I can.

Then I punched holes with a simple handheld hole punch, using one card as a template to make all the other holes in the exact same spots.

I already had a pack of binder rings in my craft drawer, so I pulled out the smallest ones and clipped it all together.

It's slim and easy to stick in a bag.  I feel like it's going to hold together well.  I bought a couple clickable Sharpies too.  Done and done.  My countdown, AND my autograph book done in the same day?!  I was on a roll!!!!!

On top of these two projects I also took Scarlett to the swimming pool with her cousins for a few hours.  Just before bed we told Scarlett about the trip and showed her the countdown.  Her reaction was pretty adorable!  After Scarlett went to bed, I left Josh at home and went shopping.  At the craft store I bought a Smash Book bundle (because I intend to Smash Book on this trip) using a 40% off coupon!  SCORE!   And I bought a few “hour-by-hour” road trip presents, ala this pin on Pinterest.  At another store I bought myself a new shirt to wear on the trip.  When I got home I started pulling together and coordinating our outfits for maximum photo cuteness, ala Kim Lund's “What to Wear” post here on Capturing Magic.

Ok.  Breathe.  Only 4 days until Disneyland and still so much left to do.  I  went to the dollar store and grabbed a ton of glow sticks (so much cheaper than buying glow toys in the park), and the rest of my hour-by-hour gifts.  I sewed a Mickey head onto a 4th of July dress that Scarlett already had (thanks to a hand-me-down!).  Since we would be there on the 4th (I know, we're NUTS) I decided it would be super cute for her to dress in red white and blue.  I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut a Mickey head out of some black sparkly fabric out of my fabric scrap stash.  (Did you know the Silhouette cuts fabric?! It does!!).

We also saw Monsters University as a family, went out to dinner, stopped at the Disney Store where I found 2 ADORABLE tees for Scarlett for super cheap (one was only 2.99 and the other 6.99!).  After Scarlett went to bed, I wrapped all her hour-by-hour road trip presents with whatever paper I had in my wrapping paper bin.   Basically she'll get a present each hour (that she's awake) during our drive to Disneyland.  Each present is something to do (aka kill time) in the car.  Hopefully I have enough to last both ways, but we'll see!

And that was it for my extra magical projects.  Done and done – and still 3 days left!

It's Sunday, and its a day of rest around this house.  No major prep work, just church and then enjoying time with our family!  (And taking a much needed breather)

Ok, as I'm writing this post we have 2 days until we leave and I have to PACK PACK PACK!  I plan on going to the grocery store and getting food for the road, park snacks, and we're planning on making lunches to take to the park to save a little $$ (I know, I can hear you smacking me already Steph).  I have to run to Costco for diapers (wow – am I really writing about picking up diapers at Costco.  This must be a riveting article).   And get the oil changed on our car.

Today this mama is getting herself a pedicure!  I want pretty feet for Disneyland, so I'm treating myself.  I plan to continue packing and loading up all our gear.  Luckily I save a packing list on the computer every time we go, and I update it after each trip with things I forgot, or wished I had, which makes packing for the next trip easier.  Gotta make sure to clear off our phones, clear memory cards, and charge up camera batteries!!  VERY IMPORTANT for capturing magic!!

AND THAT'S IT!! In 6 days my family will be completely ready to head off  to the Happiest Place on Earth AND I even managed to squeeze in some “extras” along the way to create and then capture the magic my little family of 3 is about to have.

I'm SO EXCITED you guys!!  By the time this post goes live I'll still have 1 more day before we head off on our road trip to Disneyland.  Ahh . . . 3 fabulous (and I'm sure busy) days in my favorite place in the world!!!  I'll be Instagramming live from the parks, so follow me at @designerbrittney.  I'll see you on the other side!  TTFN!!

Brittney Leavitt, aka Britt, is a digital scrapbook designer and owner of Britt-ish Designs. Visit her website where you’ll find lots of magical digital scrapbooking products.