Friday, March 18, 2016

Disney Party Planning Tips | A Disney Mom's Thoughts

How do you plan a Disney themed party? There are so many things to consider when throwing a party. I'm going to walk you through our process when planning a party!
1) Several months (3-4) before the party, work with everyone involved (the honoree, birthday kid, special couple, etc.) and choose a theme. When doing this with my boys, I try to keep in mind which themes would have pre-made items at party stores and what we already have at home that we could incorporate into the party. I also try to think about games and activities that could easily be done to tie into the theme. Then I give them choices based on what they are interested in. Majority of the time I try to choose several Disney character themes- 1) they love it, 2) I love it, 3) there are plenty of ideas out there, and 4) I know I can easily blog about it! :) For my 3 year old, we are already talking about options for his September party: Wreck it Ralph, Big Hero 6, or Monster's Inc.

2) Look at Pinterest and Google the theme. There are so many amazing ideas online for almost any theme. I promise you'll find more than enough ideas for your party- if you choose a theme that is easy to work with!  If you start looking for ideas and can't find anything, go back to #1 and possibly pick a new theme!
3) 2-3 months out- decide where the party will be and secure the location if needed. If you are needing an entertainer (magician, story teller, etc.) book them as well. If you need to secure a bounce house or any other activities for the kids, do this now.
4) 2-3 months before the party- Make a list of all the games you want to play, activities you want to have, and food you want to serve. Make a list of supplies you'll need for each and a shopping list. Be sure to have healthy snacks (fruits, veggies, etc.) in addition to all the sugary sweets in the cake, ice cream, candy, and cookies.  Also, don't forget to have drinks for the adults too, such as soft drinks, tea, or water- most moms and dads don't want Capri Sun! :)

5) Start buying supplies for the party a little at a time. If you buy things here and there, instead of all at once, it's not quite as hard on the wallet! Look at Amazon, Oriental Trading and other online store- sometimes it's cheaper there than at your local party store or big box store.

6) 6-8 weeks before the party- Look at your families calendar, the community's calendar, sports calendars, school calendars, etc. and choose a date. I try to choose a date at least 6-8 weeks out so I have enough time to spread the word and get invitations mailed.
7) 6 weeks out- Make a guest list and decide on invitations. There are so many ways you can invite guests to parties these days! You can send emails, create a Facebook event, use a service like Eventbrite or Evite, buy the "fill in the blank" pre-made invitations, order from Etsy, order from an invitation shop or do like I do and make your own with MyMemories Suite! All of these are fine options- choose what's best for you, your budget, and your guests.
When you're ordering or making invitations, consider the other customized things you may want or need (party favor bag tags, water bottle labels, food tents, themed t-shirts with the honorees name, etc.).

8) 3-4 weeks out- Mail/ send your invitations. I always add a "Regrets Only" to my invitations and sometimes add "Regret By (date)". While most people don't always regret, many still do. I still mail paper invitations to most parties. I like to have invitations on my bulletin board to look at and I always keep one from my boys parties for the baby books! When I don't hear back from people, I sometimes will say something when I see them, send a text or a Facebook message to try to get an idea of how many are coming.
9) 3-4 weeks out- Order the cake, cookies, favors, etc. that someone else will be making or providing for you. 
10) 2 weeks out- Start getting supplies and decorations together. Make any items that can be done ahead of time (party favors, center pieces, etc.)

11) Week of the party- Start cleaning the house a little at a time and decorate if you can. Buy any supplies you still need. Start cooking ahead of time if possible. Buy the gift! 
12) Day before the party- Finish cleaning the house and decorating for the party. Get the table set and food bowls and platters ready so all you have to do before the party is put the food on the platters. Get all the games and activities out and ready to go.

13) Party Day- Spot clean the house. Dress everyone. Get the cameras ready. Put last minute touches on decorations. Hang balloons. Get food out on the table. 

Remember to HAVE FUN and go with the flow (especially if you are working with kids!). 

Here are links to all the Disney parties we have had:

This is a great checklist from Birthday in a Box to help you not forget a thing when preparing for your next party!

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