For most families, planning for a Disney World vacation starts months in advance.
But, while the wait may be tough, there are lots of ways that you can make it fun.
Here’s some of our favorite ideas for counting down the days before your next Disney World vacation.
Things to consider:
- You don’t have to do anything elaborate or fancy. The ideas below cover a wide-range of skills and time. Use them for inspiration!
- It can be tough for little ones to gauge time, so keep that in mind when deciding how far in advance to start your countdown.
- If you need some craft supplies to complete a project, both Joann’s and Michael’s offer curbside pickup. Amazon is another great source, too.
- If you prefer to buy something than make something, Etsy is a great place to find crafty pre-made countdowns.
- Thinking of surprising somebody with a Disney World trip? If you aren’t leaving right away, a countdown is a great way to keep the excitement building!
Disney Countdown Calendar DIY
We asked WDW Prep School readers to share some of their favorite countdown calendars.
In all honesty, we were totally blown away with the creativity.
You can use the ideas below for inspiration for creating your own countdown, but if you are struggling with the how-to, we have a bunch of resources on our Pinterest Countdown board (and don’t forget to give us a follow when you’re over there).
Christy Williams sent us this fun idea. She used balloons to represent the days until the trip, but instead of the Up house, she used a pic of Cinderella Castle.
Ashley Watkins sent us this bright idea:
“We make a countdown castle with blue painters tape! Every day for 30 days before we go they get a surprise character to add to the countdown.”
Re-purpose what you have
Lauri Suben got super creative by re-using her Christmas advent calendar for a Disney countdown:
“We were headed to Disney World for Halloween in 2018.
I turned my Christmas advent calendar into a Disney World countdown by covering up each door with Disney pictures!
Each morning, my 3 kids would open a door, and a piece of paper inside told them what that day’s activity was. Some examples of activities were:
– Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt
– Disney Game Night (Disney Apples to Apples, Eye Found It, Headbanz, etc.)
– Clean pennies for pressing
– Hocus Pocus movie night, with spellbook brownies
– Make Jungle Juice (aka POG juice)
– Choose a decal on Etsy for your Magic Band
The kids (and my husband and I) had such a blast the whole 25 days leading up to our trip! I hope this idea can inspire someone else.”
Kim Crichton-Struthers made some adorable countdown chains. If you have multiple kiddos, these would be easy (and cheap!) to customize for each one.
Katie Nelson also got creative with countdown chains:
“My daughter and I (she had just turned 5 at the time) made paper chain Disney characters and we took one link off every day until our trip. The characters from left to right are Tinkerbell, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, and Elsa.”
And Samantha and Mikaela created an entire countdown chain party!
- Winnie the Pooh
- Buzz Lightyear
- Sleeping Beauty
- Snow White
Lots of people also use the days leading up to a trip to save up some extra pocket money for all those Mickey Bars.
Tricia Derbyshire combined the 2 with this super cute jar.
Bunches of inspiration
Brittany Payne came through strong with a bunch of different ideas:
“I used my Silhouette Cameo for this one, but we made a monorail with the days remaining and moved it each day closer to the castle.”
Muffin Tin Countdown
“I cut a sheet of paper into squares and wrote down different Disney activities we could do each day.
Then, I cut circles out and attached ‘parts of Mickey’ to each one with a number (1-24).
Using a 24 count muffin tin, I folded up the squares and put them in there.
Then I used double sided tape to attach each circle to the muffin tin.
We opened one each day and did said activity!”
Picture frame countdown
“I printed ‘days until Disney’ and put it into a frame. Then each day I updated how many days were remaining.”
Mickey Head countdown
“This countdown was made with Styrofoam circles wrapped in black yarn and then attached together making a Mickey head. I attached the letters using Velcro and updated the numbers each day.”
Keep it bright
Love how bright and festive Mellysa Caamano’s countdown looks:
“For our countdown I used paint swatches cut into Mickey heads with Disney activities on the back of each day.”
“Then we used Velcro dots to hold them to the poster board.”
Counting down with a twist
Alison Walters-Short shared some tips on how to use the act of counting down to a trip as a way to share important information:
“We took our three college students last year, the last time their spring breaks would line up before any of them graduated.
While we didn’t do a long-term countdown, we did give them more information close to the trip itself – they hadn’t been in several years and a lot changed during that time!
We especially wanted to give them info ahead of time since one was flying directly from college, and the other two would have fast turnarounds between coming home and leaving for WDW.
Here are the subject lines of the emails we sent them. (The one completely masked-out one was technically not WDW-related, just something we wanted them to take care of around the same time.)”
Use a Facebook group
Another way to countdown to a trip and share information with people that are spread out in different houses is by using Facebook groups.
Just create a group (don’t forget to make it private) and invite all the travelers to join it.
Then, you can post tips, suggested reading (**cough** like WDW Prep School **cough**) and countdowns:
Print and go
If you’re looking for something you can just print and go, Disney has you covered!
They even have a holiday version:
Just jump over to this post on the Disney Parks Blog for step-by-step instructions and links to the free downloads.
Other ways to countdown the days
Plan Disney movie nights where you get caught up on all the essential Disney flicks.
Use our ideas on how to enjoy Disney World at home to pass the time.
Get ready for your trip by doing Disney-themed crafts like making these cute Disney luggage tags:
or these Mousekeeping envelopes:
The following products and services give us a commission on sales.
Get our free Quick Start Guide
Have our guide delivered right to your inbox with our 6-step Disney World planning process to make it less overwhelming. Snag our free guide ➡️
Take our course
Check out our course that will help you learn all about Walt Disney World planning with dozens of videos and downloadables for each step along the way. Get access now ➡️
Our recommend travel agency
We partner with Small World Vacations, Diamond Level Authorized Disney Vacations Planners in business since 1996. Get a quote now ➡️
Want to stay deluxe on a moderate budget?
It’s 1 of our top fave ways to save! By renting DVC points, you can stay in deluxe accommodations for a fraction of the price. Check availability ➡️
Private car service
Quicksilver Tours will transport you in style. They assist with luggage at the airport, provide car seats, and include a free grocery stop. Book your car ➡️
Need a stroller, wheelchair, or scooter?
Buena Vista Scooters is a company with a great reputation who offers in-person resort drop off and pick up of strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs. Book your rental ➡️
- 2023 Epcot Holiday Cookie Stroll (Festival of the Holidays) - November 30, 2023
- Epcot updates: what’s still coming (and what isn’t) - November 30, 2023
- 2023 Epcot Festival of the Holidays: Guide to Storytellers & Entertainment (Including Santa) - November 29, 2023