Growing up, I was a huge fan of the themed birthday party. Hawaiian luaus, 50’s sock hops, even a pirate party for my sweet 16. A themed party adds that extra element of fantasy and fun that kids of all ages like to be a part of. Why just be a birthday boy or girl, when you could be a Space Ranger or a carpet-riding princess? Throwing a magical themed party is easier than you think. Besides the much needed faith, trust, and pixie dust, a great theme will lend itself to a great party. To show you what I mean, I’ll use the movie that inspired the name of my blog, The Little Mermaid, and my Disney World vacation planning expertise to plan the perfect Under the Sea birthday party.
Step 1: Plan Ahead
If you have ever been to Disney World or Disneyland, you will know that having a game plan ahead of time will save you from hours in line, potential arguments, unnecessary mileage, and money. Just like a vacation is a big event, so is your child’s birthday, and so taking time to plan out details will help in the long run.
For my Under the Sea themed birthday party, I have planned some activities to do so kids don’t get bored, but also keep with the theme of the party. I planned a Thingamabob scavenger hunt where kids will look for items seen in Ariel’s undersea cave like silverware, wine corks, buttons, bottles, frames, and books. And the total cost of all this scavenger hunting fun for your bundles of joy: $0. You already have the kind of junk that Ariel collects sitting around in your attics and junk drawers.
I also planned a “find your voice sing-a-long” to the songs of the Little Mermaid. Youtube is full of karaoke style videos or sing-a-long videos with the words included.
Part of what makes Disney World more magical than other theme parks is their incredible attention to detail. They take a theme and run with it, from the queue lines, to the ride vehicles, to the gift shops after. Your child’s birthday party will be extra special if you can create an immersive theme from beginning to end.
I love snacks and goodies, so my Under Sea birthday party has a table full of themed foods, complete with nautical decorations like pearls, clam shells, netting, and sand. For the birthday cake, I wanted to go with something that resembled the scales of a mermaids tail, using teals, greens, and some purple to pull off the mermaid vibe. Curious how to make your dining room or living room feel like an ocean? Buy some light blue or teal plastic table cloths (They’re a dollar each at Walmart) and cover the room (ceiling too).
Also, to save some money, there’s nothing wrong with sending out an email to your friends, family, and coworkers. Why buy a bag of seashells when one of your relatives just got back from Cape Cod with 300 shells that he’ll willingly lend you for the day? Does collecting all this stuff ahead of time feel like too much hard work? Include your child in the entire process. Now the party is also teaching your kid to plan ahead, and use the resources around her.
Step 3: Flexibility
As much as planning ahead is necessary to have a good time at Disney World, being flexible with those plans will make sure no one’s day is ruined because things didn’t go their way. Long wait times, missing the parade, or deciding to take some extra breaks are all things you might encounter at Disney, so it’s best to go with the flow.
A birthday party is no different. Just because I planned some activities and had a tentative agenda of when gifts would be opened and cake would be served, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be flexible if everyone would rather watch a movie or play with sidewalk chalk outside. Plans can change and that doesn’t means your guests will have any less fun.
I have talked about this in one of my blogs, knowing when is a good time to take a picture and when is a good time to put the iphone down and just look up at the fireworks instead of finding the firework setting on your camera. The thing is everyone thinks they are going to look at these pictures but to be honest, pictures with people matter more than any beautiful landscape or castle you will ever snap.
I believe the same rules apply to your kids birthday party. Take a picture of them dressed up, with their cake, maybe opening a few gifts or with their friends, but then put the camera down and just experience the wonderful day with them, being totally present in the moment. The memories you will have from this day will last forever.
So now you can be the envy of all your child’s friend’s parents. They will ask you how you put on such a fabulous themed party. The first things you can tell them is you purchased beautiful Disney inspired invitations from Paperless Post or any of their other wonderful invitations. Then you simply had to get a little creative with details, decorations, and food. Lastly, you can tell them that seeing your child so happy, surrounded by family and friends will be something you will never forget.