Making Our Lists and Checking Them Twiceby Adrienne Krock, staff writer
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Hanukkah have come and gone. Have you finished your shopping and gift-giving yet? This week, we asked our Parenting Panel: Holiday Shopping: What Disney items are on your wish lists or shopping lists this year?
MousePlanet columnist Chris Barry, his wife Diane, 14-year-old Samantha, and twin 11-year-olds, Casey and Alex, live on Long Island and are all major Disney and Walt Disney World fans. Chris writes:
The twin 11-year-old boys are the ones with Disney still on their Christmas lists this year. The 14-year-old daughter’s desire for Disney stuff has waned quite a bit. If we are able to find her some cool piece of Disney clothing, she’d be happy, but the toy days are certainly long gone. So, no more Disney Princess toys in this house. The boys started off their wish list with a Nintendo Wii U and circled it in black magic marker and then starred it more than 30 times. They’re very subtle. They have the original Nintendo Wii already. Come to think of it…I always forget…the Wii is actually mine! My wife gave it to her biggest kid (that’s me) several years ago. It’s time for an upgrade though and the big game they’re looking for is…Disney Infinity.
We already have Disney Infinity for the original Nintendo Wii system, but the Wii U version can do different things and they are really hoping for this to be underneath the tree this year. In case you don’t know, Disney Infinity is quite the rage with the kids and it’s quite a marketing stroke of genius. Essentially a Disney-fied version of Skylanders, I covered it in a Disney Stuff article here back in August. Simply put, you get a portal device that is connected to the game console. You can buy different action figure-size Disney characters and, when you place them on the portal device, they are “imported” into the game. It literally is the gift that keeps on giving. Actually, it’s the gift that makes you keep on purchasing!
Disney released a first wave of figures when the game was launched. In the last week or so, just in time for Christmas list creation, they have released the second wave. Now we can look forward to playing with Buzz, Woody and Jessie from the Toy Story franchise, Elsa and Ana from Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz, Sorcerer Mickey (which I’m really looking forward to), Phineas and Perry from Phineas and Ferb, and Rapunzel from Tangled. Each one of those figures is on their list, so we can spread the wealth to uncles, aunts, grandparents and other elves that see their way fit to bring my guys some toys. It is a fun game though and very open ended and creative, so I’m all for it.
Other than Disney Infinity, they do have some other Disney items on their list, although they are a little vague. They’re requesting Toy Story toys and Disney toys. Talk about open ended! There are so many things that fit into that category, but if I know my boys they are looking for what they have always referred to as “guys.” “Guys” are action figures or small PVC figures that have been the center of their toy universe for years. A closet full of toys, and all they ever play with are their “guys.” So, Santa and his elves better find some Disney “guys” that they don’t already have.
There’s always a new addition to the Disney figure universe. Plus, with a bona fide Disney toy fiend as their old man, I’ll have no problem hunting for some unique Disney figures to add to their collection. So, once again, in this house it looks like Disney video games and Disney “guys” are on the wish list. Then there’s my list…but that’s a whole other article isn’t it?
Mary Kraemer is an avid Disney fan and travel consultant with CruisingCo/MouseEarVacations who loves to travel with her husband and children to Disney destinations as often as possible. Mary writes:
Now that three of my four kids are adults, and only one remains a teenager for a very short while, the magic and surprise of Santa has changed our Christmases. So, instead of talking about my own family’s Disney gift-giving, I’d like to talk about some clients who are surprising their children this holiday season.
About two months ago, a local mom contacted me to book a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. The family has been to Disneyland several times, but they wanted something very special for their daughter’s birthday on Christmas Eve, as well as to celebrate the holidays together. I just received their travel documents and am going to send them to the mom’s office so nothing "suspicious" arrives in the mail at their home.
On the birthday girl’s big day, her parents are pretending to go out to breakfast to celebrate, but they are driving to the airport! All the bags will be packed and in the car. Can you imagine how exciting that will be for their daughter?
Because of the dining reservation change policy just after these folks booked their trip, they have reservations for the Tomorrowland Terrace dessert buffet on Christmas to see the fireworks over Cinderella Castle. Incredibly magical!
I have other clients who are surprising their children with a Disney Cruise vacation as their gift on Christmas. They have purchased "clue gifts" for the kids: snorkel mask and fins, sunglasses, beach towels, and the box containing the Captain Mickey plush doll will have a note that they are going on the cruise!
Personally, I like the idea of giving a magical experience even more than giving "stuff," because those experiences are the things that bond families together and create amazing memories. Having had more than our share of fancy toys and other things that entertained my kids for a little while and then were forgotten, being together and sharing magic is an amazing gift for everyone in the family, and it never grows old or gets worn out!
Chris, also known as GusMan, is always planning his next family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort and loves to help others plan their trips, as well sharing his experiences. Chris writes:
Since our family is definitely a Disney family, our holidays are filled with Disney décor. From a Monorail that will circle the tree, to different seasonal tidbits that show Mickey and Minnie in their holiday best, there is no doubt about our obsession. Our gifting does not differ all that much as well. However, as the different wish lists changes from toys to other more “grown up” requests, it can be tricky to maintain such a theme.
This year, our main gift for the kids, as well as the whole family, includes a Disney Infinity set. I know my son and I have been really eager to play this game since it came out a couple months ago. Since then, we have been buying different figures for the game a few at a time to help spread out the expenses. I think we have pretty much every character – or at least the ones that I know my kids would enjoy.
My wife is getting a Disney-themed Dooney and Bourke handbag that I managed to get on sale from the Disney Store. I think she suspects my selection, but hopefully I can get it wrapped before she accidentally runs into it. (I am the worst present hider.) My daughter is also getting a small D&B bag, as well, as they had a special during one of my purchases.
My son also wanted a huge Perry the Platypus as he is a big fan. I managed to score one of these funny-looking creatures on Black Friday. I think he is going to like it since I saw him giving the same Perry a big hug during a recent visit to our local Disney Store. I can picture him now leaning up against Perry while reading a book or playing with his iPod.
I think my wife is getting me some sort of Disney-produced movie. I can’t be too sure, but I have my suspicions. A bag was sitting on the table the other day with the distinct outline of a Blu-Ray case. I did drop a hint for a small Olaf plush from the movie Frozen, since I do have a collection of some of the different movie characters in my office.
Granted, presents under the tree are a small part of the holiday season. For us, it’s about family, friends, and togetherness. I’m sure that for each Disney-related present opened, there will be a story or a memory brought up related to our Disney journeys. Regardless, spending time with my family will be the best gift of all… while I’m wearing my new Mickey sweatshirt.
Parenting in the Parks columnist Adrienne Krock’s three boys are now 15, 12, and 9. They’ve been visiting the Disneyland Resort since they were each just weeks old and Annual Passholders since their 3rd birthdays.Adrienne writes:
My Disney list this year is simple but fun: Hats and Games.
On our recent visits to Disneyland, our boys all found hats they adore. A friend promptly informed me that I had no vote in the matter, she bought them for the boys for early Christmas gifts. OK, then! These particular hats resemble knit “toques,” perfect for keeping their heads warm. If you ask me the best thing about these knit hats, I’ll tell you: These are styles the kids will wear outside the theme parks. I can’t say that they wear their ears much around town, but they sure wear these hats in the cool mornings. They plan to pack them for camping, too, and I know they will! At the Disneyland Resort, they sell several styles designed after characters, including some of my boys’ favorites: Chip, Dale and Perry the Platypus. My 15 year old found a knit hat of Yoda wearing Mickey ears, perfect for him!
Disney-themed board games top my Disney wish list this year. I hope Santa will leave some of those under our tree. My boys enjoy playing Apples to Apples, so I want the Disney version. I saw Disney Beat the Parents at a local store with a bullseye—taunting me on sale, no less—too. With the wide age range in my family, that sounds like a fun trivia game we can enjoy together. I spied a Disney version of Trivial Pursuit, too. Decisions, decisions! I wonder if Santa might bring a Disney version of Just Dance for our Wii system. I love games that get the whole family involved together and the kids like to laugh at their parents. Actually, let’s face it—the kids love to out-score their parents on the Wii.
With my eldest taller than me and scoping out colleges, I need to cling to any family time we have left!
It's your turn—keep the discussion flowing!
Visit the Parenting in the Parks forum on our MousePad discussion board, and share your opinions about this topic or many others, or send your suggestions via e-mail. Reader-submitted tips might be used in a future article, and you might be selected to participate in an upcoming panel discussion!