I was incredulous. I was spending my entire tax return on a vacation for my kids and the suggestion is to spend more money to give my kids...more? Uh, I don't think so. That seems to be a perfect formula for raising entitled children.
A few days later I was going through a box of hand-me-down clothes for my girls given to me by a neighbor. In the box was a Minnie Mouse nightgown. I wondered if having Minnie Mouse on Ash's night clothes would somehow make her excited to go to bed. And then I thought that I really needed her to be excited to go to bed while we were on our vacation. And then: lightbulb.
Over the next year I saved all the Disney Pajamas people gave us as hand me-downs. With a few weeks to go until Disney, I had four pajamas for Ash, but only three for Alexa. Nana bought her a brand new set and I admit I splurged when I saw some darling Disney pajama on clearance at Ross. In the end I had four Pajamas for each girl.
I printed off copies of a letter to Mousekeeping, one to leave on each of the four days:
Dear Mousekeeping, Thank you so much for cleaning our room! We really, really appreciate the work you do, especially me - as the mom. Because you do the chores I can truly enjoy my vacation! You are actually the highlight of my trip!
Would you mind leaving out these little “Tinkerbell Gifts” for my daughters? They are just Disney Pajamas; one for my 1 year old and one for my 4 year old. It’s our first time at Disney (any Disney park) and I want to make sure they are just as excited about sleeping as they are about playing in the parks. Please feel free to set them up or display them however you want. Thank you ever so much!
I printed them with a little picture:
And of course I brought enough cash to leave a tip along with my note every day.
Lastly, we brought Stitch with us. I think they are called Tinkerbell gifts because you are supposed to bring a Tinkerbell whom they pose with the gifts, but Stitch (also and hand-me-down) is better than Tinkerbell.
Our schedule at Disney World was kid-friendly: We made it to the opening of the park in the morning and rode a few rides before any lines formed. We then used our Fastpasses to avoid more lines. By then it would be between noon and one and we would leave the park, go back to our hotel, and take naps.
When we walked in the door, we would find scenes such as this:
Our beds were made, our room was cleaned, the pajamas were laid out, and Stitch got a hold of of one of Ash's book and was apparently teaching himself to read.
Ash LOVED it. She loved her "new" pajamas. As soon as she saw them she would strip off her clothes and get dressed in her new pajamas that Stitch has left her. It was only nap time, but, hey! Sleep is sleep! She took a nap every single day, so we must have done something right!
After naps we would either go swimming, play around our hotel, or go back to the parks for a a few hours. Once we got back to our room for Bedtime, Ash would be her usual, reluctant-to-go-to-bed self. One reminder about her new pajamas and she would jump right in the bath, eager to wear her Disney Pajamas.
I wish I could say it worked just as well on Alexa, but she is only one. I think the whole experience was a little over her head. I have no doubt she won't have any memories of this trip. Which is good, in a way. If we ever go back to a Disney park I don't want her to expect new pajamas every night. I can only raise one entitled daughter at a time.