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FashionEarsta’s guide to giving the gift of Disney memories (and what to put under the tree to represent the present)!
Is your holiday ethos “give the gift of memories”? Even though Disney World generally feels pretty souvenir-heavy, there’s still plenty of off-the-beaten-path ways to make unique Disney memories on your next trip!
I personally know people who have done each of these Enchanting Extras at Disney and can vouch for how fun they can be! So if you have a Disney trip in the planning stage (or if you just need a last-minute gift), check out these ideas for how to give the best gift for Disney lovers: magical memories!
Experiences for Horse Girls (of all ages)
I was a HUGE horse girl growing up, and one of my favorite Disney memories as a child was taking a private horseback riding lesson at Disney World! My mom was very confused about how excited I was, but it was truly one of my favorite gifts ever!
You can still capture that horsey magic at Disney World no matter your age – the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and other Disney resorts have options to get you in the saddle (or in the carriage) with Disney’s equine cast members!
For the littlest cowgirls and cowboys (at least 2 years of age, under 80 pounds, no taller than 48 inches and able to hang on by themselves) the Tri-Circle-D Ranch offers pony rides every day! For $8 your little can climb on a Disney pony – definitely something to remember! Rides are offered at the ranch every day on a walk-up basis and a parent or guardian must lead the pony at all times.
If they’re over 9, why not take them on a family trail ride?
Guests 9 years of age and up can ride through an idyllic woodland teeming with deer, ducks, armadillos and rabbits. Perfect for beginner and intermediate riders, trail rides are a relaxing way to explore the natural beauty surrounding The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
These 45-minute horseback trail rides are $55 per person and are an amazing way to see the lesser-known side of the Disney World resort area!
If you don’t want to actually get in the saddle, Disney offers horse-drawn carriage rides at both the Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans: Riverside resorts! These 25-minute rides cost $55 and are perfect for families or even a romantic couples’ evening!
So how do you “wrap” this experience to put it under the tree? Little cowgirls would love to unwrap and play with their own “stable” until it’s time to visit the real one at Disney. Older horse girls will appreciate a cute shirt or classy bangle that celebrate Disney’s equine friends!
Experience a Tequila Tasting inside the Mexico Pavilion
Know someone who is a tequila connoisseur (or who really loves Margaritas and Mexican food?) The Cava de Tequila bar inside Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, famous for their Avocado Margarita, has a unique tequila tasting experience that combines Disney and booze! La Cava Experience, which costs $150 per person and can be booked for up to 14 people, is a fun and little-known experience that might be the best gift for Disney lovers who are Dads or even freshly-turned 21!
As described by the Disney World website:
Embark on a magical journey to the region of Mexico where tequila was born. This experience—rich in culture and tradition—is a showcase for some of the finest tequila in the world.
A certified Tequila Ambassador guides you through a selection of rare and unique agave spirits. Each spirit is paired with a flavor meant to enhance its essence. Some tequilas are exclusive to the La Cava Experience and are not available anywhere else in the world.
If you are looking to enhance and broaden your agave spirits knowledge, your adventure awaits!Disney
So how do you “wrap” this experience? Gift some shot glasses with the promise that after La Cava Experience they’ll know exactly what to put in them! Or Amazon sells The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe Book, which has the recipe for La Cava de Tequila’s Avocado Margarita for after they learn more about tequila!
Give the Gift of a Private Disney Photo Shoot!
Will someone you love be celebrating a birthday, engagement, graduation, baby or… anything during your next Disney vacation? You can book them a private photo shoot at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom parks with a Capture Your Moment experience! Each 20 minute photo session with a PhotoPass photographer costs $50 and can accommodate up to 8 people. You can also book back-to-back photo sessions for more time and photo locations if you like!
We’ve had friends use their sessions to capture Christmas Card photos, baby announcements, Dapper Day outfit pictures, RunDisney medal photos, and even “just because!” (The only thing prohibited is full wedding attire, but you can definitely get away with bridal Minnie ears.) This is one of the most versatile and relatively affordable experiences you can find inside a Disney park and is guaranteed to make the recipient feel like a prince or princess!
How to “wrap” this experience? We’d definitely gift special headgear to commemorate the special occasion or event being captured! For photo shoots with the littles, a chalkboard or sign board with their age or occasion is a great prop to bring. Or if you’re celebrating as a family, matching Disney shirts for your photoshoot are a must!
Experiences for Non-Park Days
Disney Springs has a ton of interesting ways to make memories on days that your family doesn’t have theme park tickets. From their more traditional options like bowling at Splitsville or dining at one of their many restaurants to unique experiences like Disney’s exclusive Cirque du Soleil show Drawn to Life, there’s plenty to do at the Springs.
My two favorite standout experiences are super unique! The Vintage Amphicar Tours at the Boathouse Restaurant are fun for families – your driver literally drives your convertible straight into the water to start your tour! A crowd always gathers to watch the amphicars set sail, and it’s a memorable experience for families with kids! A 20-minute tour costs $125 for up to 4 people, and we recommend grabbing food and drinks at the amazing restaurant after you’re finished!
For more daring adventurers, Disney Springs’ iconic Aerophile balloon offers trips high into the sky over Disney World! This 8 minute ride is not for the faint of heart, but will definitely be something they talk about for ages. Children ages 3-9 ride for $20 and adult tickets are $25 (tickets sold first-come, first-serve at the attraction).
How to wrap these adventurous experiences? How about adventure-themed gifts that capture the spirit of exploring the skies or waters?
The Ultimate Disney Family Experience: a Private VIP Tour
Disney aficionados know that the ultimate bucket-list Disney experience is probably taking a Private VIP Tour at Walt Disney World. If you’ve ever seen a group of people led by a plaid-uniformed Cast Member skipping right to the front of a huge line, you’ve seen just one of the perks of these tours! Guests on a private tour are picked up in private transportation, escorted to the front of the line, taken backstage, escorted to VIP fireworks seating, and more! I’ve even seen VIP tour cast members babysitting infants (and balloons) in strollers while the rest of the family went on Splash Mountain!
Of course, this ultimate experience comes with the ultimate price tag: tours run from $425 to $850 per hour, depending on the season (valid park admission is required for each park visited on tour and is not included in the price of the tour) and must be booked for a minimum of 7 hours. That’s $3000 minimum, not including the price of park tickets! BUT you can have up to 10 guests on your tour, so splitting the cost between multiple friends or families makes it a bit more palatable. And everyone that I’ve talked to who has taken a tour has said that it was their favorite Disney experience!
So how to “wrap” this gift? Play up the very recognizable plaid print and give the gift of matching ears and/or face masks! Hardcore Disney fans will immediately recognize what that plaid signifies, and everyone else will still appreciate looking fashionable during the tour itself!
Have more people on your shopping list? Check out our other gift guides, like this one featuring the best of the Amazon toy gift guide!
Do you have a favorite experience as a gift? You can follow us on our Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram pages so that you’re always in the loop and can follow along with our adventures!
Pixie dust and glamour!
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