All posts tagged treasure hunt

Disney Day 4 and 5: Treasure Hunts

On the fourth day, Carter was asking if he could go back to Hollywood Studios since he decided not to do the Jedi Training, but had since changed his mind (this is a common occurrence for poor Carter). We had NO desire to go back to Hollywood Studios. We had spent very little time there and felt like we had done as much as we wanted. It’s for bigger kids and adults. The reason to go is for the Jedi training and the Star Wars toys. Also, we didn’t get park hoppers so we couldn’t do two parks in a day, nor would I want to.

Then, we found the Pirate Treasure Hunt over by Pirates of the Caribbean. This is exactly why Disney World is genius. I noticed this little sign over a little room that said, “Pirate Treasure Hunt”. There was no line and no one seemed to be using it. I thought Carter would like it. OMG – it was the BEST thing we found at Disney(besides the cake pops, obvs). If you have a 6 year old boy, you HAVE to do this.

So you go into the little room and they have 5 maps and an interactive screen. A person explains to your child that they need to touch their fast pass (that sounds wrong) to the symbol on the screen. When they do, it tells them which map to pick up. The maps are old looking and very cool.

the five treasure hunt maps

the five treasure hunt maps

Inside of one of the maps

Inside of one of the maps

The treasure hunt is only in Adventureland so you aren’t having to walk all over the park. It is mostly in the gift shops, of course (DISNEY. Always there for the money grab). All over the gift shops and the park there are trunks and baskets and boxes that look like they are just decoration to enhance the “Adventureland” feel. Most of them are part of the treasure hunt. The map tells you to find a symbol and gives you the general area where it is. It is not too hard and not too easy to find. Then Carter had to put his fast pass (they call it ‘talisman’. All of this sounds really dirty – haha) on the symbol. When he did we heard a magic sound (kind of like tinkerbell) and then at each location something would open up or happen. At one location, a canon fired across the way and rang a bell. At another, a basket popped open and a cobra snake (fake) pooped out. At one inside the gift shop, a laser hit something in the room on the other side of the wall then sounded a trumpet (or something). There were kids in that room doing the dress like a pirate thingy. They started singing “Oh a pirate’s life for me”, which I guess they had been told to do anytime that trumpet sounded. It was BRILLIANT. After the initial event, Jack Sparrow’s voice (or another character from pirates of the caribbean) would come on and tell you about the next clue.
One of the Treasure Hunt clue locations.

One of the Treasure Hunt clue locations.

We did three on day 4 and two on day 5. Carter went to bed talking about it and woke up talking about it. He forgot all about the Jedi training. Henry was not much into it, but he had some fun too. It took about two hours to do all five, but you never had to wait in line and it was so active. In the end, you find the treasure, but you don’t get to take anything with you. It’s the thrill of the chase, ya know.

The other thing we enjoyed on Day 4 was Tom Sawyer Island. When we first got on the little raft, Craig and I were like, “uh oh. how long does this last?” Carter and Henry loved it. It’s self guided so you can stay or leave whenever you like. There were so many boys over there beaming with excitement. They just explored the island.

My little explorer.

My little explorer.

There was a rope bridge, underground mine, a fort from the civil war and a hidden escape tunnel where I actually had to use my cell phone flash light because it was so dark.
The fort at Tom Sawyer Island

The fort at Tom Sawyer Island

Highly recommend this for 6 year old boys and younger. There is also a shaded area for a picnic lunch and it wasn’t crowded at all.
Henry rockin' a tank top

Henry rockin’ a tank top

OMG we went to Downtown Disney that night for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe – DO NOT DO THIS! OMG! BIG MISTAKE! HUGE! TRUST ME ON THIS ONE! They are doing construction at Downtown Disney and it is so difficult to get anywhere. Even if you took the bus, which is no fun, it would take forever. We were late. Everyone was hungry. The food was so so. It was expensive. The boys barely ate. we had to walk two miles to get back to our car. UGH! On the up side, I got this awesome shot.

People were loving this sight!

People were loving this sight!

Normally, I’m sure Downtown Disney is great. It seemed like lots of fun, but we just had to get out of there and get to sleep. Don’t go. Eat at the hotel or wherever. T Rex and Rainforest are not worth it.

Day 5 was a special event that only happens once a year: 24 hour Disney! They opened at 6am and didn’t close until 6 this next morning. For half a second, I thought we should get there at 6. I mean, we would be able to ride all of the rides with no waiting or fast pass. It wouldn’t be hot. We were leaving that day anyway. Then I realized that I didn’t want to get up that early. Also we had to pack. We got there at 8:30 and it was fine. We stocked up on cake pops and rice krispy treats for friends and ourselves. The one thing that irked me was the lady at the parasol booth. I had decided to buy a mini parasol for my god daughter. They are so cute. They paint your name on it with flowers or Disney characters. It’s adorable. I went to the booth at 10:30 and she said she could get it for my by 1. I told her we were leaving and she said “sorry”. Not very Disney. She had lots of other orders. So I asked if she could get it by 12. No dice. I felt like she could have done that. Whatever, just not a very shiny happy thing for our last day. But my god daughter would have probably destroyed that mini parasol in five minutes flat. Moral of the story, if you want a parasol, get it before your last day.

Coming up tomorrow: my tips for your next Disney trip!

Day 4!

Day 4!

Carter’s Magical 6th Birthday part 2- the Treasure Hunt

There are many ways to do a treasure hunt, but I will tell you what really worked for us and what was worth the effort. We started with a premise based on the theme of the birthday party, which was, unfortunately, “Super Buddies”. In our clues, we used characters from the movie, but you could easily co-opt our clues to work for any book/movie. Using Merlin or Morgan from “Magic Tree House” would be super easy.

We wrote clues that were easy enough for them to figure out and rhymed. Rhyming is not necessary, but it seems more fun. We staple gunned colored flags to trees in the nature preserve with notes stapled near them. For flags, I just used some old felt I had. Sometimes the clues just told them what color flag to find and sometimes it directed them to a location.

Here are some of the key elements that made our treasure hunt a hit!
1. KEYS and LOCKS – OMG – 6 year olds LOVE keys and locks.
One thing that was CRUCIAL to their enjoyment was for them to find little prizes along the way. Make sure everyone gets the same thing though, or you may have problems. The first “prize” they found was a box of necklaces, one for each child. The Rings of Inspiron are from the “Super Buddies” movie, but you could call them “the rings of truth” or “the rings of the imagination” or something awesome (ha) like that. I got the idea from Club Chica Circle. I bought one small washer for each child from the hardware store. I painted them each a different color of nail polish and tied them to some string (my string was crappy. Use shoe laces or something that will hold a knot well). Next they found magic keys. We painted each key to coordinate with the necklaces. We also had to paint the mini brass locks (which came with the keys. explanation to follow) to match so they would know which key opened which lock. Save yourself some money and buy these from Amazon . We did everything so last minute that we had to spend a little more. Here’s what they look like

Ring of Inspiron, magic key/lock

Ring of Inspiron, magic key/lock

2. Make something invisible reappear
We started with a note from Cleocatra (ugh -that’s her name in the “Super Buddies” movie). It said that she had hidden gifts for all of Carter’s friends in a magic trunk that is invisible(six year olds LOVE invisible things). To find the trunk, they had to first find the “Rings of Inspiron” (the necklaces I wrote about above), the magic keys and most importantly, they had to work together.

Cleocatra's note

Cleocatra’s note

While they were pinning the tail on the donkey, I ran up and said that the UPS truck just delivered a message. It was a long scroll where Craig had hand written the note from Cleocatra (again – UGH to her name). We barely had time to grab the tools and put on our rainboots before they were literally running to the nature preserve.

Running to the treasure hunt!

Running to the treasure hunt!

3. The Clues: Have some real challenges in there, but not too challenging.
The first clue led them to a bag of tools in our yard. We debated on what to use as tools. We ended up just putting shovels (mostly plastic) in there. Initially, we were going to have a different tool for each child so they would each have a special task to do. But it was way too time consuming. We were also worried that they would fight over who got the best tool. Honestly, I do think it would be cool to give them all something different, if you have the time to come up with the items. We were going to do invisible ink. The tool would be a highlighter. We would write the clue on paper with white crayon and then use they highlighter to uncover the message.

The clues

The clues

The first clue led to the tools:

To get the tools in your hand
Go to the box that’s filled with sand

The second clue led them to a card with the word “blue” on it.

Clear the muddy pass and stand on wood
Look for the rope and pull it up good

There was a huge mud pit in front of the bridge on the path (“AWESOME!”- said every 6 year old boy ever). The note was tied to a string and hanging from the bridge. They actually didn’t get this one on their own, but it was the first one so that made sense.
The third clue was stapled to the tree with the blue flag. It said:

Follow this path of blue
Something orange awaits you

that way!

that way!

The fourth clue was stapled to the tree with the orange flag. It said:

My wonderful prize is within reach
You must go toward the beach
But be alert on Carter’s big day
For other clues along the way

The fifth clue was in the middle of this area with a low canopy. So we hung an arrow on a card so they would run into it. Then we placed an old timey looking suitcase nearby with the rings of inspiron in it.

Because it is his special day
The birthday boy gets to say
Which color ring he wants today
Don’t worry, each color ring is great
To get the trunk, cooperate
And you will soon uncover your fate!

You don’t have to be a poet to rhyme; as is evidenced by that clue.

The sixth clue was stapled to a tree outside of the beach area with a flag. It said:

You found the rings in the trees
Go to the beach to get the keys
Use the tools to uncover my plot
It’s really easy, “x” marks the spot.

Here is where they got to use their tools (shovels). They would have all been digging like crazy, except we didn’t bury the box deep enough. Definitely bury it well. They will love digging. Inside this box, were the keys painted to match their necklaces and the next clue.

Good work! Your sharing is paying off
Head back to the bridge and all will be clear
What once was invisible, now will appear
But don’t forget, watch for clues
You’re so close now, work as a team and you can’t lose.

The meter of your poetry doesn’t have to make sense, like Walt Whitman’s.

It was a long way back to the bridge, so we stapled a few flags up with colors written on the cards and one last clue:

almost there go to the start
Your kindness really warms my heart

Reading a clue

Reading a clue

Finally, they got to the bridge. We called my step dad a little bit after we started and he carried the trunk to the edge of the bridge where we entered. When they turned the corner and saw it, their heads nearly exploded. We had put all 8 of the mini locks on the trunk. So each child had to use their key to open it (working together! and everyone got a turn). When they opened it up, some balloons popped out and there was a kite for each child (you could definitely make this part more exciting than we did). I thought it was a great favor, but (as you can see in the photo) it seemed like they would have preferred something like a crappy plastic coin or whatever. Pearls to swine.
The trunk magically appeared!

The trunk magically appeared!

4. Give the birthday boy/girl something special
I wanted Carter to feel special since he was the birthday boy. So I put a little baggie in the trunk with a message written in gold pen. Inside the baggie was a mood ring that I just happened to have (I have no idea where I got it. It probably is a magical ring and I have now given all of my magic to a 6 year old boy who will most likely wish for a magical, metal flying machine that makes pancakes). The message said it was “the ring of truth” and that it was for the birthday boy. He LOVES it and always has it with him now. It definitely made him feel special.DSC_2690

Now go out and make your own treasure hunt! The more clues you have, the more time you’ll kill. It’s a great way to get the kids outside and active!

Treasure hunt = fun

Treasure hunt = fun

Carter’s magical 6th birthday

Carter's party

Carter’s party

I love planning my kid’s birthday parties, but I was so scared of Carter’s 6th birthday. Instead of having a big blow out with all the kids in his class, he wanted a small affair. Good! At first, he wanted the theme to be “Magic Tree House” and I was doing back flips all over the house. Pinterest is littered with ideas for MTH. Plus it’s about a book so maybe people will think we don’t watch TV. hahaha. I started planning that night.

A week later, he changed his mind. We finished all of the tree house books and he just lost interest. He wanted the theme to be based on this series of Disney movies about a bunch of cute yellow labs called, “Super Buddies” (Air Buddies, Santa Buddies, etc.) It’s cute, but not nearly as fun as MTH. I was majorly disappointed, but tried not to show it (unless he noticed the single tear rolling down my cheek).

Normally, I start making decorations and planning two months in advance. It was a week before the party, I hadn’t really done much of anything. I pulled some pictures from the Disney site and printed them out, but I didn’t make any party circles or cute tags with his name on them. I just wasn’t into it. Worse, I didn’t know what we were going to do with eight 6 year olds for two and a half hours. Carter wanted to have a sack race and play pin the tail on the donkey (because he should have been born in 1954), but that would kill maybe 15 minutes and I was pretty terrified that half of them wouldn’t be into it.

Then I had a brilliant idea. We live two houses away from this amazing nature preserve. So, I decided to have a treasure hunt! Literally, three days before the party we decided this. So Craig and I started planning it out. We came up with a scenario based on the movie that was pretty elaborate. My next post will break down exactly how we did it. Want to know how it went? Well, one child said (and I quote) “this is the best day of my life”. So, I’d say it was pretty effing amazing!

The rest of the party was great too. It was a beautiful day. DSC_2487We started out with the kids having a sack race, egg race and pin the tail on the donkey – just as Carter wanted.

I did end up making a few decorations .

For the first time since Carter’s first birthday, I did not make his cake. It was such a load off not to make it, but I was still kinda sad. He really doesn’t like cake though. He only wanted ice cream. So we got a Baskin Robbins cake. Let me tell you, I have literally saved my family $250 by baking the cake for five years (birthday cakes are EXPENSIVE). I do what I can. Here it is. I made the little bunting on it

Stay tuned for my next post with all the details on the treasure hunt. I highly recommend having an outdoor treasure hunt for a 6 year old’s party. It is the PERFECT age (though I think older would be fine too). Find out the dos and don’ts of a treausure hunt in my next post so you can create your own!