Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Have a Very Cheap Disney Princess Party

DISCLAIMER: Since Byron reminded me that my blog is about sustainability, I thought I should warn you that this entry is not about sustainability, per se. I was thinking, however, that I’d like to share some simple, inexpensive, but fun party ideas for children. If you would prefer to look at pictures of wild turkeys instead, click here. One will hopefully become our Thanksgiving dinner.

This past year, Akea has been very interested in learning about and re-enacting the lives and loves of the Disney Princesses. Whether she’s “swimming” on the bed with one of my sweaters wrapped around her legs as a makeshift mermaid tail, or taking an old, bald baby doll and dubbing it “Dopey” of the Snow White saga, the princesses have been all the rage. So it would follow that for her birthday, she requested a Disney Princess party.

Now I must say that party-throwing is not my thing. Even though our parties are small, somehow the thought of feeding and entertaining multiple little people intimidates me. There are easy ways to do it, such as renting one of those jumpy places with the blow-up slides and letting the kids have at it, but such luxuries are not in our budget. So my children’s parties are at the mercy of their mother’s wits.

Leading up to the big day, I visited a big box store in order to acquire some Disney Princess paraphernalia. Although the princesses grinned sheepishly at me from many plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, favors, and other merchandise, I limited myself to buying a pack of plates, invitations, and stickers (for party favors). I think that was around $5. Since I needed more plates than the eight in the package, I bought some matching generic pink plates, napkins, and cups. What I do is put the plates together before the party in an alternating fashion: pricey Disney Princess plate, cheap generic plate, pricey Disney Princess plate, cheap generic plate, etc. In the past I’ve done this with napkins and cups, too, but this year that money has been funneled to the Termite Damage Repair Fund, and in the end, no one will notice or care until they read this blog.

Next up: activities. I go for the generic party games because at this age (Akea turned 6), kids actually enjoy that sort of thing. But I do them with a twist…a Disney Princess twist. First up is Pin the Crown on the Princess, since pinning a tail on the princess would only be funny to the boys. I picked an unsuspecting princess (Sleeping Beauty), found a picture of her, and borrowed a small, inexpensive projector from my sister-in-law to project the small image onto a larger piece of paper. I then spent about an hour one evening coloring it in, cutting out some construction paper crowns, and writing the name of each guest on a crown so each child was able to see how close they came to reinstating royalty.

Another generic party game is Duck Duck Goose. For the theme, I renamed it Beauty Beauty Beast and hoped that it wouldn’t cause any tears (I found out the hard way that musical chairs is traumatic for anyone under, say, 18). We also played Red Apple, Green Apple instead of Red Light, Green Light so Snow White wouldn’t feel left out. And I also decorated our wagon as Cinderella’s Coach. I didn’t go all out on this because I was busy eviscerating chickens the day before, but you could get some wire from the hardware store, curve it over the wagon (think covered wagon with a side entrance) and cover it with crinoline, which is that netted sort of fabric they used in the ‘80’s to plump up prom dresses. It’s pretty cheap, too.

My sister-in-law, Dawn, took this great photo of the girls playing Beauty-Beauty-Beast:


The fairy godmother was clearly too busy the night before to make a proper coach:

What I did spend some time on was Ariel’s Treasure Hunt, which is the Disney Princess Party version of a scavenger hunt. I typed up a very simple list of what the kids needed to look for, pasted Ariel’s picture on it, and made copies. Depending on age, parents may have to help read the clues. These “treasures” were then put into cloth bags I made to resemble little pouches princesses may have carried back in the old days, and viola – those were our party favors. The cloth bags are very simple to make; click here for instructions.

As for food, I tried to keep it simple. I generally don’t do a meal, though I genuinely would like to be able to do that at some point. I baked cookies and made a cake; I’ve done cupcakes in the past and they look pretty darn fancy on one of those silvery cupcake stands you can buy at a party store. As for cakes, I got an idea from a friend to bake a 9x13 sheet cake and then use that rectangle to create something different. Here is a tractor I did for Charlie last year:

And here’s the castle I did for Akea. Click here for instructions.

Ideally, I think yellow gel around the windows and purple gel to define the door would have been more aesthetically pleasing, but in the end, no one cared but me and the cake lasted less than 36 hours. That, I suppose, is success.


  1. Wow, you're the most amazing mom ever! Everything was done so perfectly and beautifully. I wish i could do this on my daughter's birthday next month. We're so excited and I feel a lil bit nervous because it's my first time to prepare a Disney Princess Party themed...
    Disney Princess Party Supplies

  2. Thanks, Leslie! I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job! This was actually pretty simple to do; just post again if you have any questions. :)