Doing Disney Disabled: DIY Disney Countdown board with FREE printables

Part 2 in my Doing Disney Disabled series

I’ll be doing a special series the next few weeks as my family gears up for our Disney World trip! I’ll be doing posts on the following topics:

*The DAS Pass

*Why we joined the Disney Vacation Club

*Packing for Disney

*DIY Disney Countdown Calendar

*Our Disney Trip: flying with a disability

*Our Disney Trip: Lodging

*Our Disney Trip: Dining, including with Food Disability

*Our Disney Trip: The Parks

*Our Disney Trip: Overview and final thoughts, recommendations, as well as tips and tricks

Is there something you’d like to know? I’m all EARS!

With having a child on the spectrum, visual guides- especially picture types- are a wonderful resource.

I knew I wanted to make or find a cool countdown calendar that could be use with Caleb. It had to be sturdy (almost 5 year olds are rough), affordable (I’d rather spend money at Disney!), and an easy DIY project (I have enough to do before a trip without adding anything complicated). So I headed over to Pinterest.

Lo and behold, the Disney Parks Blog has an easy DIY countdown of its own! The graphics are adorable and the instructions were quick and easy to follow. I mean, numbers made to look like Disney characters?! How much cuter can you get?!

Here’s the link to the instructions on the Disney Parks Blog. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see that you can customize the countdown board any way you want. You can also search the tag #daystilldisney on both Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration!

Disney Vacation Countdown Instructions on Pinterest

Here is the pdf of the numbers and banner. They have a set for both a regular Disney vacation as well as a Christmas themed set- feel free to get creative and mix up the numbers from each set! You’ll need to print as many numbers as you have for the double days and the single days separately. So if you have 100 days left, you’ll need to print 0-9 for the first column, 0-9 for the second column, and 0-9 for the third column. Because we had 20 days left when I made the board, I printed 0-2 for the first column and a full set of 0-9 for the second column. We are putting the numbers aside from the second column to reuse for the second week, but if you have a low countdown (30 and under) you could definitely print three full sets of numbers for the second column and allow your kids to rip off a number each night. We decided to save and reuse one set because a) environment and b) it builds the excitement that he can’t rip it off just yet.

Disney Blog’s Vacation Countdown Printables

Disney Blog’s Christmas Countdown Printables

If you can, print the numbers on cardstock. Regular paper is fine- it’s what we used- but with the amount of times you’ll be taking numbers on and off, the cardstock will hold up better, especially if you have a longer countdown.

I did ours on the cheap, and you can too! I stacked coupons for Michael’s, AC Moore, and Joann’s (who all accept competitor coupons) to save as much money as possible!

For my version of this project, you’ll need:

1 11”x17” or bigger corkboard (I used this one from Joann’s and used a 60% off coupon to make it super cheap https://www.joann.com/11×17-corkboard/8723736.html#q=corkboard&start=1)

1-3 pieces of scrapbook paper.

1 package flat brass thumbtacks

2 large eye hooks

Numbers and banner printables from the Disney blog

Single hole punch

Scissors

Scrapbook paper cutter

Selection of Disney stickers, sayings, or scrapbook embellishments

Optional: glue dots or some type of adhesive; superglue

Some things to note before starting the project:

When choosing your cork board, you want to choose a size depending on how many numbers columns you have. As you can see the 11×17 one worked perfectly for 2 columns, but would not work for 3 columns. Keep that in mind as you purchase your cork board. You can also get cork boards that are attached to dry erase boards, which would be a great option if you want to reuse the board. Again, it would need to have a large enough cork board.

The original Pinterest directions tell you to paint the cork board but unfortunately I did not have time to do that. After searching the hashtag #daystilldisney on instagram, I noticed many different tales on the countdown, including ones that used scrapbook paper as a background instead of painting the board. For me, this was not only a much easier option but a cheaper one as well since I only needed to buy one sheet, instead of purchasing all the paints and brushes. You can do Disney paper, plain paper, patterned paper, whatever you want. I used a thicker glitter scrapbook paper to help make it pop. With the 11×17, you will only need one paper, since the printable banner covers the rest of the cork board up just fine. If you have a bigger size board you may want to purchase more sheets, just in case. Also, be careful on what type of designs you choose; the numbers are detailed enough as it is and you want them to be visible, which may be difficult with a more busy background.

I used just flat brass thumbtacks to attach all the paper to the board, in case I wanted to reuse the board or change up the countdown look for future trips. This worked beautifully. However, if you want it more permanent or you don’t want the tacks showing, you can use glue dots or mounting tape, found in the scrapbooking section at the craft store. Make sure whatever you get is labeled permanent adhesive, as removable/adjustable adhesive won’t hold.

I bought the gang in the scrapbooking section (what we didn’t use will go in our trip scrapbook). One issue we had is they don’t have much adhesive on them. That works fine for pages in sleeves, but not for a vertical board and ESPECIALLY not on glitter paper. You can fix this by using a small drop of superglue on each sticker or you can use permanent glue dots. Both should hold just fine. We went the superglue route because we already had it and I didn’t want to purchase more supplies.

Instructions:

  1. Cut out all your printable numbers and banner and place them aside.

  2. Measure the width of inside of the board. Mark the measurements on your scrapbook paper and, using the paper cutter, cut to size.

  3. Taking either your flat thumbtacks or your adhesive, mount the scrapbooking paper flush along the edge of the board.

  4. If you have a bigger cork board and need more paper to cover up the board, keep repeating steps 2 and 3. Remember the board does not have to because completely covered as you have your banner to put on.

  5. Position the printable Disney Vacation banner at the bottom of the board underneath the scrapbook paper and, using thumbtacks or adhesive, carefully mount the banner. There may be some overlap of the two papers, which is fine.

  6. Taking two numbers and two large eye hooks, center them on the board as you’d like them. Mark where you’d like the hole on the paper to go with the screw end, and then remove numbers. Screw in the two eye hooks, being careful to watch they do not go through the back.

  7. Using the marked numbers from step #6 as a guide, punch holes in each number. If you want to jazz it up, use a shaped hole punch. Once punched place your numbers on the eye hooks in order needed.

  8. Have fun decorating the board with stickers and embellishments! Have fun with it- you can use gems, Washi or duck tape, permanent markers, stickers, scrapbook embellishments, iron on patches, Disney Pins, quotes, pictures from previous trips, anything that inspires excitement in you and your family!

  9. Start the countdown and watch the excitement build until it’s time to leave for Disney!

As you can see, it’s super easy! And there’s multiple other ideas out there using these printables if you search the hashtag #daystilldisney. I saw people use clothespins and fabric, magnets, shadow boxes instead of cork boards, and so much more! If you use your imagination I’m sure you have a blast making and using this- after all, isn’t that what Disney is all about?!

have a thought you would like to share? leave it below!