The year my daughter turned 11 and my sons were 9 and 7 we decided to take a Disneyland Vacay! We live about 7 hours from the park and until this year, 2015, we’ve never had Disney Annual Passes. Needless to say, if we were going to take a Disney trip, it was a big deal! Always needing to keep costs in check, but also wanting to make the trip unforgettable, I wanted to do something unique and special.
We went in September because we were homeschooling and decided to start our school year a week early to compensate. I know this isn’t always an option, so this idea can be used at any time of the year with success! Since my older son and daughter have birthdays in August and September, we decided to splurge and stay at the Paradise Pier Hotel. Since I wanted the kids to have a chance to enjoy the property, we decided not to buy tickets to the park for the first day we drove down, but rather spend time at the hotel in the pool and exploring Downtown Disney. Since it was my daughter’s actual birthday while we were there, the hotel offered to leave her a signed 8×10 photo of her favorite character. When I asked her who her favorite character was so I could let the hotel know, she said, “My favorite character is Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.” As it turned out, the hotel was thinking Disney princess character and didn’t have Dr. Doofenshmirtz as an option. Pity. What was I going to do?
Well, my three kids had spent the summer watching Phineas and Ferb everyday, so this made sense. That’s when I got to thinking we should have a day where we theme as the characters. I found Perry the Platypus T-shirts online from the Disney Store and a Perry baseball cap for my son at Kohl’s. Then I decided we should spend that first night in Downtown Disney on a top secret mission. I didn’t tell the kids my plan. I wrote a letter to our family from Agent Monogram with the details of our mission. Then they received the scavenger hunt instructions. When we checked into the Paradise Pier I asked one of the employees if he could take the letter and give to our kids once we stepped outside the hotel. I asked him to tell them it was a top secret letter from Perry who needed their help. He did and the kids were at that point convinced! It was years before they realized I had done it. I still think my youngest believes it was Perry!
Dear Secret Agents G, A and E,
Perry the Platypus is on a mission to get all of the Disneyland guests to go home so that you can ride all the rides with short lines. The Evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz wants to stop him, ever since he went to Disneyland when he was a kid and the park sold out right as he was going to buy his ticket. Now Doofenshmirtz is here in the Downtown Disney Tri-State Area and he wants you to suffer with big crowds! I need your help to create a diversion as the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has made a device that tells where Perry is by using sniffing robots that find his scent. I have left you with a list of tasks you must accomplish. Your feet must touch all around the Downtown Disney Tri-State Area in order to throw Doofenshmirtz off Agent P’s scent. This way he will be able to complete his secret mission without being found. Carl has listed your tasks bellow.
Your Task List: Take a picture in each place for evidence. Use this envelope to collect items.
1. Disguise yourselves in this make-up store by putting on a small sample of whatever you can get your hands on. Then take a picture. Find out how many makeover counters there are in the store. Beware of Candace! (Sephora)
2. Now, get yourselves into the zone and find any game you think Doofenshmirtz is trying to use to brainwash kids to not leave the park. Take a picture and then ask an employee what field is on the roof because I might need it for a quick escape. (ESPN Zone)
3. In the big store Doofenshmirtz is using cute, cuddly decorations to keep families from leaving. Find the item your parents bought on their honeymoon and take a picture. Then find a cast member wearing a name tag with the name of someone you know. Take a picture. Later we’ll examine it to make sure the Dr. did not take over their body.
(Main Gift Shop)
4. Doofenshmirtz has been talking with a tree where resort guests eat trying to talk it into convincing guests to stay. I need you to find out what name the tree goes by. You can ask the elephant. Take a picture with the elephant. (Rain Forest Cafe)
5. An army of statues are being built as we speak to block the exits from the park. Find out how many statues have been built. Take a picture next to one for evidence. (Lego Store)
6. Dr. Doofenshmirtz may be trying to increase the water supply in the Downtown Disney Tri-State Area so thirsty guests will stay. Count how many fountains there are. Take a picture by one. (Fountain)
7. I just got word Doofenshmirtz is using the Disneyland Hotel as a hide out location. What are the names of the three towers? (Fantasy, Adventure and Frontier)
8. Find the place that sells Beignets. These taste so good no one wants to leave. Buy a few to eat just so you know if this hideous plan is working. Put the receipt in your envelope. (Jazz Kitchen walk-up)
9. Doofenshmirtz has convinced families that they will get their own star if they stay. Find the first star awarded to Disneyland and write down the first three lines of text on this star. (Disney walk)
10. Finally, you must find a car from out of state. Take a picture. Blow on the car to secretly convince it to drive its family away.
Make your way back to your hotel. Hopefully, we will have distracted the families from Doofenshmirtz’s schemes long enough to get everyone to leave if you are successful.