Earlier this year, one of my dear friends’ daughters left chilly Chicagoland for sunny Florida. She’s spending a semester at Walt Disney World as part of the Disney College Program. We were so excited when she was accepted, and as she counted down the days until it was time to leave, her family celebrated by throwing her a very Disney-themed goodbye party.
I love this girl dearly — she and my daughter were “raised together,” as many close families and their friends are. (How close? On my birthday this year, she wrote me a note saying, “Happy Birthday to my other mother!” — bless her!) She and my daughter have spent a great deal of time together over the years. From singing in church together to sharing roles in the same plays and musicals, to countless sleepovers and backyard campouts, she and her brothers have been a big part of my kids’ lives. Both our families share the love for all things Mickey Mouse, and I eagerly awaited being able to follow all her Disney adventures via email and social media.
Before she and her mom headed out for their long drive to Florida, I gave her a little care package of apartment-friendly goodies. Students in the Disney College Program live in Disney-owned apartments. She shares an apartment with five (!) other roommates who are also part of the program. Disney’s apartments are furnished, and they also come with kitchen cookware, utensils and other amenities.
I read through the list of things provided to the students and put together a little care package for her before she left. (Being a couponer definitely allows you to be generous without spending much at all!)
I gave her a package with:
- Dawn dish detergent – .49 after sale/coupon
- Dial hand soap pump – .23 after a coupon/rebate at Menards
- Scrubbing Bubbles – free from a past Catalina/coupon deal
- Finish dishwasher tabs – free from a manufacturer rebate
- An oven mitt/potholder set – free from a Menards rebate
- Spic & Span cleaning wipes – free from a Menards rebate
- Febreze Air Effects spray – free from a coupon/clearance deal
If someone paid retail for this little assortment, it would cost around $15.00. I threw in a box of Cheerios, a package of Oreos, and a box of Wheat Thins too, all of which I’m sure I paid less than $4.00 for, total. And off she went.
She’ll be in Florida through the summer, and we put together a larger care package to send to her. She’s having a blast working in the Magic Kingdom — reading her social media updates and looking at her photos makes me smile every week. It’s made our daughter want to apply for the Disney College program in another year too!
What should we send this time? I don’t like mailing liquid things (that’s why I gave her most of those ahead of time!) and I wanted her care package to have a nice mix of fun things and practical things. I raided my stockpile for many of these items, and the kids and I picked up a few other bargains to round out this box of goodies.
- White Cloud bath tissue (free with a “Buy 16ct. White Cloud, get 4ct. free coupon from a past deal)
- Swiffer sweeper and refill ($1.48 for both during a crazy past Dominick’s deal…)
- Some Tide Pods laundry detergent samples (free last year at Jewel)
- A dishtowel ($1 at Dollar Tree)
- Two Disney “Frozen” t-shirts ($3.35 each during Meijer’s crazy extra-percentages-off clothing clearance)
- This “Kitchen Rules” sign was $1 at Dollar Tree. It made me laugh and seemed like the perfect addition to a kitchen being shared by six people! Disney does not allow residents to hang artwork on the apartment walls, so I got a little metal easel-style stand for the sign, also $1 at Dollar Tree.
- I saw this Flair Magnets set for $1 at Meijer. I thought these were so funny, not only because of the messages on them, but also because the package notes there are “6 pieces” of flair inside. (Office Space fans will get the joke..!)
What else is inside? Incredibly, all of this fit in our box:
- Bounty paper towels (.25 during a past Meijer sale)
- Colgate toothpaste (.25 after sale/coupon)
- Colgate toothbrush (free after sale/coupon)
- Almay makeup wipes (free after sale/coupon)
- Bic disposable razors (free after sale/coupon
- Johnson & Johnson first aid kit (free after sale/coupon, back when their coupons didn’t exclude first aid kits!)
- Post-it Notes (clearance for .62 at Meijer, and I used a $1-off-5 on nine of these, so… about .51?)
- Bic pens (free after coupon)
- An umbrella ($3 at Dollar General. This was added to the box after a funny update in which I was informed she forgot to pack an umbrella & didn’t anticipate Florida rainshowers!)
- Ivory soap 3-pack (.11 after coupon/sale)
- Magnetic dry erase board and pack of dry erase markers ($2 for both at Dollar Tree)
- Puffs facial tissue (.04 during a past wild Jewel coupon deal)
- Packs of Up2U gum (free from a past deal)
- Spic & Span microfiber cleaning cloths (free from a Menards rebate)
And what would a care package be without a few snacks? This time, it’s Froot Loops ($1.66 after coupon/deal,) Honey-Maid graham crackers ($1.48 after coupon/deal), and a bag of Albanese gummy worms (.50 on clearance at Jewel!)
The retail price of everything in here would cost over $60 by my estimates — I’ve got just under $22 in it. Of course, the USPS doesn’t offer coupons for shipping…
If you’re interested in learning more about the Disney College Program, my favorite DCP student highly recommends the book Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, which chronicles two sisters’ experience in the program, tips on passing the interview (only about one out of every ten applicants are selected!) as well as lots of info on what to expect from work, internship and living in Disney housing. I read the book too on her recommendation and highly enjoyed it. My daughter’s reading it next…