It’s hard to believe that our sweet Adeline is five. We have been planning to have a Finding Dory party since November when we learned the movie was coming out the week of her birthday. Little did we know I would go to the premiere and meet Ellen just weeks before the party!
The party came together perfectly and I have SO much to share about it. Finding Dory is the hit movie of summer, and I imagine lots of kids are going to be having Finding Dory parties in the coming months. I hope this post provides lots of information and resources. I am going to write separate, more in-depth posts on the food and crafts and will share those soon.
Finding Dory Birthday Invitation
I found a Finding Dory invitation design on Etsy and had them printed on Shutterfly. Adeline looked so cute hugging Dory.
Finding Dory Party Decorations
Most of the time was spent outside, so I kept the interior decorations very simple, with a Finding Dory tablecloth on the table. For the center of the table, I filled a vase with shells and yellow flowers and had the Finding Dory cake on a cake stand. I found bags of seashells at The Dollar Store, so they were a very affordable decoration!.
I also taped green crepe paper up in an empty corner to look like seaweed.
Finding Dory hanging decorations added additional character fun in the room.
I cut seashells out using my Cricut and attached them to skewers for the path to the front door. (Remember how shells showed Dory the way home?) These came together super quickly and were so adorable.
I used Christmas ornaments that I bought at Target 90% off to make garlands for the front porch. They added a fun pop of color and whimsy to the front yard.
The bulk of the party took place on the deck, so that is where most of the decorations were.
We had a Finding Dory Happy Birthday banner up behind the bar. (I couldn’t believe the size and quality of this banner and loved that the age could be customized). Next to the lemonade we had a cute Finding Dory table decoration.
I bought a coral reef backdrop and used it as a backdrop for our lower deck. This backdrop was 40′ so could be used in several spots. There was enough to wrap the trees and cover the bar too. It would also work well if you were having an indoor party. It added SO much to the party decorations.
The stars of my decorations were definitely the blue and yellow jellyfish. I made them using paper lanterns (I found them on clearance at Target 3 for 50 cents!) + tablecloths and ribbon. They were time consuming, but I did them over the course of a week, which made it not so bad. They added SO much to the decorations, and I was really happy I made them.
I will say, there was a big difference in the quality of the tablecloths I used. I paid $1.99 for the yellow and light blue tablecloths at a party store and bought the dark blue at the Dollar Store. The Dollar Store cloth was much more flimsy and harder to work with. You can make many jellyfish from a single tablecloth! I loosely followed this tutorial, but modified it in that I did not cut the lanterns.
An aDORYble Photo Booth
Ezra was NOT into taking a family photo. The party was right during his nap time, sweet baby! I got Elias and Adeline’s Finding Dory clothes at The Disney Store, and Ezra’s shirt at Target.
Using the Finding Dory photo scene setter as a backdrop, the kids took lots of photos together.
We had silly glasses and goggles for the kids too. As you can see, the kids all got Finding Dory tattoos (found some in the Target dollar spot) and made name tags with Finding Dory stickers (also found in the Target Dollar spot) when they arrived.
I am a HUGE fan of photo spots for birthday parties. I think they encourage great group photos. I always maximize the spot by moving a kids table to the spot when its time to eat to get cute shots of the meal + cake. It also works great for doing presents there.
(I also used a scene setter for Elias’s Star Wars party, Adeline’s Hello Kitty Party and Adeline’s Sesame Street party.)
I did buy Finding Dory party hats, but then forgot to set them out! Our friends the Howells came over on Sunday and their twins loved making Dory unicorns with them.
Finding Dory Crafts
Adeline loves to craft, so I came up with three simple Finding Dory crafts. I called the craft area “Hank’s Handiwork” and made a little sign to hang over it.
I had two long folding tables (I love these adjustable ones – best party investment I ever made. Well worth $30 each) + an additional child’s table for the crafts. The tables were covered in blue tablecloths from The Dollar Store, which made clean up easy.
The kids each picked a station to start at and rotated through all three crafts, which were:
Seashell necklaces: Because seashells play such an important part in Dory finding her way home and to her parents, the girls made seashell beaded necklaces. I ordered purple shells from Etsy because purple shells were Dory’s mom’s favorite and bought pony beads and string at a local store.
Aquariums: The children each made mini aquariums, like the open ocean exhibit that Dory’s family lived in. Supplies included 8 oz. mason jars, distilled water, aquarium gravel (after the party I found that The Dollar Store carries this, though not in the pretty blue color), ocean creatures and some fake plant life.
Hank the septopus: They also made a septopus like Hank using red terra cotta pots, googly eyes and big fuzzy pipe cleaners (bought at Michaels) that were attached with glue dots.
Finding Dory Activities and Games
In addition to the crafts, the kids had fun playing in the Finding Dory sprinkler and Finding Dory splash pool.
I would not recommend buying this sprinkler for a bunch of rambunctious kids because it broke within 30 minutes because the kids were pushing on it to get the water to spray in different directions.
Thankfully, a regular sprinkler provided just as much fun and relief. (I found Adeline’s Finding Dory bathing suit on Zulily.)
We also had a Coffee Pot Pong game on the deck using four glass coffee pots and some ping pong balls. I made the signs using my Cricut and adhering the letters with my Xyron. I loved how the signs turned out and thought they added a lot to the decorations.
We had plans to do some other Finding Dory yard games with the Hank ring toss, but the kids spent so much time in the sprinkler there wasn’t time.
Finding Dory Food and Cake
For food, we kept the menu simple and kid-friendly. It included:
Ham and cheese “crab” croissants (I glued googly eyes to tooth picks – they were so cute!), Finding Dory pasta salad, Finding Dory snack mix, chips and fresh fruit. (Recipes and tips coming soon)
After lunch everyone enjoyed the vanilla Finding Dory birthday cake. Adeline squealed when she saw her name written on the side “just like Dory”.
The cake designer also incorporated purple shells and kept Dory the star of the cake. Everyone loved the design and couldn’t believe how perfect Dory was.
Finding Dory Party Favors
I found these adorable Finding Dory party bags on Amazon and loved them so much more than the typical little grab bags made for favors. They were made of a really nice sturdy plastic material. Inside I put crayons (bought 70% off at Target), Finding Dory bubbles, Finding Dory pencils (6 for $1 at Target), and Finding Dory fruit snacks. They were a lovely little thank you for coming to the party.
All in all it was an extremely fun and memorable birthday party for Adeline. My friend Angie said it was her favorite party I’ve ever thrown (and she has been to them all!).
I loved coming up with everything and making all the decorations. I hope someday when my kids look back on their birthdays, they will remember all the love their mommy poured into the parties to celebrate their lives.
If you love throwing parties, please pin this party on Pinterest!
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