No Toy Gets Left Behind: Toy Story Party!

As my daughter, Anabelle’s fifth birthday was approaching, we were throwing around ideas of the theme of this year’s party. We traditionally try to find a theme that is gender neutral, especially due to the number of little brothers there are in our gang, as we did last year in her Finding Neverland party. Though Anabelle is a girly girl through and through, she can definitely hang with the boys! She adores the Disney “Toy Story” series and when the idea came up, she was dead set on having a Toy Story-themed party to ring in the big FIVE!

The challenge on my end would be to execute the theme, while avoiding making it overly commercial. With the three different movies and storylines, the possibilities were endless, but also a bit overwhelming! So, in talking with Anabelle, we decided to focus on the latest movie where the toys’ owner, Andy, is packing up and leaving for college and they are mistakenly donated to Sunnyside Daycare. I wanted to play up the use of cardboard boxes to represent the toys being boxed up, as well as throughout the decor. I also thought the use of color was really important to capture the vibe of a school, while also corresponding to the rainbow logo of Sunnyside.

Leave no toy behind with this Toy Story party inspired by the third movie in the animated movie series with DIY projects and inspiration!

The invitations set the mood for the party and when I envisioned them coming out of cardboard boxes, I knew I had to enlist the help of the incredibly talented Do from Piggy Bank Parties, who designs the most fabulous and creative printables and especially favor boxes! She made my dreams come true when she created these amazing box envelopes (with editable text!) for both the invites, as well as labels throughout the party! Too cute, right?! I found the most adorable illustration of a little girl (resembling Anabelle) dressed up as her favorite Toy Story character, Jessie, by the artist Carolyne Tillery in her Etsy shop oh hello dear! I utilized it in the design of the invitation, along with additional graphics from Kika Esteves.

The guests were greeted with giant “magnet” letters reading “NEW TOYS”, as the characters heard when they arrived at Sunnyside Daycare. I wanted the kids to feel like they were toys themselves and the oversized letters and alphabet blocks were perfect! I enlisted the help of my father, who did such an amazing job with the blocks with the use of wood/paper mache letters, masking tape and paint! Oh, and my mother helped, too! I just adore how the blocks turned out!
The backdrop for the dessert table was built out of cardboard boxes and filled with the Toy Story toys popping out of them, while the banner was strung with alphabet block letters.
The main attraction on the table was the cupcake display made out of smaller boxes. I made fondant toppers of the main characters and placed them on cupcakes in individual boxes. I also printed out additional block letters, rainbows (from Kelly Medina Studios) and additional characters (found at the Disney Family site) for the rest of the cupcakes displayed on the table and inside plastic Slinkies.

Also included on the table were different types of candy, as we wanted to steer clear of any chocolate in the unusually hot weather of 95* that day! They were displayed inside clear paint cans and, as you can see below, in perfect arm’s reach for the kiddos!

Instead of a tablecloth, the kids’ table was lined with drawing paper from a tabletop paper holder from Ikea and all the toys… I mean, kids, had their own Sunnyside lunch box, to which I attached a graphic and a coordinating tag!

I wanted the kids’ food to be exactly what a toddler would find in a packed lunch with a sandwich, apple slices, rainbow goldfish crackers, fruit snacks and juice. I found the Toy Story sandwich boxes, as well as the themed snack bags and tissues at the 99c Only Store, which were just perfect!

One of the characters in “Toy Story 3” is Lotso Huggin’ Bear, who {spoiler alert} turns out to be bad, but once we saw this humongous, huggable stuffed bear at a Costco store, we just couldn’t resist! Anabelle’s great-grandmother bought it for her and it is indeed a hugger!

We set up an art area with easels, coloring pages and Sunnyside art boxes for the kids. Drawings from Andy’s room (printed from Pixar Planet Forums)were pinned across a string, while a blow-up bookworm from Oriental Trading welcomed the toys/kids.

I found the fun and colorful art boxes at the 99c Only Store and attached the Sunnyside label to them with Mod Podge. Inside, the kids found a box of Toy Story crayons, character erasers and crayon bubbles.
Some of the activities we had in store were kept in these numeric mesh containers from Ikea and labeled with the box cards. The colorful paratroopers from Oriental Trading were a huge success! The kids also had fun with the trash bag races and saving characters that I cut out out of cardstock with a grabber = the claw!
We laid out empty boxes with an oversized post-it note for guests to “donate” their gifts to Anabelle!
The adult food was displayed separately in the “Parent Cafeteria” section. The colorful plates, cups and plasticware also came from Ikea, while the other containers were purchased as the 99c Only Store.

We were so incredibly pleased when we hired Ms. Louisa last year to lead the children in activities that we contacted Soulfire Studios to have her back again this year! I cannot praise Ms. Louisa enough with her ability to capture the kids’ attention and bring so much joy in their imaginative play! We received such great feedback from not only the kids, but the parents who enjoyed watching their kids play, rather than run after them the entire time! She read them the Toy Story 3 book, warmed them up and dressed them in costumes that she brought.

Western dance to “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”! Yee haw!

Ken’s fashion show… walking down the runway to “Freak Out”!

Rockin’ the maracas and sombreros to “Ay Un Amigo En Mi”!

For Anabelle’s second birthday, we hired Balloons With a Twist to create balloon animals and when they were holding a photo contest last year, we submitted a photo of her wearing an elaborate balloon crown the artist had created at the party. We were so super excited when we won the contest and redeemed our prize with face painting, per Anabelle’s request! We were so happy and thankful and the kids just loved it!
The kids had a fun time with the Toy Story coloring pages and seriously… do bubbles ever get old?! Ummm, no! 😉
This Toy Story party had such a different vibe from last year’s theme, but the constant was the amount of fun had by the birthday girl and her friends and that was truly THE most important thing to me. The kiddos had a fabulous time at Sunnyside with the rest of the toys celebrating Anabelle’s fifth birthday! And a special shout out to my family and my friends (Harriet and Do) without whom I could not have done it all!
The favors were hiding in these “TOYS TO DONATE” boxes…

The kids went home with a set of Toy Story characters and the note quoting Andy in the movie, who just donated his toys to a deserving little girl as he departs for college:

“Now you gotta promise to take good care of these guys. They mean a lot to me.” So long, partner. ♥ Anabelle

Toy Story 3 party ideas ~ Lynlee's

Merci Beaucoup!

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  1. OH MY WORD! This looks like the funnest party EVER! You thought of everything! AMAZING. Love the Ken’s fashion show walk – so clever! Your fondant masterpieces are so stinking perfect! Anabelle looks like she had a blast! FAB job, mama!

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this is unfreakin’ believable! What a great way spin off of the Toy Story characters and theme. You KNOW I love the boxes and you probably have as many at your house as I do right now. I love the whimsical vibe and it looks like a super FUN day!

  3. You are amazing lady!! What a fantasy of a backdrop and dessert table! My favorite picture is Anabelle blowing her candle, she’s so beautiful; happy birthday!!

  4. We had a blast hanging out at Sunnyside! Thanks for inviting us! It was magical!

  5. You did a great job of staying true to the theme without being commercialized! I adore the expressions on their faces during story time. Looks like a super fun party.

  6. Brilliant, Sweet Cakes! It just proves that a cardboard box is the best thing in the world! Every detail is amazing and the cupcakes in the boxes…adore. Thanks for letting us be a small lil’ part of Anabelle’s special day! ♥ Honey Ham

  7. total rockstar!!!! love it!

  8. Wow!

  9. oh. my. goodness. you are amazing! this party was sooo creative, cute, and FUN! i bet the kids had a blast!

  10. What a fantastic idea! Totally amazing!

  11. so sweet,,,everything is adorable,,,feliz cumpleanos Anabelle…

  12. Dina - Deliciously Darling Events says:

    SO adorable Lynlee!!! So cute, so creative. Totally made me feel like I was there. Amazing job <3

  13. Lynlee!!!
    I am dizzy after looking at all of the cuteness. I seriously stopped breathing when I saw the box envelopes, got in a quick breath, then stopped breathing again when I saw the huge blocks & cupcakes! Lol!!! You are SO stinkin’ talented & your daughter is one lucky petite fille!!! xo

  14. LOVE it – this party was so well thought out & it showed! You did an amazing job my friend! =)

  15. What’s the word…… hmmmmmmm….. okay still speechless!
    Seriously girl, OMG. You are amazingly talented and extremely detailed. You really thought of EVERYTHING possible and made it work soo well together. I am truly impressed with your party skills. Lucky little girl you have :) Keep it up my friend, you are a true rockstar!!

  16. OOOO MMMM GGGG! LYNLEE! This party rocks my world. I cannot even handle how creative this is. The BOXES! Holy Cow. The “box” labels from Do! Not using a tablecloth and making it look like a rummage sale. I cannot even handle this. This party made my whole week. Seriously.

  17. Just gorgeous!

  18. SOOOOOOO Cute!!! Every detail was so beautifully done! Thank you so much for having us be a part of Anabelle’s special day!!

  19. Love, Love , LOVE!!!! OMG Lynlee!! Seriously what a FUN and AMAZING party. Every detail is beyond perfect. Annabelle is the CUTEST! She is super duper lucky to have you!! Great job AGAIN!!

  20. What a FUN party!!!

  21. Simply amazing, Lynlee. I expected nothing less, and this is so much more! Again, your details are incredible!

  22. I seriously think this is one of the most creative and original parties I have seen in a while. I love everything about this party! You are simply amazing!


  23. Holy amazing!!! So original!! loved it Lynlee!!!

  24. I love this party and it looks like everyone had an incredible time!

  25. what a fabulous and refreshing party theme! I love it. Great job!!

  26. I CAN NOT get over how absolutely ADORABLE THIS IS! The love is truly in the details. I love how much fun this looks like for the kids… I love those blocks..I love I love I love!!!


  27. I have always been a “think outside the box” kinda girl, so this “out of the box” party completely stole my heart! Love, love, LOVE your attention to detail and how it all came together! Anabelle is one lucky little girl! :)

  28. Anabelle birthday party looks amazing, I love every single detail. It was super great the job you and your father did with those big alphabet boxes…perfect! :)

  29. It’s really hard to be original these days with so many talented, wonderful ladies in the party business but, girl, YOU HAVE DONE IT! So adorable! So unique! And best of all, it looks like the kids had a blast! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing party with us:)

  30. WOW! You really out did yourself! Looks like a lot of work but such a wonderful payoff! The kids look like they had a wonderul time! Everything is perfect! I bet the parents were just floored! Great job!

  31. Lynlee,
    You KNOW I just LOVE your parties but this may be one of my favorite to date:)

  32. Saludos desde puerto Rico. Simplemente, ESPECTACULAR, te felicito!!!!, No habia visto que alguien se dedicara a complacer verdaderamente a los ninos!!!! Muchas bendiciones!!!

  33. One of the most clever, stunning and absolutely lovely party I’ve seen in w while!! LOVE every detail, and your ADORABLE little girl is to die for!!

    Way to go on another fabulous party my dear!! Your creative skills and incredible fondant art just put a HUGE smile on this big kid’s face!! :)


  34. So amazing–the details are off the charts–wow, I am speechless!!

  35. Really awesome party!

  36. Love all the details! The games and activities and the little boxes on the table are just genius! super great job!

    hugs! Kim @ Party Frosting!

  37. Such an incredible party and the details are just amazing! I hope you don’t mind, but I linked you up to my new Wednesday link party and I’d love to feature it one day if you’re up for it! :)

  38. How the devil did I miss this amazing story? You did an absolutely amazing job and being the Toy Story series is my all-time favorite, it’s even more special! Can I link in a future Fiesta Friday feature?

  39. I am featuring your party today at Cox’s Corner!

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  41. Tamishia F. says:

    WOW!!! I am starting to think you are not human because you creativity and genius is just OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! I clicked a link from another site and was brought to your world and I couldn’t be happier. You are truly amazing and I love every party idea and execution I have seen so far. WOW is all I can say!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Oh my goodness, Tamishia!!! I cannot even begin to express how grateful and humbled I am by your incredibly sweet words! I am so very happy to have you here! Merci beaucoup for your support and graciousness and I truly hope I can continue to provide inspiration! I appreciate it so very much! ♥

  42. Oh my gosh – this is amazing! My son LOVES Toy Story – we’ve seriously watched all three movies more times than I can count. I’ve been thinking about doing a Toy Story Theme for his next birthday but since it’s still 7 months away I’m trying really hard to not start planning already. :)

    • Thank you so, so much, Cheryl! We are also huge fans of the entire series! Don’t feel bad… we’re already planning my daughter’s next birthday and it’s 6 months away! Don’t tell anyone I’ve already purchased some items! lol! ♥

  43. Hi! Awesome party idea and decorating! We’re making giant ABC blocks for our kid’s Christmas play and I was wondering where did you find the boxes? Were they all the same size when you got them or did you build them individually? Thank you so much :)

    • Hi! Thanks so much for the sweet words! I actually ordered the boxes online from Home Depot because I needed quite a bit of them for the entire party. They were all the same size and I was specifically looking for square boxes. Hope this helps! :)

      • What size letters did you use? I want to use this idea for my friends twins baby shower for the babies names.

        • Lynlee says:

          Ooh, I want to say they were approximately 12″! I would look at the boxes you are planning to utilize and scale it down a bit from that size so that it sits nicely in the center. Hope this helps! :)

  44. this party is AMAZING!!! my little girl wants a toy story party too and I am in love with your invites. I’m wondering, did you buy a print of the jessie painting and use it on the invites? or did you have a digital version?

    • Thank you so, so much, Laci! I truly appreciate it! As far as the Jessie illustration goes, it is a digital version! If you scroll up to the top of the post, you will find the link to the Etsy shop. Hope this helps! ♥

  45. Hi! Fabulous party! Where did you get those large ABC blocks from? I am looking for the same thing for my son’s Sesame Street birthday party. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much! I actually made them with square boxes, painted wooden letters and colored duct tape! :)

  46. Laurie Anderson says:

    Where on earth did you find those tiny boxes for the cupcakes ?

    • Ooh, it’s been a few years, but if you look up small square gift boxes, you’ll find options from stores, such as :)

  47. Where can I find the sunnyside art box labels? You party looks great

    • Thanks so much, Danielle! I made the labels with clip art from the various graphic vendors linked above! :)


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