The unfortunate truth that accompanies each and every magical Disney vacation is that it must come to an end. Eventually, we must return home and integrate back into that oh-so-un-magical concept of “real life” where everyone around you isn’t constantly cheery and there’s a significant lack of churros. This is never an easy time, and is made even less so by the fact that now you have to unpack.
In an effort to ease our collective suffering, I’ve gathered some ideas for how to extend that special Disney magic well past the last load of vacation laundry.
1. Find a local Disney community
Here’s our KC DIS group during our visit to Marceline, MO
This is #1 for a reason. Walt said, “You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” With the thousands of people here on the boards and the millions of Disney fans around the world, there’s bound to be at least one other person near you who shares some of your Disney love. Find these people and force them to be your friends.
Shortly after joining the DISboards, I was messaged by someone who noticed that I was from the Kansas City area who invited me to join their group. Now every month, I have a meeting with fellow Disney fools to look forward to. Sometimes we do Disney-related activities like watching the newest movie release. Sometimes we just go to dinner. But every time, no matter what we do, we have fun talking Disney and sharing real life moments.
I know other local groups have formed here, so, if you find yourself craving the feeling of being back in the Disney bubble, then just make one of your own! Either find your local group or make one with all of your new friends. And if there is not a single Disney-loving soul within a 50 mile radius, then I’m truly sorry that you live in the wilderness — Swiss Family Robinson-style — but you’re always welcome to Skype in with us here in KC.
2. Pixie dust your house
If you miss the Disney feeling when you’re at home, why not make your home feel like Disney? This can be as simple as adding a few Disney art pieces to your wall or as elaborate as a fully themed room (or heck, even your whole house). We just recently redecorated our guest room to have a subtle Star Wars theme, complete with a Wampa throw blanket and Galaxy’s Edge souvenirs. Next up is adding a giant shipwreck-themed pool in our backyard.
Just kidding. But wouldn’t that be amazing?
But for real- there are countless Disney home collections floating around these days, but if you don’t like any of them, you can always make your own! Or you could head to the ever-reliable Etsy, where the people who are more talented than I hang out. A lot of the Disney art in our house comes from Etsy, and you might be surprised by what you can find.
3. Make a copycat meal
Alright we’ve all been there. You’re just going along on a normal day and you suddenly get SMACKED with the overwhelming need to eat your favorite Disney food. Well, thanks to the magical World Wide Web, copycat recipes are plentiful. There are whole websites devoted to helping you make your favorite Disney snacks and meals right at home. Although some treats are nigh impossible to recreate (I’m looking at you, Disneyland corn dogs), you might be surprised at how easy it is to bring some of them to your very own table.
So do a Google search, grab your oven mitts, and get ready to be transported back to your favorite restaurant for a little while. And, if you’re not the culinary type, then just grab something Mickey shaped from the freezer aisle, pull up the Main Street music loop on YouTube, and let your imagination soar.
4. Themed movie night
Watching Disney movies is probably already one of your go-to ways to feel some pixie dust right on your very own couch, but hear me out. This goes beyond just grabbing a bowl of popcorn and pulling up Disney+. I’m talking an all-out theme night, where you choose a movie and build an experience around it.
Let’s take the Princess and the Frog. You start your evening off with a big pot of gumbo (see idea #3). Then you go outside after dark to watch or catch some fireflies. You go back inside, start the movie, and snack on beignets, all while talking in very exaggerated New Orleans accents.
Sounds pretty fun, right? And the possibilities are endless! Little Mermaid movie night? Hit up the pool first and see who can be the best mermaid, then go home for movie time and have some fish for dinner. Actually, maybe don’t have fish for dinner. Ariel might not be too happy about that.
5. Try Disneybounding
Disneybounding is creating outfits that are inspired by Disney characters, parks, rides, foods, walls, rock formations, etc, but that aren’t costumes. It might not be a new idea for you, but did you know that it’s 100% acceptable to Disneybound when you’re not at a Disney park? There are even whole Facebook groups dedicated to the art of Disneybounding. Not only does it stretch your creativity, but it’s downright fun to walk around Normal Land knowing that you are secretly dressed as Moana.
6. Try a new medium for your Disney fix
Maybe you already consume Disney media 24/7, but have you thought about changing it up? If you’re a diehard podcaster, maybe take a shot at reading a Disney book. There are so many: from memoirs, to histories, to fiction. If you find yourself listening to the same soundtracks over and over, you could head to a music store and see if you can dig up any old, obscure albums from decades past! Assuming there are still music stores, that is.
And if you’re really, really into any of the above, then maybe take a stab at creating some content of your own. Make a vlog, compile a playlist, or do something radical like write an article for a Disney discussion forum!
7. BONUS- Look for a local Disney connection
Street art in honor of Robin Williams in Chicago
Alright, this one really only benefits people who live where Walt lived or visited – Chicago, Marceline, Kansas City, California, and Florida all come to mind – but see if there’s something in your local area with ties to Walt or the Disney Company. For example, in Kansas City, you can still see Walt’s very first studio building!
But even if Walt never personally visited your hometown, you’d be amazed at how far-reaching Disney influences can be. Take a deep look at murals or street art, and you might just find some hidden Mickeys.
Obviously this list isn’t all-encompassing, but hopefully it is enough to spark your own imagination and will help you find some ways to build your own little Disney bubble at home. Did I miss something? What have you found to help extend your Disney dreams?