Spring Break is upon us, but this year many of our family vacations will simply be the walk from the front door to the mailbox. How can we help our children break the monotony of homeschooling for a short time to enjoy Spring Break?
With a little extra effort and a sprinkle of “magic” you too can take your kids to Walt Disney World from the comfort of your own home.
Here is your “Walt Disney World Itinerary – Home Edition”
Dress the part!
Have kids wear their favorite character pajamas, or make their own costume. This really sets the mood for your day. Give each child a “magic band” too. This is basically a bracelet, watch, or paper band worn on the wrist to get them into the Disney parks – at home.
Have a Character Breakfast Dining Experience
Gather all the Disney dolls and stuffed animals to the kitchen table (I use silly voices and high fives to get my one year old in on the whole scheme). Then serve up Mickey waffles (thank you Eggo) with eggs and bacon. Or try the Disney classic found at Sleepy Hollow restaurant in Magic Kingdom; a Nutella and strawberry-banana waffle sandwich. This is simply a standard waffle of choice stuffed with goodness and folded in half. Oh. Yes.
Grab your gear before heading out
Many people end up getting a reusable cup with a Disney dining plan. Give one to your kiddos to reduce the dishes for the day. My daughter is also really into pin trading, a popular past time at Disney. Gather some pins from around the house, separate them equally among the kids and adults. Then, every hour during the day they can swap one out with each other. Don’t have pins? Use Disney stickers. Just another way to get into the magical spirit.
“Travel” to the parks
As we pretended to wait and ride the bus, we played some Disney games. If you download the free My Disney Experience app and the Disney Play app, right now you can access Disney trivia or history games, plus copycat recipes of iconic foods. If you have younger kids, like mine, a simple character Guess Who or ABC game will do.
For example, “What character starts with the letter A?” I promise there is a character for every single letter. My five year old wanted to do this for almost an hour. Yes, believe it or not, the waiting was one of her favorite pretend things.
Get your Photopass photos at Cinderella’s Castle
Every Disney trip begins or ends with a castle shot in the background of a smiling family. Set your desktop picture to Cinderella’s Castle, then have your kids snap away. Yes, it’s silly, but that’s why it’s fun. You’re dressed up and on Spring Break, right?
Head to some (virtual) rides!
You cannot go to Disney World without riding some rides, right? Duh! Visit online sites like this and your ride is only a click away. I sat my youngest child on my lap and jumped up, down, sideways, and back to recreate the fun of some favorite rides.
Your kids want to snack all day anyway, so maybe vacation is the time to give in. Grocery runs may be tough lately, so plan your special snacks ahead of time: popcorn, Uncrustables, Millennium Falcon ice cream sandwiches, Mickey ice cream bars, mini corn dogs, and soft pretzels from the freezer.
Or try Disney iconic recipes at home like LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple cider drink in honor of a character from Beauty and the Beast (my favorite movie). You can even make the famous Disney Parks Dole Whip! Disney just released the recipe to the public, or, try THIS version directly from Dole. Craving those delicious Disney churros? No problem! Disney just released that recipe as well!
(Looking for more Disney parks recipes? Check out the Disney Parks blog.)
Spread out the blanket and settle in for a magical parade
That’s right, you can watch the magic unfold with a front-row seat to the parade from your air-conditioned living room.
Visit Casey Jr Splash Zone in Magic Kingdom
Here’s an easy one. Let the kids run through the sprinklers, or splash in the kiddie pool. Fun times are often the most simple. Plus, while alcohol may be hard to come by at Magic Kingdom, the bartender at my house is well supplied.
Make dinner at O’hana together
O’hana is a Hawaiian word meaning family. You might remember this from the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. Whether you consider this movie a Disney classic or not, O’hana is also one of the hottest restaurants for dinner reservations in all of combined Disney World.
Food is served family-style with meats grilled and skewered. Kids of most ages will be able to help prepare different skewers at home. You can also try recreating the recipes for house special Yakisoba Noodles as a side or the O’hana Bread Pudding recipe for added O’hana deliciousness.
Movie night at the resort
All Disney resorts play an outdoor Disney movie each night. Cozy up in those nighttime pj’s with your favorite people on earth, and watch one of the Disney movies YOU most love. Scroll through Disney+, Amazon, Netflix, or your personal movie stash and pick a Disney favorite. Maybe you’ll pick a classic like Herbie the Love Bug to share with your children. After all, sharing a movie from your childhood may help you connect in a whole new world…
There you have it. A day at Disney World from the comfort and safety of your own home.
I won’t lie to you. It will take a slight amount of extra effort. Although for me, it was an escape from all the drama and uncertainty of real life into this magical world of pretend.
More importantly to me, it was an escape my kids loved.