Here’s my “recipe” for having kids who love Disney almost as much as you do. (Notice I said almost–we are neurotic Disney people, ya know!)
Ingredient #1: Pints of Pixie Dust. Take them to the most magical place on Earth as often as possible. (This should probably say places because with Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, etc., the pixie dust scatters in many locations!) Needless to say, wherever mouse ears, characters, and parades are in ample supply, the Disney fascination will follow. Because of where we live and my Disney passion, my kids have had the good fortune of visiting Walt Disney World at least once a year. And their fascination in everything House of Mouse has been the pleasant result!
Ingredient #2: Spoonfuls of Stories. Bring them up on Disney storytelling. This one is not a stretch, is it? Regardless of your kids’ ages, Disney offers tons of entertainment options. Obvious choices include Disney classics, like Cinderella, Dumbo and Pinocchio; and now a fresh new crop of Disney movies like Tangled and The Princess and the Frog. This summer alone, we’ve enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2 in 3D (two thumbs up) and later this week, Winnie the Pooh! (OK, who am I kidding, I’m the one who can’t WAIT to see Pooh. They had me with the cool trailer set to the Keane song “Somewhere Only We Know”.) We have transitioned from Playhouse Disney (anyone else who can’t forget the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song?) to Cars to Pirates. And my daughter grew up watching all the princess movies and playing dress up, so it’s no wonder our WDW visits must include a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover! But now that my kids are getting older, they have become fascinated with what I call the Disney cross-over shows such as HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney, Food Network Challenge (where pastry chefs make Star Wars cakes for the reopening of Star Tours) and any of the Travel Channel’s review shows of WDW. Case in point: after watching a cruise-centric episode of My Yard Goes Disney, my kids are DYING to go on the Disney Dream! (It doesn’t hurt that I would love to go, too and I’m planning our first cruise as we speak-shhh!) In short, these movies and shows plant the wonderful seeds of enthusiasm, excitement, and energy that translate into pure Disney desire in my kids!
Ingredient #3: Cups of caring. Find ways to encourage your kids to be active in their community, their school, and those around them-with a Disney twist. For instance, want to inspire your kids to get involved in community service? The Disney Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program last year fused community service projects with a reward of a Disney one day park ticket! We decided to take it one step further and enlist the participation of my daughter’s third grade class to collect supplies for the local homeless shelter as part of the GADGADD volunteer effort. Win-win!! My daughter proudly presented her certificate at the Magic Kingdom and received a cool volunteer button to boot! Here’s another “cooking up Disney kids” tip: make a donation to Give Kids the World, a nonprofit that fulfills wishes of children with life threatening illnesses and their families so they might have a cost-free trip to Central Florida and its attractions. When my kids heard about this awesome charity, they immediately wanted to contribute their own money. Click HERE (http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/DisneyFansGKTW/reunion) if you are interested in helping with Give Kids the World via the Disney Moms Panel, who are hoping to raise $ 10,000 for this deserving cause.
DIRECTIONS (after adding ingredients):
Pour on the Photos! Go nuts documenting every aspect of your Disney trips. Take tons of photos, so much so that the kids think that the PhotoPass people exist just to take their picture! Because what better way to relive your Disney vacation memories and continue with the Disney storytelling than that becomes embedded in your kids’ DNA.
Mix in the Memories. Be sure to have dramatic buildup to your vacations and reminisce about previous magical moments. For instance, we celebrated my son’s first birthday at Magic Kingdom, and he “remembers” the fun we had at Crystal Palace as he heaped mouthfuls of macaroni and cheese and cupcake in his mouth (because he has heard this story over and over). And our family will never forget our December 2010 trip where we rode Splash Mountain three times in a row because we were the only dedicated Disney fans willing (i.e. the only people crazy enough) to brave the ride in 40 degree weather! FYI: it was a blast and we didn’t get that wet!
Of course, cooking becomes more personal when you add your own special twist on a recipe. So tell me, what ingredients could improve this recipe for Disney lovin’ kids?