Monday, February 24, 2014

Showing My Disney Side

I have LOTS to catch up on, but I'll start with the fun stuff first...

Yesterday, I hosted my Disney Side @ Home party. We had a blast.  I used the table coverings, mobiles,and balloons provided in the kit Disney sent to decorate.  And not having to worry about remembering plates, cups, and napkins was really a good thing.  (I usually forget at least one of those plus something else -- yesterday, it was just the ice that I forgot!)

Chickadee #1 had a great time helping me create scrolls which outlined our menu and our activities:

We had a great time using the cookie cutters in the party kit to make Jello Jigglers and gluten free chocolate chip cookie bars (thanks, Betty Crocker, for the mix).

My mom suggested that the perfect '70s party food was pigs in a blanket, so I made a heap of those, which were a big hit with the younger crowd.

Once everyone had arrived, we started right in on our activities.  While I'm not a huge fan of the more conventional, princess-colored side of Disney, I recognize that there is something that Disney does better than anyone else in the current entertainment culture:  understanding narrative and telling good stories.  Walt Disney really celebrated imagination and ingenuity as well, so those are the elements that I wanted to emphasize in my Disney Side party.

Disney Loves Good Stories:  
From the Hamlet-like elements in The Lion King to the magic of Peter Pan or the wonderful delicacy of Bambi, Disney recognizes what moves a story forward.  The rides at Walt Disney World are another great example of this.  When we went with the Chickadees a few years ago, #1 and I waited in line for a long time at Kali River Rapids. It was hard for a six year old to wait.  But the way the Imagineers had staged the waiting area made it fun. There so much to see and talk about, and as you walked along, you began to imagine ever more strongly that you were somewhere in the Himalayas, getting ready for an adventure.

In homage to this storytelling genius,  I decided to choose a really important, really good, and very visual story -- Dante Alighere's The Divine Comedy. My version for kids is here.

Afterwards, I unfurled a roll of paper that I'd marked into blocks and worked with the kids to figure out what happened in the story sequentially.  I labeled each block and then the kids started to draw the scene.  It was amazing how much detail even the little kids remembered.  And I got to indulge my literature loving self and make kids listen to a classic story, all at the same time.  A win-win situation.

Disney Builds Cool Stuff:

That soon descended into chaos, so we moved on to the next activity.  I'd had the chickadees separate into categories all our building toys -- Legos, Tinkertoys, and GoldieBlox components.  I explained to the kids what Disney Imagineers do and asked them to build a prototype ride that you might find at Walt Disney World.  Then I let them have at it -- some of the contraptions owed more to Rube Goldberg than Walt Disney, but the kids had a blast.

And then we ate creatively presented food*:

Finally, we repaired upstairs for some yummy refreshments.

I'd have to say that, hands down, the favorite item was made of Jello.

*This is supposed to be a fish with bubbles swimming through a bunch of coral.  Supposed to be.

All in all, it was a really fun and exciting day for everyone.  Thanks to Disney for providing such a great opportunity and all the great "party-in-a-box" items.  Everyone loved their prints and their photo cards, too, which I gave away as people were leaving.

This picture is too cute not to include.

But, for my family, perhaps the most loved part of a day filled with loved activities and friends came after everyone had left and we had cleaned up and had dinner.  One of my favorite things as a child was "The Wonderful World of Walt Disney," a Sunday fixture in our home.  I loved the way each program was introduced by Walt Disney himself, from his extremely 60s office.  I had rented from Amazon Prime The Best of Walt Disney's True Life Adventures with the idea that the crowd could watch part of it if things got boring.  Of course, we ran out of time, so our little family repaired downstairs and watched it.  The best part?  Chickadee #1 entranced, laughing at all the right parts, flinching when called for, completely engrossed.

And Chickadee #2, turning to us and saying, "Mommy and Daddy.  I LOVE our family.  This is what all decent families should do -- spend time together."

Joy, oh joy.

NOTE:  I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @Home Celebration.  Nevertheless, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

1 comment:

  1. So much fun! I love your completely original take on the Disney theme! Awesome.