I always hoped that someday I’d have a child who loved Disney as much as me. Although growing up I was a huge princess fan, I really have a love of all things Disney, especially the animated movies.
To date I have 102 Disney Animated movies from all the Classics to their sequels and prequels.
My mom collected them on VHS growing up and my sister and I watched them all summer long. Now I have them on DVD as well as digitally.
My daughter is well on her way to being as Disney obsessed as I am. And my son seems to be picking it up as well (he loves Dumbo and Mary Poppins right now). You don’t have to go on big elaborate Disney trips to breed a Disney nerd. There are so many more ways to do that. Here are 10 tips to making magical memories, and starting fun family Disney traditions in your home.
1. Go see Disney movies. This one seems like a no-brainer right? When a new movie comes out, take a family day to go and see it. Whether it’s opening weekend or after it’s made it ways to the dollar theater is up to you. The latest Disney Animation and Disney Pixar movies I always go to see opening weekend or before by going to an advanced movie screening (that link will show you where to find your free ones). Lion King was re-released in theaters and I took Lil’ J to see it. It was the first Disney movie she was partially awake for.
2. Re-watch Disney movies. This quite possibly is the single most important factor in becoming a Disney nut. It’s one thing to see the movie once in theaters, but it’s an entirely different ballgame when you watch it together over and over and over again. When you take a trip to a Disney Park, or even just visit your local Disney Store, it’s so much magical when your child knows and can name every character they spot.
I created a sort of personal Netflix for our Disney movies so my daughter can queue one up and cast it to the TV from the iPad by choosing the movie poster. She’s seen so many that normally she knows what she wants to watch and knows how to search for it in alphabetical order. If you don’t have a movie collection yourself you could start by checking out ebay for deals on used movies (I buy my sequels this way) or if you have a Netflix subscription, start watching them there! They’ve slowly been adding more and more of them in their database.
3. Fairytale stories. Beyond just the movies, reading the books together are fun, and a great way to get in that important read aloud time. Many of the Disney movies are based on fairytales, so it’s fun to read different versions of those stories, or even make up your own. Speaking of books, Lil’ J also has a Disney cookbook that we’re hoping to dive into very soon.
4. Disney Dress-up. Admittedly this tends to be more fun for girls. But I’m finding more and more costumes for my son too. Like with my daughter’s I’m trying to buy them secondhand to save on costs. My guess is he won’t be into dressing up as Disney characters for long, but now that they’ve acquired Marvel too, there’s a chance he (or both of them) will get into those as well, and extend my obsession with photographing them!
Oh and I have big dreams of getting them both in some cute shots together soon. I love watching their imagination flourish as they pretend to be different people and play pretend with their toys. Which brings me to the next ides.
5. Fun toys. We don’t have a ton of Disney toys but I have friends with stuffed animals to boot. We collect the dolls for my daughter, and my son picks out a toy each time we go to the Disney Store. Right now he plays with his Disney train (a birthday gift), his Mickey Mouse soccer ball, and he sleeps with his Minnie Mouse doll.
My daughter likes dressing up her Disney Princess dolls. We got her this set years ago and we get new ones as they come out. She has a couple of boy dolls (Naveen and Flynn Rider) and refuses to play with them, saying they’re her brother’s.
6. Disney Apps and board games. We don’t have a ton of these just yet because when my device(s) runs out of space apps are the first thing I look to delete. There are a couple free Disney Imagicademy apps we like. Lil’ J likes Mickey’s Art World and Mickey’s Math World, though it seems extremely simple for her. She’s teaching her brother how to play it, which completely melts my heart. I may buy Mickey’s Shapes Sing-A-Long next because I think Big T would like it. I love some of the “grownup” apps and a friend of mine has a great list of the best Disney apps.
Different than the last suggestion, these are games that aren’t app-based. Like board games. My daughter loves playing World of Disney Eye Found It. It’s like Where’s Waldo but over a 6-foot game board trying to spot different objects. Tons of fun for the whole family.
You’re going to find this dorky but we also love playing random Disney trivia games on Oh My Disney Blog. Lil’ J has gotten so good!
7. Local shows. If a big Disney trip is out of reach right now, check and see what Disney shows are coming your way. They are incredible. We’ve been to see Broadway shows The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, and Disney on Ice “Let’s Celebrate.”
8. Family traditions. My daughter has a charm bracelet that I got her, and each charm on it represents a Disney “tradition” we have started. She has popcorn (with pink marshmallows in it cause that’s how we eat it) for the movies we watch while I do her hair, an ice skate for seeing Disney on Ice and Cinderella’s Castle from Walt Disney World. We also have a couple photo albums we keep low and they kids both love to flip through them and remember all the characters they met.
10. Disney trips. Finally, a huge way to raise a Disney fan is by visiting a Disney park, or going on a Disney cruise. I’ve always been a big Disney fan, but after our February trip I’ve graduated to a super fan and basically had Disney on the brain ever since. My kids are lucky to have already gone to Walt Disney World, and this winter we’ll be taking a Disney Cruise. My daughter and I are even visiting Disneyland next week!
Though these trips are typically rare, they’re super special. I hope to be able to take a family trip every few years if we’re lucky, so my kids can continue to build on the magic and fall in love with this magical family brand as much as I have.