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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Magic of Disney Because You Need it Right Now

Waverly in full Disney mode during "The Disney Family Singalong"

When the pandemic first made news here in Seattle, L and I hunkered down with our two year-old daughter, Waverly.  At first, I counted down each day, thinking we had to make it mid-April, then May 1. As the situation grew more intense, I stopped thinking "It has now been __  days since we entered into this era of  'It could be Monday or it could be a holiday and maybe we will all catch this virus and nothing will ever be the same." I became concerned with how this would affect Waverly's well-being and frankly, ours too. The three of us travel often. We thrive on being with our family, friends and colleagues around the country. After six weeks of careful isolation, we were cranky. We needed an adjustment.

Then last week. we sat down as a family and watched the "Disney Family Singalong." We went all in. We wore  our Disney pajamas and our Mouse Ears.  It felt good to sing along. It felt great, actually. The next morning when I was helping Waverly get dressed, we were both humming along to "Be Our Guest" and the morning took on a new joy.

We decided we needed more Disney magic. It's our happy place when we visit the Disney Parks. Why can't we try to imagine that Disney magic at home? Luckily, the folks at Disney were thinking the same thing. From singalongs to recipes from the Disney resorts, and virtual attractions, there is something there for every foodie, every artist and every child at heart. As you listen to the singalong or make churros or take that virtual ride, know that one day you'll be back in the Parks. For now, do what you need to do to keep you and your family safe and healthy and enjoy the magic of Disney.

*For more Disney magic at home, visit #DisneyMagicMoments for new content daily. 

During our honeymoon at Walt Disney World (after a Disney-style wedding!), I think we had Tonga Toast at  Disney's Polynesian Resort's Kona Cafe at least every other morning. Thanks to renowned cookbook author (and our good friend!), Pam Brandon (Edible Orlando), we learned how to make this swoon-worthy breakfast at home. It always reminds us of our honeymoon and happy mornings at Walt Disney World.

Here are some other recipes just released by Disney to help you recreate some of your favorite meals and snacks from the Parks.

Churro Bites

New Orleans Square Beignets from Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter

Chocolate, Peanut Butter French Toast from Disneyland's Paradise Pier Hotel

Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Woody's Lunchbox at Disney's Hollywood Studios

If your kids are yearning for some Disney stories and you have an Alexa, enable Disney Stories to hear four free  stories.  For parents, this is a lifesaver, when you just need a minute. For a limited time, you can also enable 50 more stories for $0.99 (otherwise $9.99)

As a Disney fan, you probably signed up for Disney+ the day it became available.  During this pandemic, it's especially wonderful to have this happy place to spend a little time feeling nostalgic, watching some of your favorite classic Disney movies along with Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic content.  I love the Disney Fairytale Weddings and the behind the scenes content!

Do you want to feel like you are there, in the midst of your favorite park? Download the Play Disney Parks App to hear Park playlists, play trivia and play games. When this app first launched, I installed it for our trip to Walt Disney World. However, even now, not being near a Disney property, it's a fun way to explore the Parks (even while they are temporarily closed) virtually.  When the Parks reopen, and you're on the property, you can use the app do things like check queue times, explore Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge through a Datapad as well as manage your dining reservations and PhotoPass.

If you have virtual video meetings, you've probably explored different virtual backgrounds. Show your love for Disney by visiting the Disney Parks Blog to download virtual backgrounds of some of your favorite places at the Disney Parks.  I guarantee that someone on your next video call is going to say "Awww! Disney! I can't wait to go back!" (My favorite background is Cinderella Castle at dawn.)

On our very first trip together to Walt Disney World, L and I started a tradition called The Disney Nap. We always start  our day early at the Parks and head back to our hotel room around 3 or 4pm, exhausted and happy. We take showers, pull the curtains, set the air-conditioning to low and climb into bed for a nap before we going out for the evening for dinner and fireworks. We'd fall asleep within moments and wake up refreshed for another perfect Disney night.

Even now, whether we are at Walt Disney World or another vacation destination or even at home, we'll ask each other "Disney nap?" and we'll curl up together under the covers for a nap that is just as much bonding time as it is a rest from whatever we're doing that day.

If you are finding yourself frustrated mid-day or you just can't stand looking at the computer for another second of work or school, step away, shut the blinds and curl up for a Disney nap. This pandemic is stressful, even if you are healthy. Take a pause, treat yourself kindly and take a nap.

(Sleep mask available in Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse versions on

If you miss the magical moment of stepping onto your favorite attraction, you'll love the virtual ride and parade. Take a virtual ride on one of the following attractions and watch the Magic Happens Parade from the comfort of your own couch. No queues and no worries about wondering where the best place is to watch the parade. It's your own front row seat.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

It's a Small World


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Soarin' Around the World

Magic Happens Parade

Plus: A Virtual Family Day at Aulani

If at the end of the day, you find that you are just done and everything is just too much, gather your housemates and get read to sing. Break out your Mouse Ears, wear them proudly and embrace the idea of singing along to your favorite Disney songs. If you missed the airing on ABC, catch it now on Hulu.

I wish I could bottle the scent of the lobby of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. There is something perfectly visceral about that particular scent. It's a mixture of water, humidity, flowers, coffee and well,  Disney magic. I also love the smoky scent of Rome burning in Spaceship Earth and the sweet smells of Main Street USA. When riding Soarin' Around the World, I get so happy when I smell the orange grove beneath my feet. Disney has mastered the delicate art of infusing scent into our adventures in the parks and for that, I am ever grateful.

I recently read this great article on The Top 10 Disney World Scents and I realized I wasn't the only one who loved the scents of WDW, especially The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and the resort hotel lobbies. Read the 160+ comments to this post and you'll find yourself nodding in agreement with other Disney fans who are just as obsessed with the scents of the Disney Parks.

Have you stayed on property and thought your hair smelled fantastic? That's courtesy of the H2O+ amenities in the resort rooms. During our last trip, I became obsessed with this scent  and bought the H2O+ hair and body kit, which I have since re-ordered several times on Now whenever I want to feel like I'm about to head out for a Disney day, I use my H2O+ and I feel like I'm about to have a great, adventurous day, even if that just means we're sitting on the deck enjoying the sunshine.

If you want your home to smell like one of the Disney resort lobbies or a myriad of other favorite places in the parks, check out the Disney-inspired home scents from the Magic Candle Company. I'm placing an order for fragrance oil and hand sanitizer in The Polynesian scent.

*If you love tea and the scent of Rome burning in Spaceship Earth, apparently Twinings Lapsang Souchon Black Tea smells EXACTLY like the attraction.

If you've always been fascinated by Disney animation, now is your chance to learn how to draw your favorite characters from Disney animators. There are dozens of instructional videos from Disney's Hollywood Studios to choose from, so get some paper and a pencil and start drawing!

Remember the feeling of watching this fireworks show from Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom? You'll be there again. For now, throw on your Disney sweatshirt and enjoy the show!

Yes, you miss the magic of the Disney Parks but you'll go back and one day you will be standing in your favorite park, about to board your favorite attraction, listening to the sounds and inhaling the scents and that smile, that big, beautiful smile of yours is just going to be a reminder of a dream that was a wish your heart made when you were fast asleep.

For more ideas on adding Disney magic into your life, follow Disney Parks Blog on the following social media channels:

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