We all need a little extra light these days as we do our part in sheltering at home – whether by mandate or a sense of personal responsibility. While the most important matters of the day are lives and livelihoods, mental health is also key to making it through this without major fallout on the other end.
There are so many ways that I’ve tried to implement that for myself and my kids. We wake up at a set time (give or take) each morning. We shower and get dressed – even if “getting dressed” means switching from pajamas to comfy clothes. We go for runs and walks. We try to maintain routines. We eat as healthy as we can. We meditate and breathe fresh air.
But we also make sure to fill our days at home as much as possible with the things that make us happy and the experiences that we miss. And so it’s probably no surprise that we do what we can to bring a little Disney into our lives each day. And here are the top 10 ways that we’ve found to do just that.
- We watch. While the news is often rolling in the background these days, we make a concerted effort to turn it off at times. Oftentimes when we do, we switch to Disney Plus. I’ve talked about some of our favorites on that platform before – from classics like the Aristocats (my younger son’s personal favorite right now) to great documentaries like Waking Sleeping Beauty and The Imagineering Story. Frozen II was also made available early on Disney+ – and Onward was released very early for rental on other platforms and will be arriving on Disney+ on April 3rd.
- We draw. Disney is doing an incredible job on the #BetterTogether front as we go through this time. To that end, Disney Parks Blog added some real fun to our day when they featured a complete series of how-to tutorials on drawing Mickey Mouse through the years, which you can find right HERE!! If you join in the fun, be sure to use #Disney and #BetterTogether on Instagram and tag @DisneyParksBlog with your artwork for a chance to be featured.
- We listen. It’s impossible to understate the importance of community right now – so if you have a way to feel connected to your people, hold on tightly to it. For us, so much of that community is our Disney people – including our dear friend Lou Mongello over at WDW Radio, whose mission of “bringing a little bit of Disney magic to you wherever you are” has never been more important than it is today. If you’ve never listened to his show before, his almost 600 episodes will keep you immersed until this pandemic ends. And his most recent show, episode 581, features yours truly and a few other dear friends wandering about the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival before the Parks closed and doing our best to bring the virtual experience home to you.
- We get dressed. What better time to throw on whatever Disney merch makes you happy than right now? Whether it’s a cozy pair of Mickey leggings or some holiday ears or a spirit jersey, there’s no one around to question you if you want to put it on. And with video conferences’ only being from the waist up, who’s to know if you’re sporting a pair of Pixar pajama pants to that business meeting?? Your secret is safe with me. 😉
- We sing. If you’ve spent time in the Parks, you know the power of their music. From attraction soundtracks to nighttime shows to the music played on a loop in each distinctive land, the songs have a power to transport us. Sites like Sorcerer Radio let you stream the magic at home while you go about your day. We also heard from Disney Parks Blog that the Dapper Dans are using their #VoicesFromHome to share a touch of Disney magic with everyone. From Burbank, California to Houston Texas, they jumped online from home to sing “When You Wish Upon A Star” – and now they’re taking requests!!
- We breathe. You know no list of mine about bringing the magic home would be complete without at least mentioning Core Memory Candles. It’s shameless self promotion – yes – but one of the greatest gifts of this incredibly difficult time has been knowing that I’m able to bring people a piece of the Parks with my candles. It’s why I created them and I love knowing that they’re doing their job. Whether you’re craving Spaceship Earth or Pirates of the Caribbean, the Beach Club, Poly, and Contemporary lobbies or a cinnamon roll from Gaston’s Tavern, I have you covered. In the words of my sweet friend Meghan, who just ordered another candle haul, about her Fall of Rome candle: “Lisa…has perfectly created, in my opinion, the most loved and known scent in all of Walt Disney World. I love having the Walt Disney World magic in my home, now more than ever.”
- We are transported. Another dear friend, Jason Canapp, launched a wonderful site last year called Here With the Magic that features full immersion video of some of the most relaxing spots on property. On his site and his YouTube channel, you’ll find footage on the beaches of Aulani, the hub in Magic Kingdom, the Japan pavilion in Epcot, and on and on. It’s pure video in some of the spots that we, as Disney fans, often find ourselves just standing still and smiling. You can watch his stuff on your phone, computer, or television – or, if you have an Oculus or something similar on hand, you can jump in feet first and take it in in 180 or 360 degrees.
- We eat. If you know me, you know my heart and my tastebuds are deeply connected – and so buying or recreating some of our favorite Disney menu items is a sure way to feel closer to Home. And sure you can buy Mickey ice cream bars at Publix – but you can also make some of your favorite treats in your own kitchen – and that doubles as quality family time!! We’ve found great recipes on Disney Parks Blog and also sites like Delish and Disney Food Blog.
- We learn. One of the most challenging AND rewarding things about all of this is juggling my usual work schedule with homeschooling the kids. But we’ve found some ways to make it really special – including bringing a little Disney magic into our lessons. We are working our way through Khan’s Academy’s Imagineering in a Box and I don’t think I could possibly say enough good things about it. The lessons are deeply immersive and take you through creating a park, attractions, and characters with video and exercises led by Imagineers like Joe Rohde. It’s also one of the most ageless things we’ve ever done as a family. My first grader is getting as much out of it as my fourth grader and I are. Along these lines, we’ve also been keeping up with the still very much ongoing activities of the animals and the Cast Members that care for them over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I wrote about the newborn porcupette there yesterday and how knowing that life continues on in that Park helps during the closures. If you head over to Disney Parks Blog again, you’ll also see the newborn zebra that was born just this weekend! For a regular dose of educational and happy news like this, follow Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team, over on Instagram at @DrMarkAtDisney. Disney Parks Blog has also told us about how you can also learn more about the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom over at DisneyNOW.
- We are together. I don’t want to get too corny…but you guys – the most important thing about any Disney vacation, or time otherwise spent in the Parks, is that we are together with our families. That’s the memories that we bring home. That’s what your kids value the most about family trips. It’s that time spent putting aside the worries of the world and just focusing on each other without distraction. And so while I know it hurts to cancel those trips right now – know that the most meaningful thing about them is still right at your fingertips. You are home and so are your loved ones. You will likely never again get this much ’round the clock one-on-one time with your children. And I get it. We’re stressed. We’re worried. We’re juggling working from home and chores and homeschooling and there are moments when we’re at the end of our wits and patience. But if you can take a moment or more here or there – perhaps more and more as we settle into this temporary new normal – to appreciate the time together, we’ll all be better on the other end of this.
* * * * * * * *
And that, my friends, is a look into one way that we’re weathering this storm. And now I want to hear from you. How are YOU bringing the magic home right now?