It’s Christmas Eve! All the planning, wrapping, cooking and visiting has led us to these few days. Then, when we wake up Thursday morning it’s with a new question. What are we supposed to do for the rest of our family’s winter break? If you’re an adult, the answer may be cleaning, organizing and more shopping but what if you have a child whose favorite question is: What are we going to do today? I have a few ideas to bring some Disney into your holiday break and help keep the family entertained (with or without children).
I think we all have extensive Disney DVD libraries, but when was the last time you watched The Black Cauldron or Olive & Company? This is the perfect time to dust off the movies we haven’t seen in ages and have a relaxing movie day. Even better, wear pajamas, order pizza and make it a Disney movie marathon. I’m always amazed at how much I forget about past favorite movies. Of course, it doesn’t have to be old movies. You can spend a day watching everyone’s favorite movies. If you’re watching DVD or Blu-ray (instead of VHS), don’t forget to check out the extras. I think that some of the animated bloopers and short films are priceless. Are you by yourself and want to test your memory? Watch a movie and see how much of it you can recite with the characters/actors. If it’s the whole movie, you might want to find another favorite for a while!
Cook Up Some Disney Tasty Teats
You may be thinking that you’ve spent enough time in the kitchen over the holiday, but this will be fun, I promise. When I was younger, my favorite book was Disney’s Ultimate Craft Book which happened to include 30 fun recipes. Kids will have a great time in the kitchen with this because, not only are you cooking, but you’re making foods in the theme of your favorite Disney characters. For example, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” Pudding that looks like young Simba, Cinderella’s Cream Puff Coaches that look like the Princess’ carriage, Aladdin’s Lamp Cupcakes which have a powdered sugar lamp on top and open to reveal a Hershey Kiss surprise, Cruella Cones which are ice cream cones that you decorate to resemble Cruella’s hair then make her face out of ice cream! Okay, you get the picture, and I now want to go make Toulouse les Crepes!
If your palate is a little more sophisticated, my current favorite Disney recipe book is Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs. This is a collection of recipes from Walt Disney World parks and resorts, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. Who would have thought the Disney chefs would be willing to share their recipes for Mom’s Meat Loaf (50’s Prime Time Café), Grapefruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Hollywood Brown Derby) and Crab Cakes (Flying Fish Café) from Walt Disney World; Papaya Crème Brulee (Disney’s PCH Grill) and Walt Disney’s Own Chili and Beans (Plaza Inn) from Disneyland; or Maple-Glazed Salmon with Onion-Mashed Potatoes (Animator’s Palate) and Konk Kooler (Castaway Cay) from Disney Cruise Line. By my count there are 99 fantastic recipes for you to try. You’re sure to find something that you loved on a vacation that you can recreate at home. Yes, you will spend some time in the kitchen but, if you’re like me, the tastes and smells of past vacations make it seem like you are almost there again.
Treat Yourself to a Disney Show
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where Disney On Ice is scheduled to visit, this is definitely not “just for the kids”. Think you’ve already seen Disney On Ice? Look again because there are five versions of the show currently on their website. Check online to find out if any of the shows are near you, and see if you can still round up some tickets. If you are fortunate enough to live in the Northeast, New York City is always a hot spot to find a Disney show. Even better, some of these Broadway quality shows travel the country to visit other areas so you may be able to find one of these in your vicinity, too. Can’t find any? Have your own. Pick your child’s (or your) favorite show, round up some neighborhood kids and let them “make their own play”. True, this takes a lot more work than buying a ticket, but after a few days of practice, they will be ready for the parents’ viewing, and it will all be worth it.
Venture Out to the Movie Theater
Okay, so maybe treating yourself to a show or creating your own wasn’t tops on your list. How about grabbing some movie theater popcorn and seeing a Disney movie on the big screen. I can’t think of a better year for a Disney holiday movie. Frozen is great for all ages. It is the tale of the kingdom of Arendelle being cast into endless winter while a pair of sisters, a mountaineer and his reindeer try to break the spell. Another option, Saving Mr. Banks, of course. This movie tells the story of Walt Disney’s journey to convince Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers, to bring her beloved characters to life on the big screen. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it is one of the first items on my holiday break to do list.
If there are young children in the house, I have to refer back to a book I mentioned before, Disney’s Ultimate Craft Book. In addition to the 30 recipes we talked about earlier, there are 153 crafts! Not just any crafts but Disney crafts! You’ve made your cookies. Now, how about making the Mad Hatter’s Top Hat Tray to serve them on (trust me, Santa has had his cookies on this hat a few times), turn a pencil into the Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s Broom, use paper to make Fancy Fairies to watch over the kids, transform a juice box into John Smith’s Juice Box Ship or make Hercules’ Medallion out of a frozen juice can lid! This book is truly days and days of fun. My book is tattered, torn and full of sticky notes but it is a book I will never get rid. How cool would it be to make the same crafts with my children?
For the adults in the house, you can find lots of craft options right here on the WDW Radio blog in Fran Cassano’s series, Practically Perfect Disney Crafting.
Make Someone Smile
While this isn’t exactly Disney, it is certainly in the spirit of Walt Disney. There are so many ways that you can make someone smile this time of year. Maybe it’s just a friendly hello or a card for a neighbor. Maybe you bake some cookies for the homeless shelter. Maybe you buy a bag of dog food and take it to your local animal shelter. Did you ever see the residents’ faces light up when a child walks into a nursing home? This is the perfect time of year to make a family tradition that includes spreading the spirit of Walt. Trust me, it is never too early or late to adapt your family traditions to include something new. The possibilities are endless and only hindered by your imagination. You don’t have to see them smile-just know that you were able to touch someone-even if they never know it was you. In fact, I think one of the nicest feelings is waking up and wondering how many smiles you can create that day.
These are just some of the many things you can do to occupy your time over this amazing time of year. Whether you try one, two, or maybe even all of my suggestions, I know that your winter break will be filled with memories and fun. Maybe you can even take some of these ideas and make them your own. Happy Holidays!
(Photos from the authors personal collection.)
What’s your favorite thing to do over winter break? Leave a comment below!
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “Christmas isn’t about candy canes or lights all aglow, it’s the hearts that we touch and the care that we show.” ~ Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
Makena is a 15 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. You can follow Makena on twitter @Makattack98 or on Facebook (Makena Wolcott). Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.