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Disney Movie Premieres: Celebrate with Us!!

by Christy Viszoki and Leslie Watson Harris

So many of us live each day thinking of/dreaming of/saving for/planning for our next Disney vacation.  One of our favorite ways of coping with the longing for a Disney trip is to incorporate some Disney magic into our everyday lives.  Best friends separated by five states, we enjoy sharing ways with one another to sprinkle some pixie dust in between work, runs to school, packing lunches, laundry, PTO meetings….

We’d like to share with you our latest plan: to have Disney movie premiere activities as a way of “plussing” an already magical Disney movie experience! “The Lion King 3-D” premiere slated for this Friday, September 16, gave us a great opportunity to put together some fun, family-focused activities for our families and yours–and hopefully will give your Lion King 3-D experience a little MORE Disney magic!

With each Movie Premiere, we will share our ideas for how to lengthen the movie experience, from fun family recipes to craft ideas to discussion questions and educational enrichment suggestions. We invite YOU to share in the magic, too!  Please comment to this post with YOUR ideas for “plussing” your movie premiere!

If YOU plus your Lion King 3-D experience, send us a picture and tell us what you did!  You can use our ideas, adapt them, or create new ones of your own!  Regardless, please tell us about it!  One random submission will be chosen to receive a WDW radio prize pack! We will feature some of the notes in a future blog post.  You can send pictures and descriptions to Christy@WDWRadio.com

Have fun–and remember: Hakuna Matata!!   ~Christy & Leslie

Lion King Party Food Ideas

The menu for our party includes:

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
Ants on a Log
Lion cupcakes

Ants on a Log

This is a great after school treat, and it can be tailored to fit your kids’ tastes and dietary needs.  I started with celery stalks, washed and trimmed, and chose to fill mine with peanut butter since that’s a perennial favorite in our house.  You can also use almond butter, nutella, cream cheese (plain or flavored) or even pimento cheese.  This is a fun snack to make with the kids, as even the youngest in your house can help place the “ants” (raisins) on the logs.

Do you remember haystacks from your childhood? I sure do!  And guess what else?  They were one of Walt Disney’s favorite treats!

Here’s what you’ll need:

11oz butterscotch morsels (like chocolate chips, but butterscotch)
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
2 (5oz) cans of chow mein noodles
3 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Prepare baking trays by lining them with either wax paper, parchment or silpat baking mats.

Put butterscotch morsels in a large, microwave-safe bowl, and cook at 70% power for 1 minute.  Remove, stir, and then continue to microwave for additional 10 to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter until well blended.  Add chow mein noodles and marshmallows.  Mix with a wooden spoon until coated, then drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lion King Family Activity

One of my constant aspirations is to get caught up on my scrapbook of memories.  Why not make a Disney movie premiere an opportunity to reflect on the last Disney vacation–or on all your Disney vacations?  My children and I worked together to create a Lion King-inspired acrostic poem, using “Hakuna Matata” as the arm of the poem.  after all, a Disney vacation is all about “no worries” and “all fun!”

We worked together to brainstorm memories to incorporate into the poem and then had to “prune” them down to capture everyone’s thoughts.  It was great fun to hear Disney memories through the children’s lens, and the finished product is 100% of their doing.  My daughter created a final draft, which can be embellished with pictures or become the centerpiece of a wall collage of Disney pictures.

We thought of other Lion King acrostics…. why not complete a CIRCLE OF LIFE acrostic and write sentences about members of your family?  My daughters so enjoyed the Hakuna Matata poem that they completed a CIRCLE OF LIFE one as well.  They had the great idea of making copies to give their aunts and uncles (the stars of the poem) for Christmas.  Talk about a heartfelt gift!  You could also write an acrostic using CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE as a way of recording wonderful memories for your child.  Wouldn’t that be a great gift to give your son or daughter as a birthday gift?

Let us know if you try an acrostic.  We’d love to share some reader samples, or other ideas for the base of the acrostic!

Family Dinner Table Conversation

Certainly one of the major themes of The Lion King is the emphasis on the centrality and importance of family.   Why not honor that theme with a fun dinner table conversation centering on the themes of the movie?  You can print these questions below and cut them into slips of paper.  Put them in a bowl and have family members take turns sharing their thoughts!   Parents: don’t underestimate the power of family stories!  The kids will love to know what foods you disliked as a child or hearing which of your family members you think your child most looks like.  Family time is precious–enjoy the conversation!

What was your favorite part of the movie?  Was it better in 3-D?

If you could be any character in the movie, which would you be and why?

If you could write a different ending to the movie, what would it be?

Simba sees a reflection of his father and realizes he is his father’s legacy.  What member of your family are you most similar to?  In what way?

Mufasa tells Simba how the stars in the sky representing the great kings of the past.  What is the favorite story your parents ever told you?

Pumbaa and Timon convince Simba to eat bugs.  What is your least favorite food to eat?

There is a great celebration in Pride Rock when Simba is born.  What traditions or ceremonies were connected to your birth?

What other discussion questions can you think of?  Share your ideas with us! 

Educational Connections

I’m regularly accused of being a bit (?) of a nerd, so I can’t help but see this movie as a great way to sneak in some “teachable moments” for your children.  You could check out some of these activities before or after the movie, as either a way of introducing or wrapping up some of the major messages in the film.

Investigate how monarchies are organized.  You can find some fun information at http://www.royal.gov.uk/ and a site for kids at http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/government/monarchy.htm

Check out what the food chain really looks like!  Some neat sites include  http://www.vtaide.com/png/foodchains.htm and a site for kids at http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/chain_reaction/index.cfm

Disney Theatrical has a number of great activities to accompany the Broadway version of the show.  Check it out!  http://s3.broadway.com/mediaspot/1.699.pdf

Teachers!  Home schooling parents!  Have any of you used the “Lion King” as an educational resource?  Share your ideas with us and we can include them in a future blog!

Please enjoy and share your thoughts and ideas with us!!  And stay tuned for our next Movie Premiere Celebration: THE MUPPETS, coming in mid-November!