One of the best ways to “bring home the magic” of Walt Disney World is by adding touches of your favorite attractions, amazing accommodations, parks and much more to your home décor. While some of these flourishes are unequivocally Disney and openly reflect an enthusiastic appreciation for the most magical place on earth, others may be less apparent reminders of wonderful times spent there.
Readers who follow my posts know that my husband and I love Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. So, it should come as no surprise that a tropical theme permeates the décor of our happy home. Over the years, we have chosen furniture, fabrics, wall art, and collectibles that reflect our fondness for the tranquil island atmosphere we experience and enjoy at the Polynesian as well as the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland. Of course, intermingled within our tropical paradise are some overt dashes of Disney.
If the walls of our home could speak, they would tell wonderful stories about each Disney item and/or theme within each room. You would learn about our fairy-tale honeymoon, memorable trips with our families, and the conversion of a spare room into a “small world” nursery. If you stopped by for a visit, you may not readily connect the laid-back island feel with the Polynesian Village Resort, but you would notice Disney present in understated and distinct ways as you toured our home where purchased and handcrafted pieces have been placed or hung with care.
It is my hope that our décor choices will provide inspiration on how to display, use and relive the magic in your own home! I have described items in the following two ways: Obviously Disney and Understated Disney.
First, Clearly Home Décor Items
These are items sold by Disney and are intended to be used in the home either for decoration or function.
Decorative Plates—I was young when WDW celebrated its 25th Anniversary, but I remember seeing advertisements for these plates in the Disney Magazine. It took me years to acquire the entire limited edition set via eBay.
David Doss Print—This print by Disney Fine Artist, David Doss, hangs in the entrance to our office and is an ever present reminder of beautiful days and nights spent on the Polynesian beach.
Snow Globes —Acquired over a six-year time span, a number of WDW-themed snow globes adorn our bookshelf. My favorite is…who am I kidding? I cannot choose a favorite!
Luau Bowl—Sold at WDW in 2013, this bowl is a replica of the ones that sat in the center of the table at the original Polynesian Luau. While there are small retro WDW logos around the base, visitors to our home would be unlikely to notice.
“Lover’s Trail” Print—My husband and I decided to splurge on our honeymoon, and purchase this limited edition, framed print at the Wyland Gallery that was located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House at the Polynesian. The exceptional sales representative offered to hold the painting for us until the artist, Dan Mackin, visited, at which time, he could personally add a heart in the sand with our initials and wedding date. Of course, we happily accepted the offer. Now our print is one-of- a- kind.
Family Crests—Purchased at the now-replaced Heritage House in Liberty Square, these family crests bear no Disney markings or resemblance. Nevertheless, we will forever know where we purchased them and that it took us four vacations to complete the set of four family names.
Second, Small and Subtle Touches
These are items acquired with another use in mind, but have, over time, become little accents in the home.
Tumbler Glass—Sold at McDonald’s restaurants in honor of the WDW Millennium Celebration. Now, it sits atop my desk holding all of my art essentials.
Luau Necklaces—Years ago, adult guests at the Spirit of Aloha dinner show received leis made of tiny seashells as opposed to flowers. My mother gave me the leis that she and my father were given, and now, they are draped amidst tropical rocks that sit on our television stand.
Third, Do-It-Yourself Designs
These are DIY design items that come from moments of WDW inspiration, which we have personally created and/or modified.
Calendar Prints—At the end of 2013, Disney released a 2014 wall calendar featuring replicas of attraction posters. My ordering fingers could not fly fast enough because I knew that the calendar could be dismantled and used for decor purposes once 2014 came to a close. I selected the Sunshine Tree Terrace and the Tropical Serenade pages to frame and hang on our large, open dining room wall.
Waterfall Painting—As an artist, I often create art pieces that are Disney or WDW themed for our home. While several reside in a portfolio, this pointillism painting of the waterfall inside the Great Ceremonial House atrium of the Polynesian Resort hangs near the front door of our home.
Light Bar Fixture and Shelf—Upon moving into our current home, we removed a light fixture in our bathroom only to find a large hole in the wall and an electrical box that was off-center above the sink. We repaired the hole but opted not to move the box. Instead, we decided to craft and center a wooden light bar fixture upon which I hand painted the same design that once ran the length of the bathroom sink vanity in the Polynesian guest rooms. We also built a shelf to match.
Artwork and Cornice Box—While pregnant with our first child, my husband and I decided we wanted to be surprised with regard to the baby’s gender. As such, we had to select a neutral theme for the nursery. After purchasing an “it’s a small world” themed tote to use as a diaper bag, I knew just what to do. The baby’s room could be decorated with touches of the tropical/jungle areas of “it’s a small world”. My husband built the window cornice box, and I hand painted the design. I also created several framed art pieces for the walls.
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
How do you “bring home the magic” with your home décor? Let us know in the comments section, on the WDW Radio Facebook page, or on Twitter (#bringhomethewdwmagic).
Kendall is an editor and contributing writer for WDW Radio. She began visiting Walt Disney World in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband. Her home-away-from-home is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and she believes a perfect day at WDW includes a dip in the Lava Pool, a ride on Splash Mountain and a Pineapple Dole Whip. Follow her on Twitter @kl_foreman.