Wednesday, July 31, 2019

#NowMoreThanEver Our First Disney Playdate | Bring the Magic of Disney Parks at Home!

Now more than ever is the time to be inside the magic of Disney Parks! We were given the opportunity to host a Disney themed playdate with Disney Parks, and show our family and friends how "we Disney." All opinions expressed are my own.

Last week we celebrated with our family and friends our love for Disney in a fun, exciting way—with a #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate! About 200 other Disney loving family bloggers were sent themed boxes spanning from Disney Princess to Mickey Mouse, and we were given fun tips and ideas to throw a playdate for preschoolers with a Disney twist. I loved all of their ideas and really appreciate their hard work!  I just had to put my own stamp on our playdate, and I think we succeeded. Don’t get me wrong, we had a few mishaps—like the extremely high temperature and the massive power outage that managed to miss my parents’ house. We even got a visit from Fox 5 News! Check out the full video coverage here on our YouTube channel, and make sure you give our sponsors some love too by checking out our social media posts. Big thank you to Disney Parks, Popped Passion, Jakks Pacific, Pillow Pets, and Michael Angelo's for including your amazing products to help make our #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate a success!

How does a #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate work? 

Lucky participants are selected to share their view of Disney Parks through the lens of a Disney themed playdate - a group of about 10 kids come together to enjoy crafts and treats using the tools included with the themed boxes. Each participant's box is a different theme. Part of the fun is seeing what fellow bloggers create with their box of goodies! Inside the box are Disney themed party supplies, goodies and treats for the kids provided by Michael Angelo's Frozen Italian MealsPopped Passion, JAKKS Pacific and Original Pillow Pets. There was also a food coupon for moms and dads who need a little break from cooking dinner from Michael-Angelo’s Italian food. I have never heard of Michael-Angelo’s before, and now I’m hooked! It was so easy to pop their dinners in the oven and then serve at playdate! I give myself a break and throw in Michael-Angelo’s in the oven for an easy meal, add a salad to look like I tried, but you don’t have to as Michael Angelo's meals are hearty and filling on their own. I don’t like frozen food, especially Italian, but this is an exception. 

Popped Passion are delightful treats that cut like a cake! Each Popcorn Passion cake is made to order and stay fresh for up to six weeks. I was so nervous about it going bad before our playdate, but this Popped Passion cake tasted so good and was fresh! Everyone loves popcorn, and mixing popcorn and marshmallow is like a small slice of heaven. Adding in some yummy gummies and a touch of Disney magic (with a hidden Mickey oreo and Mickey confetti) really dressed up our playdate welcome table! Popcorn Passion was the perfect addition to our #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate. 

Beautiful Princess dolls and Disney Princess dresses by JAKKS Pacific provide the best way to create magical moments during pretend playtime at home! Choose from a variety of Disney Princess from Disney Aladdin, Disney Junior Elena of Avalor, Disney Little Mermaid, and more. Each dress is adorned with unique details that only a well versed Disney Princess in training would notice. Some Disney Princesses even have more than one dress option as you can wear Princess Jasmine's beautiful, gown from the new Disney Aladdin live-action movie, and the original harem-style pants outfits that Princess Jasmine wore in the original animated version. JAKKS Pacific has a whole collection of Disney Princess toys for pretend play and more! JAKKS Pacific has an adorable Disney Princess trunk that every Disney Princess should have as it includes a bunch of cool accessories and works so well with the magic that is their toy line.

Michael Angelo's gives parents a break. Seriously, I am tired after an entire day with the kids - cooking dinner is the last thing I am thinking about. I don't meal plan as much as I try to; I just can't seem to get it together. Mamas, help! Thankfully, I now have a new pal in the kitchen, Michael Angelo's frozen Italian meals! With real ingredients, no preservatives, and a variety of meal options like Lasagne, Fettucine Alfredo, Manicotti and more, dinner is ready in no time at all. I was so impressed by Michael Angelo's that I filled my freezer for the rest of the summer. I am done cooking! It is just too hot in my kitchen. With Michael Angelo's I can set the oven, make a salad to add some extra health, wait for that timer to go off, and dinner is served under an hour. 

Michael Angelo's hearty meals are full of flavor, and my favorite is their Eggplant Parmigiana. When you see Michael Angelo's in your grocer's freezer, grab a bunch, because they go fast! You can find Michael Angelo's at Walmart and at Target. 

We were so excited to find an Original Pillow Pets Mickey Mouse pillow inside our playdate package! Original Pillow Pets are plush pets that fold up to become comfy pillows. Original Pillow Pets also include your favorite characters from Disney! The latest ones to come out are for the new Toy Story 4 film featuring Ducky and Bunny! You can also get an Alien Original Pillow Pet! They make awesome accessories for the nursery too, I love the Disney Mickey Mouse Sleeptime Lite that emits a colorful light show for kiddos, which is a great way to calm down before bed. The Original Pillow Pet was included as a gift for participating, and we just love their products so much, so it was a very nice surprise! The Denim Mickey and Minnie collection is super cute as well. 

We've got ears, say cheers! I got my first set of beautiful Minnie Mouse ears! I only ever had the Mickey Mouse Club hat, so getting my first pair of ears was a real treat for me. They are just gorgeous, and something I would never get for myself. It was nice to be thought of during this campaign. Thank you, Disney Parks

It also really does take a village, so I reached out to our favorite companies to help us along with sharing our love of Disney. Funny thing is before I received our #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate package, I reached out to JAKKS Pacific to donate some products! Before I could get a response, our package arrived with JAKKS Pacific toys inside. Win, win!

Working with more companies who love Disney like us really brought such a personal touch! Plus it felt really good to give more prizes to the kids! I would also like to thank Just PlayFunkoKangaroo Manufacturing/Super Cool SlimeMoosh-Moosh, ZURU, and Sunstaches for providing more amazing prizes for the kids to fill their swag bag! I even found awesome JAKKS Pacific toys on clearance at Target that also served as game prizes. We had 15 kids at our #NowMoreThanEver Playdate, and I have to say these companies really pulled through and warmed by heart! My sincerest token of gratitude!

Choosing a Disney party theme! 

We were sent The Lion King-themed box and inside were party tools like The Lion King party plates, masks, and even The Lion Guard piñata. You know Kyon, that’s Simba and Nala’s son! 

Disney The Lion Guard Pinta

I decided to pair our playdate with our sons’ birthday party- they’re not twins they’re just both born in August. Combining the two was a breeze as I’m all about themed birthday parties. I took The Lion King theme from our #NowMoreThanEver Disney playdate package and combined it with my own idea thus creating our Saved by the Tinker Bell party where we celebrated our favorite ‘90s Disney movies along with our love for visiting Walt Disney World. 

Walt Disney World Resort, our HOME away from Home

Now more than ever before, Walt Disney World is the one-stop vacation destination, especially for families—not only for the magic but for the convenience that Disney Parks creates for parents. Explore the world at Epcot, visit Batuu at the new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, play all day in Andy's backyard at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios, experience the magic of classic Disney movies at Disney's Magic Kingdom, experience a land of no worries at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and so much more!

With all of our favorite ‘90s movies and the added help from Disney Parks I was on a mission to create a magical day for our friends and family. We focused on ‘90s movies like Toy Story, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Nightmare Before Christmas, and A Bug’s Life.

To celebrate Beauty and the Beast at our party, Jakks Pacific included a beautiful Princess Belle toddler doll and a gorgeous Disney Princess Belle gown. These were amazing prizes for two special party guests! I wanted to include the magical rose within our playdate, so I came with this fun craft! I didn't want to take too much time with crafts, so I made up my own just using pipe cleaners and a fun storyline. Pair two green pipe cleaners to create a stem, twirl your favorite colored pipe cleaner around your pointer finger, do this twice to create roses. Attach your pipe cleaner roses to the pipe cleaner stem. Make as many as you can to fill the vase to give the Beast more time for Belle to fall in love with him. The kids loved it! I gave away awesome Super Cool Slime and Moosh-Moosh Skwishy Plushy to the participants. This activity was done at the start of our playdate, and a lot of kids did not arrive on time. Many have younger siblings who were still napping at the time of our party. 

Disney Parks are known for sharing in the magic, and the joy of any Disney Parks vacation is before, during, and after. Before, because the planning process is seriously so much fun! I love fake Disney vacation planning and sometimes I even book a trip because I cannot pass up a deal. During, because you're in the most magical place on Earth! After, because I like to look back and reminisce a lot, so capturing those precious moments are super important. At our Disney playdate, I included a fun photo booth station where we created our own “Magic Shots” and guests can share their own Disney story. Magic Shots are available throughout all Disney Parks. When you ask a friendly Disney Photopass photographer to take a snap of you, ask for a magic shot, too. The surprise is the best as you don’t know who or what will be in your photo. When booking a Disney vacation, consider Memory Maker as an add-on to your Disney vacation package as you’ll have all of your memories professionally captured at various spots throughout the parks and at some resort character dining experiences at deluxe resorts. The value of Memory Maker can not be beaten as it includes unlimited photos throughout the Parks, and even at Disney Springs at their photo studio. Whenever we go, we head to Disney Springs to have our professional family photos were taken, which we use for the kids’ birthdays and even our Christmas card! Our Disney Magic Shots “booth” was a hit! Including your own “booth” at your own party is a cinch too, for about $5 at Five Below you can get fun photo booth props and just make a sign and snap a photo against a nice background—even a brick wall will do or a plain sheet. Easy peasy! Plus, they make for nice “thank you” cards, too. 

We love Toy Story, and any Disney-Pixar fan knows 2019 was the year for Toy Story with the fourth sequel that came, this release opened the door to a whole new fan base! Fans young and old got to experience the magic unfold on screen with our old pals Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and even Bo! At Disney Parks, you can now meet with Bo at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land. An even newer face is there as well, Forky! Forky is Bonnie’s “friend” that she made in class in Toy Story 4. I created a life-size Forky for the kids to enjoy at #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate, and he was a hit! Check out my tutorial video on our YouTube channel. For about $20 you can create your own Forky-check out my blog post for the full “ingredients” list!

It was super hot on the day of our playdate, so having water activities and kiddie pools for the kids were a must-do. I had a bunch of pools and sprinklers set up including Bunch o Balloons water balloons provided by ZURU which are the easiest water balloons to fill ever. Coconut Float also sent us a cool Indoraptor and Swan blow-up floats for our kiddie pool! One lucky guest took the Indoraptor home! I also blew up our floats with using the Bunch o Balloons self-sealing balloon party kit! I used this kit to blow up balloons for our #NowMoreThanEver Disney Playdate, blow up the pools, and the floats. 

I also thought it would be fun to include Partysaurus Rex from Toy Story’s short of the same name. I used a large Rex doll we had and made his Viking helmet. You can check out that tutorial video here.  I also included glow sticks and water toys from the dollar store at our Disney Playdate. I used our Gazillion Bubbles Bubble Rush by Funrise to blow tons of bubbles around the kids! Now more than ever, the magic continues at Disney Parks, too, because now until August 24, 2019, you can experience the party with Partysaurus Rex at during H2O Glow Nights on select nights at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park.  Partysaurus Rex hosts a fun-filled event reminiscent of the Disney Pixar short. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is a seriously fun water park that has so much to do - from surf lessons, water slides, kiddie areas, and more! Keep in mind that H2O Glow Nights is a separate event and is in the evening. 

A fun, and nearly free activity for a Disney Playdate would be to locate hidden Mickeys throughout your event! I planted silhouettes of Mickey heads throughout the backyard. The kids had so much fun looking! Even when they found them all, I told them there were more. Throughout all Disney Parks are hidden Mickeys. You can find them hidden in the walkways of Disney Parks, in the tiles of walls, and they are also hidden in Disney Parks merchandise - most notably Disney Parks pins. 

A fun activity for kids now at parties is to create their own cupcakes! I made a bunch of sugar sheets of rainbows that I colored with food-safe markers, Vienna fingers for Forky's legs, and provided the different colored icing, Twizzlers for arms, and the cupcakes for the kids to create Forky from Toy Story 4. I am sad to say that I do not have one photo of them enjoying the cupcakes. Although, I do remember pointing my camera at them. #Motherhood

We love Disney Trivia! For a great filler to keep the kids busy as our Disney Playdate wound down, we played some Disney-themed Trivia. You would be surprised to know how much these kids know! From questions like, which Disney Princess where a red bow? Or name a Disney Princess who lost her shoe. Funny questions like that really got the kids, and parents, too, totally amped up! Now more than ever is the time to go to Disney Parks! Share in the magic and the wonder of it all! 

I hope you enjoyed the way we Disney! I hope our guests had a blast, too. The smiles on the children's faces and the laughter heard throughout the day really made this experience so magical. Thank you so much Disney Parks, Maria Bailey and her team for putting everything together for us and giving us great ideas and tools to create the best day ever! 

I just want to add if you're planning a party for Disney, planning a party for yourself - just roll with it! We had a huge power outage, a visit from Fox 5 news, and the hottest recorded day of July 2019 -- worse things can happen! We smiled, we ate, we played, we laughed, we sweated, but most importantly, we had FUN!

I also want to add that not everyone can afford to go to Walt Disney World on a whim - if it's not in the cards for you to visit Disney Parks now, use some of these fun tools to bring the magic of Disney at home! 

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney 
My mantra!

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