Unleashing Our Disney Side

Let’s face it, for many of us parents Disney vacations aren’t just for the children. While a Disney vacation may be a magical jaunt for the little ones — a fun way to unite in a fun-filled, virtually rules-free environment — it’s Disney Sidealso a welcome opportunity for parents to lose all inhibitions and succumb to the magic that Disney and all of its timeless and enchanting stories represent.

When our family recently enjoyed a Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation, my first thought was that the trip would be all about the kids. “It’ll be nice to see the wide smiles on their faces. That alone will make the whole trip worthwhile”, I thought to myself. But when we walked through those magical gates, my eyes widened and the five-year-old me was released full-force.

My heart raced as I scanned the perimeter for the faces of familiar Disney characters. Suddenly, I had no problem with skipping down the street, wearing mouse ears, and singing my favourite childhood tunes in public. The sight of the world-renowned giant mouse gave me butterflies in my stomach, and I had to resist the urge to push little ones aside for my turn at a hug with the loveable rodent. And I was captivated by the angelic voices of our favourite Disney princesses as they gracefully glided past us as though they had strolled straight out of the movie screen and onto the street on which we walked.

Our trip was a whirlwind of adventure, magic, and ongoing fun — and not just for the children, but for us adults as well.

Since returning home to the monotony of daily routines and overbooked schedules, we try our best to relive our favourite Disney moments whenever possible. Many nights are spent curled up as a family watching some of our favourite Disney movies — Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, and Toy Story are just a few of many favourites in our home. We sing our favourite Disney tunes in harmony (the latest: “Let It Go” from the Frozen soundtrack), and play make-believe with Disney figurines. And on occasion, our pancakes take the shape of Mickey Mouse, which never ceases to light up the faces of our little mouseketeers.

I think it’s important to take time out of our busy lives every once in awhile, to relive our childhood memories and create new ones for our children. And in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we could all use a little more light-hearted childhood fun, am I right?

There’s No Party Like A Disney Costume Party

Since taking her first steps and speaking her first words, my daughter has loved Disney princesses. For hours she would play in her room, adorned in tiaras and floor-length gowns, serving tea to the guests in her Disney Costumeprincess castle and speaking gently in a high-pitched princess voice. When her game was complete, the floor of her room was littered from end to end with sparkly, crinoline-lined pink, yellow and light blue dresses, multicoloured tiaras, and magical wands. We would pack up all of her costumes into a Disney princess-covered dress-up trunk, and tuck it all away neatly until the next royal visit.

When my son was born, he had no interest in princess play, but was immediately drawn to the captivating characters of such Disney favourites as Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Cars. He would spend hours lying on his stomach on his car track play mat which covered the floor of his bedroom, with his miniature Lightning McQueen figurine in his hand as he vroomed! and beeped! it around the track. Speaking in a deep and raspy voice, he would command the other cars to follow closely. When he wasn’t playing with cars, he was jumping off surfaces with a rocket ship in hand, pretending to be Buzz Lightyear adventuring through space. And as he grew older, a cape became a daily must-wear accessory, and The Incredibles his new obsession. Suddenly his life revolved around superheroes and the desire to possess superpowers.

My children are now four and six years old, and while they used to play separately, unable to find a way to combine the magical princess play with the rough and tumble cars and superheroes, they have now begun to find ways to combine their differing interests and play together happily.

Mimicking their favourite characters from Disney’s Frozen, they wrap blankets around their necks and hang buckets on their heads, pretending to be Elsa and Kristoph as they march around the house singing “Let It Go” in harmony while dancing in imaginary snow. They build ice castles out of sheets hung from the edges of couches and chairs, and talk to an invisible Olaf, laughing at his jokes and slapstick tumbles.

In a world where technology has begun to dominate play time, I’m so thankful that my children enjoy playing dress up, engaging in imaginative play, and acting out scenes from their favourite Disney movies. I’m going to continue to encourage it, and hope that it continues for years to come!

A Disney Dream Come True

I’ve written a few posts on how blogging has changed my life and the fantastic opportunities that have come to me through my humble little writing space in the blogosphere. I’ve also shared with you my first family vacation experience with my little ones – a Mexican cruise with some of our closest family members. While memorable and full of adventure, my children were less than enthused about their first cruise experience. But what I haven’t shared with you, what I’ve been keeping a secret for almost a year from even my closest family and friends, is the most exciting opportunity, and most treasurable family experience I think my family will ever encounter, thanks to a promotion I did with Disney Junior and Disney Cruise Line.

Last August, I was contacted by a representative from Disney after she had browsed through my blog and social media sites. She was looking for Canadian moms who fit a list of criteria, and I had met the requirements and was offered the opportunity to apply for an undisclosed Disney assignment. Without knowing the details of the opportunity, I agreed to the terms, and our family submitted a video for consideration.

When they called to notify me that our family had been chosen, I was speechless. We were to go on an all-inclusive Disney vacation to film promotional spots for a contest run by Disney Junior, but we were to tell no one.

With only a few family and friends aware that we were leaving town (and no one aware of where we were going and why), we packed up and travelled to Florida where our adventures began.

Our Disney jaunt began with a fun-filled day at Walt Disney World, a first time visit for all of us. Equipped with all-day Magic Your Way park passes and a gift card to spend at our leisure, our family ventured into the magical world and were mesmerized by the characters, sights and park attractions that surrounded us. We strolled through castles, hugged princesses, and rode through enchanted places on rides unique only to Disney Parks. With the blink of an eye, our day was over and we were exhausted, unable to wipe the ear-to-ear grins from our faces.

The next morning, we boarded our Disney Dream cruise and headed for a Bahamian dream vacation.

When we stepped aboard the Disney Dream ship, our surroundings took our breath away. With a warm welcome announcement and applause from the ship’s crew, we strolled through the Atrium and into a magical Disney wonderland at sea.

Our itinerary was filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences: private encounters with beloved Disney characters, a red carpet interview before  the Golden Mickey’s evening show, and a private cabana on an exclusive island in the Bahamas.

We enjoyed rides on the AquaDuck – an elevated “water coaster” that wraps around the ship’s exterior. Our children spent hours splashing around in the Mickey Pool, and Nemo’s Reef spray park, and the hubs and I were able to get away for a little grown up time at Senses Spa, and the beautiful adult exclusive Palo restaurant.

And unlike on our previous cruise, our kids enjoyed every minute of their time at the Oceaneer Club – a children’s activity centre filled with Disney-themed play areas (the life-sized replica of Andy’s Room from Toy Story was so amazing, us adults wanted to spend the day playing in there too!), engaging and fun activities, and a friendly and enthusiastic staff of counsellors.

The ports-of-call were equally as exciting. We strolled the breathtaking beaches and observed the unique and colourful architecture that decorated the shoreline of Nassau, and spent an action-packed day at Castaway Cay – a private island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise guests, and featuring water parks, an open-air BBQ, various water activities, Disney character encounters, and lots of beach fun!

Our trip was a whirlwind of adventure, magic, and ongoing family fun, and was an experience that we will never forget. And our entire experience was captured on camera for Disney Junior viewers to enjoy through the eyes of a real-life family.

Want to win a once-in-a-lifetime Disney Cruise experience like ours? Click on the link below for contest details.

ENTER TO WIN A DISNEY CRUISE VACATION HERE

Watch Disney Junior during the month of August to see our full, four-part promotional series
on our adventures aboard the Disney Dream, and to learn more about this exciting contest.
For channel information in your area, visit this link: Disney Junior Channels