As I am sure many of you know, Disney’s current campaign is “Show Your Disney Side.” People who visit the DisneySide.com site are able to share their own Disney side with the world and see what’s being posted and talked about online. They can also share with the hashtag #DisneySide across social media, including Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook.
In early 2015, Disney began seeking hosts and hostesses for what would be very special celebrations called DisneySide@Home Celebration parties. Of course being the Disney loving fanatic that I am, I applied the minute I heard about it. On January 5, I received an email from Disney Parks & Moms Select letting me know I had been chosen as a party hostess!
I wrote about my excitement here on the Magical DIStractions site: I’m flipping out! I was chosen to host a DisneySide@Home Celebration party! Several other members of the DIStracted team were also chosen and two of them, Caroline and Christen, wrote articles about their #DisneySide parties as well: 15 Hours of DIStracted #DisneySide Fun! and #DisneySide@HomeCelebration: Preschool Princess!
After reading the email, my mind immediately started swirling with ideas for a party theme, games that would be played, food that would be served and … and … and … yeah, I had lots of ideas! I bought all sorts of crafty things and started making the decorations even before my party box had shipped. You can see some of those projects in my “I’m flipping out” article.
When my party box arrived, I couldn’t wait to open it and see what treasures were inside, and boy, were there some treasures! It was filled with all kinds of goodies: Twinings Tea, Palace Pets, fingernail polish, All detergent, a Wilton Mickey shaped cake pan, a Duff Goldman Tie Dye cake mix, sprinkles and a plethora of other things to get the party started! Just look at everything that was in the box! Soooooo many things to make my DisneySide party perfecto! The party pack that I received was a “multi-generational” pack, meaning it catered to people of all ages which was great since my guests ranged in age from elementary school age to eighty-one.
If I thought I was excited before, I was even more so now that the party box had arrived! Emails and phone calls were made to friends and family in an effort to coordinate schedules. We all know that’s not an easy task when you have so many that you want to invite. With a big list, it was inevitable that someone wouldn’t be able to attend. But there was one date that was best for most … Saturday, February 28th! I had over a month to plan every single detail; a month to design the decorations; a month to get more and more geared up for the party!
After knocking around several different theme ideas, I decided to go with a Storybook Circus theme. Storybook Circus as in the one found at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
We live in a log home and I like a”rustic” style of decorating, so I knew my Storybook Circus would be an “ole time” circus. I am also big on recycling decorations and repurposing wood. Thanks to a cabinet builder husband, and owning a cabinet shop, repurposing things is a bit easier for me. Last fall John (my husband) and I made a wooden boat for use at our nephew’s second birthday party. His mother used the boat as a decoration and then gave it back to us so a niece could use it.
I transformed the boat into a circus tent!
In keeping with the theme of an ole time circus with a rustic feel, I made banners from burlap, jute string, stamps and acrylic paint. There were three banners in all, one you can see in the picture above and the others below.
One was draped on the front of the dining table and another was strung over one of my windows. On each flag there was a letter which combined to read “Disney Side.”
I have lots of “normal” serving dishes but this #DisneySide celebration called for something different and unique – something one might see food served in at a carnival or a circus. At Hobby Lobby, I bought rectangular shaped cardboard trays that were perfect for putting food items in, and I found paper hot dog wraps/trays too. Next I needed a unique setting for the serving trays. It needed to be pretty tall since the boat, I mean circus tent, was tall and it needed to fit with the theme. So out to the cabinet shop we went and came back with cute little “ticket booth” type tables that I put on each side of the circus tent.
The ticket booth tables were made from repurposed wood from a wooden fence we took down years ago. Many projects have been made from that fence. One was a fence for our Christmas stockings. On that fence we drew hearts and wrote our initials in chalk. While making the food tables, an idea popped into my head. Why not bring the fence into the Storybook Circus mix? The fence was placed in front of the window and underneath the DisneySide banner. The Disney characters would show their love and their DisneySide at my party too! Take a good look at the writing on the fence … there’s even a nod to the Magic Kingdom’s Tom Sawyer Island.
We also made a cute directional sign that I had near the dining table.
After being chosen as a DisneySide@Home Celebration hostess, I asked several companies if they would sponsor/donate items to the party. Luckily for my guests, three companies were more than happy to send goodies to give away or serve at the party.
One of those companies was Brothers All Natural. They sent two boxes of the Disney Fruit Crisps which were enough to serve to guests and send home with them too! Not only did they send the fruit crisps but they also provided a discount code to give to my guests. If you haven’t tried the Brothers All Natural Disney Fruit Crisps, you should! They are absolutely delicious! There’s nothing artificial and no added sugars or preservatives – just the best fruit around! I had the fruit crisps in an old crate and they were sitting right in front of the tent.
Another company that sent something was Crunch Pak. They were extremely generous and sent ten coupons that entitled the holders to an entirely free product! I used two of those coupons to pick up some sliced apples to serve at the party, and the others were given out in party bags to the guests. I had the apples served in the Mickey-shaped pan by Wilton that was provided in the party box. Unfortunately, the picture that I took of the snack table didn’t turn out well but you will see a snippet of the pan and apple slices in a couple pictures that I’ll be posting. The Crunch Pak apple slices were fresh and delicious and had a nice crunch to them.
As most people who have been to Downtown Disney know, it’s a fantastic place to shop and dine. I reached out to fit2run which has a store at Downtown Disney and at the Florida Mall (I didn’t know that at the time but found out as I was chatting with the fit2run rep.). The fit2run representative was more than happy to donate/sponsor as well. As one of the giveaways at the party, one of my guests would be awarded a fit2run gift card! More details on that giveaway are coming up.
I wanted to make sure that the companies were given credit for their generosity so I made cards to give to each guest.
As we were eating, and during the party, I made sure guests knew which items were provided in the DisneySide party box and which were given by the three companies. I also purchased quite a few Disney related items to use as game prizes as I didn’t want any guest to walk way empty-handed.
The party was held at 1:00 p.m., so I wanted to serve something other than just finger foods. Given that the theme was Storybook Circus, I served items that you would find at a carnival: hot dogs, Frito pies, hot ham sandwiches, Crunch Pak apples slices with various dips, Disney Fruit Crisps, pretzel balls, giant dill pickles, fresh popped popcorn, animal crackers, circus peanut candies, cookies and cupcakes!
We all settled into our living room to watch the Disney Vacation Planning DVD that was in the DisneySide party box. Many of the guests had never been to Walt Disney World and they all said they wanted to start planning a trip. Others had been before but not since the newest additions to Fantasyland. Our last trip to Walt Disney World was in May of 2014, but I still found myself ooh’ing and aah’ing while watching. As I was reminded by watching the vacation planning DVD, Walt Disney World really does have something for people of all ages and for every budget.
After watching the DVD, it was time to play games that were provided in the DisneySide party box! First up was Disney Bingo . The guests had bingo sheets with sections for Parks, Attractions, Show Your Disney Side, Characters and Resorts. We had so much fun playing that we played not once, not twice, not three times but many more! Each time we played, we were on pins and needles to hear who would be the first to shout “BINGO!”
One of those winners was my cousin’s daughter, Hallie! Hallie won the fit2run gift card but graciously gave it to her big brother, Reid. At the time of the party, I didn’t know the value of the gift card that would be mailed to Reid. After communicating with the fit2run representative after the party, I found out that Reid will receive a $50 gift card in the mail! I have to admit that I am a bit jealous!
Another game that came with the DisneySide party box was the Disney Character Word Search. A time limit was set for guests to find as many Disney character names as they could on the word search page. This was a little more challenging for the older guests so I extended the time in the hope they would catch up to those that were a bit more “in-the-know.” When time was up, I had everyone count the number of names they found and I awarded prizes to those who had the highest numbers.
Next up was a rousing game of Disney Trivia! I read the trivia question and someone would “buzz in” meaning shout out “I know!” or something similar. Some of the trivia questions were a bit tough like naming all Seven Dwarfs. Everyone kept leaving out Sleepy!
Watching the vacation planning DVD made the Disney Quote and Attraction Match-Up game a tad easier for guests who not been to Disney. Still, those who had been to a Disney park beat out the others. We have been to Walt Disney World twenty times and on one Disney Cruise. During those trips I have learned so much about the Disney resort. So while playing the different games, I took the opportunity to throw in a bit of my own knowledge/trivia.
Also in the DisneySide box was a Tree of Life family tree with a large poster of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life and leaves to write on and paste to the poster. Those were sent home with the guests so they could complete them when they had more time.
When I decided to go with a carnival theme (prior to naming it Storybook Circus), I wanted to play a game that is associated with a carnival and immediately thought of a bean bag toss. John made the board and I painted it. Hallie, Hunter and my mother, Nennie, were the best of the best!
Every guest who attended won a prize. Every item in the DisneySide party box was either used during the party, was given away as a prize, or was in a bag guests could take home. Nobody can walk away from a DisneySide@homecelebration party without a prize!
I had everyone go into the dining room so I could take pictures of their smiling faces and their prizes.
Most of the decorations for the party were in the dining room area but I did have a few decorative pieces in the living room. The Up house that I made and placed on a table in the living room:
For years, we bought John Mickey statues at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I had one sitting on each of the three tables in the living room. If you are ever in Hollywood Studios and are looking for a unique gift, the statues are reasonably priced and there are several different plaques that you can choose from.
As goodbye hugs were exchanged, I was told by everyone that they had a wonderful time and it was good to share our love for each other and for Disney! I thought it turned out to be a fantastic party, if I do say so myself. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that hosting this party was right up my Disney lovin’ alley. I had an absolute blast planning, preparing and hosting the DisneySide@HomeCelebrations party. It was such an honor to be chosen as a hostess!
Now I await a time when I can apply to host another Disney party! In the meantime I’m counting down the days until we are back on Walt Disney World in May/June of 2015! Look out Walt Disney World here we come!