My kids can’t get enough of Once Upon a Time (OUAT), the popular ABC series in its fourth season. So that show was the obvious choice when we started brainstorming the theme for our Disney Side @Home Celebration. It’s a perfect marriage of all things Disney, fantasy, and storytelling in a TV show. So just like there are many elements to producing a TV show, it also takes many elements to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. But oh what a joy the final product is!
Let me break it down for you from start to finish:
Costumes, Props and Set Decorations
You can’t set the mood unless you have a great set! I wanted to make sure I could pull off the OUAT theme, so I began by turning to Pinterest and Googling for ideas. Special shout out to my friend Disney Donna Kay who has an excellent blog post and collage of ways you can create a OUAT themed party! Of course, I wanted the food table to be a real WOW moment, and when I saw THIS fabulous one that won a decorating contest, our goal was to recreate it!
I was immediately excited–I mean, come on, the wallpaper screamed Regina’s office! I mentioned this to a friend about how I would love to find the wallpaper but maybe would have to forgo the idea. 3 days later, a mystery cylinder arrived from Amazon with the wallpaper inside–my friend had ordered it for me! Talk about Disney magic! After the wallpaper, my next favorite touch was the chandelier we placed just above the table. It really set the stage for the food!
I borrowed most of my decorations from a friend who is a successful caterer. One of the items I snagged was a window pane with 6 openings. Fortunately, I had printed 6 stock photos of OUAT characters and was trying to decide how to display them. This window pane was the answer! I propped it on the mantle and it made a wonderful focal point (along with the Mr. Gold inspired candle holders flanking it.
The creepiest decoration was the Magic Mirror: I taped a photo of Sidney, the man in Regina’s mirror to one of my mirrors. When people saw him, it really freaked them out!
Creating an at home photo booth is super easy with the technology available. We used Pocketbooth on my daughter’s iPad to take the photos, but the backdrop is so important. One of the best ways to decorate an entire room is using a Enchanted Forest Scene Setter from Oriental Trading. It totally reminds me of the forest scene usually used in the opening credits for OUAT!
One of my smartest souvenir purchases at Disneyland was a 12 pack of Disneyland posters inspired by the various attractions. We scattered those around the rooms and they really added to the Disney charm. (and they make me want to go back to Disneyland!)
After deciding on a Sunday afternoon party, I knew that desserts would be the ticket! Naturally, the more decadent, the better, so we selected a chocolate ganache cake, cream cheese and chocolate cupcakes, and strawberry cheesecake. To balance out the sugar with the salty, we had theme park worthy popcorn. And no proper Snow White/Evil Queen references can be made without poisioned apples! My kids had a blast crafting candy apples with decorations. Finally, to add to the sweets column, we made Dole Whips! I found a recipe online: all you need is pineapple chunks, lemon and lime juice, sugar, and heavy whipping cream You can probably create a more soft serve effect if you use an ice cream churn to make this, but my handy dandy blender seemed to be up to the task. Our guests asked for seconds (not surprising since it IS a Dole Whip!)
Lights, Camera, Action!
Let the fun begin! The party itself is when everyone gets to show their DisneySide and just cut up and have fun! Since the photo booth was an enormous hit at last year’s party, I knew we would be saying “cheese” with another fun photo booth. Bonus: we already had the photo booth props and accessories that I had printed and laminated from last year, so we just added a few new ones and we were camera ready!
Part of our gift pack was a Disney trivia game. We thought about also doing a OUAT trivia contest, but some people weren’t familiar with the show. Clearly, the Disney trivia was the way to go because they got them all correct (I have such smart friends!) Funny thing: when asked to name all 11 Disney Princesses, they named them all in order!
Between photo boothing, eating, trivia gaming and talking, the 2 hours just flew by.
While the party decorations have been cleared and rooms transformed back to their normal state, I still have a few remnants of the party around. We printed the photo booth strips for guests to take home, and kept many for ourselves. They epitomize the spirit and fun that showing your #DisneySide can be. Anytime I look at them, I am reminded of a fun afternoon shared with good friends and family, lots of laughter, and making memories. I think dear Walt Disney himself would smile if he knew all the fun taking place in homes all across America!