While it’s fun to configure some hidden Mickeys or fill up your home with Disney merchandise, what is it that really makes Disney such a great place to be? I’d argue it’s the little things – how it’s always clean and well lit, everybody has a smile, there are plenty of yummy treats to be had, and the flowers are always in bloom. The Disney resort is designed to delight all five senses for a welcoming atmosphere. Short of transforming your home into an amusement park, here are ten simple, subtle things you can do to bring the spirit of Disney into your home.
Keeping a vase of fresh flowers, or even dried ones, on the table at all times brings a bit of nature inside and brightens up a room. Houseplants – whether a potted tree in the living room or a row of herbs on the windowsill – also bring the beauty of nature inside. It’s a little taste of Disney’s year-round gardens.
Though you might not always notice it’s there, background music is constantly playing in the Disney parks. It’s used to transition between lands and set the tone of the area. Keeping some music on in the background can change the mood in a home, as well. Certainly it can be Disney music, particularly the music that plays in the parks, but any tune will do. We usually keep a 40s station playing in the mornings during breakfast, and classical works well as background music ‘round the clock since it often lacks distracting vocals. Explore your local radio stations, borrow some CDs from the library, or craft playlists on Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, or your music provider of choice.
You may have noticed there is always an abundance of tasty treats available for guest purchase. Keeping out a sweet or salty snack 24/7 may not be the best idea health-wise. But at our house we always like to have a bag of cookies or some cheese and crackers tucked away to lay out when a guest comes to visit. A bowl of fresh fruit is a healthier option for the day-to-day. At some of the fancier hotels, they also sometimes keep out a pitcher of water with fruit or lemon in it. It’s refreshing, healthy, and a little bit elegant.
- Nice trash
It may seem silly, but have you noticed all the garbage cans in Disney are beautiful? Each is themed to whichever park or hotel they’re placed in and, rather than detracting from the atmosphere, they somehow add to it. Try finding a nice trash can, it’s an inexpensive way to spruce up a room. This goes for any mundane piece of furniture or appliance that might normally be hidden away but instead can contribute to a festive atmosphere.
- Cloth towels
Up until recently, the deluxe Disney hotels used to provide rolled-up cloth towels instead of paper ones in their lobbies. This may seem like a small thing, but it was just one of the many touches that made a guest feel special – there was something so luxurious about drying your hands with a warm cloth towel straight from the dryer. Try using cloth towels rather than paper ones at home. This one is a little more tricky, but we recently switched from paper napkins to cloth ones at home. They’re more absorbent, they look and feel nicer, and hey – they save paper, too!
Despite being packed with people sweltering in the Florida sunshine, the Disney resort is surprisingly stink-free. Smell is an important part of atmosphere, and after all. On Main Street, USA, especially, the scent of fresh baked goods always pervade the air. At home, we like to use a flame-lit diffuser known as Lampe Berger, but any diffuser, scented candle, or air freshener can add that extra sensory treat.
While you can’t exactly bring the Florida sunshine into your home, keeping things well lit is cheery. But it’s not just about how bright the light is, it’s about where it’s coming from. Keep shades open in the afternoon to let in the cheery sunlight, and light candles in the evening or in cloudy weather to foster a cozy atmosphere.
- Classic Cartoons
Granted, this one is slightly less subtle, but still fairly unobtrusive. If you’ve ever stayed at a Disney hotel, you’ll know that Disney cartoons are playing all the time. Once I enter the lobby of a hotel and see a TV surrounded by tiny furniture, I know I’m home! While the lobby TV’s now play the new Mickey and the Gang cartoons, I prefer the classics, or even some Silly Symphonies. Either way, having some Disney cartoons on in the background morning or evening feels like having a piece of the resort in your home.
- Art & maps
A bare wall is rarely to be found in Disney World. Some nice prints – Disney related or otherwise – add decoration easily. Maps, especially, add character and present opportunities for adventure.
There is always something to do in Disney World. Even in the quieter places, a guest can always be entertained. In your home, try keeping out a puzzle everybody can add to when they have a few minutes to spare. Leaving out art supplies can also foster spur-of-the-moment creativity. Try sharing a coloring book or contributing to a family collage. These are both fun family activities and calming stress-relievers.
by Kathryn Blanco
all photos property of Kathryn Blanco