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by Military Diva

If you’re a Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos reader you have probably already fallen victim to the infamous Disney Addiction!  Don’t worry, if you’re new to the Disney Parks and are here to begin planning your first trip, your addiction is only one Magical Vacation away!  Let’s face it.  Disney parks are full of energy elevating sweets and activities.  The music can be enchanting, the bright colors shine through even the cloudiest of days, and a host of amazing Cast Members try their best to meet your every need.  Add the nostalgic mix of generation old memories and newly formed experiences and families are hooked.

We often spend months scrimping, saving and manipulating budgets to squeak out just one more family trip. But how do we deal with the Disney Withdrawal that dooms our days post vacation?  You bring your vacation home!

Let me introduce you to our family’s answer to DD (Disney Depression)…Friday Night Family Night!

Friday Night Family Night was originally an answer to our dwindling family time.  When our oldest daughter began venturing into youth sports we quickly saw how these activities could steal our time spent together.  We were on the road to having four children and knew that just one activity per week for each would eliminate our weeknights at home.  So we decided that Friday Night would be set aside for family only. There are a few rules that accompany this night.

1. Family night is for family only, unless we are traveling or have out-of-town guests.

2.We use a rotating schedule where each member of our family chooses the evening activities. That person is in charge of choosing the meal, movie/activity and snack.

3. No one is allowed to complain or vary from the menu or activity.  We each get our own night and choose to respect the others’ choices on their night.

4.We will make an exception for a required school or sport event or pre-planned excursion (think friend’s birthday party), but do our best to move Family Time to another night.

This answer to our growing family and our desire to spend time together has held strong for over twelve years with only a few changes.  Thanks to our first (and second and third) Disney trips we decided to give our kids a new Disney Challenge.

We continue to use the same rotating schedule and meal/movie/snack idea.  However, we have asked the family to theme their night around their Disney Movie.  This has been a huge success both from an entertainment and educational standpoint.  It has helped us relive our favorite aspects of Disney while combining foods and characters.  It has also encouraged our children to research various themes and history from their favorite movies.  Their excitement is contagious and has encouraged several of our neighbors to begin their own Family Night.  Below you will find a few of our favorite Disney Family Night ideas for use in your own home.

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Frozen Family Night

1. Norwegian Meal-Anna and Prince Hans Finger Sandwiches (Cheese and Crackers), Norwegian Meatballs, Norwegian Fruit Soup, Olaf’s Nose (Carrot Sticks),

2. Activity-Ice skating on neighbor’s rink then Frozen Movie while wearing pj’s and sitting by the fire

3. Snack-Frozen treats: chocolate covered marshmallows, Oreos and pretzel sticks made using white chocolate and light blue sugar crystals.

 

Pocahontas Family Night

1. Native American Meal- Bison burgers, Bean and Corn Salsa, Green Beans and Peppers, Native American Corn Bread

2. Activity-Pocahontas Movie while lying in homemade teepee (tent)

3. Snack-Homemade Pumpkin and Chocolate Cake

 

Lilo & Stitch Family Night

Playing at the Polynesian!

Playing at the Polynesian!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Meal inspired by O’hana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort -Ohana Welcome Bread, Honey Coriander Chicken Wings, Sweet and Sour Pork Loin, Stir Fried Vegetables

2. Activity-Lilo & Stitch Movie and hulu dancing

3. Snack-O’hana Bread Pudding

 

Ohana Bread Pudding-Delicious!

Ohana Bread Pudding-Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind these are just a few examples of what we have enjoyed as a family. You can make the evening as extravagant or as lazy as you like; come up with your own ideas or take to the internet for hints.  If you are truly wanting to infuse the Disney Spirit into your Challenge you can look for Disney Cookbooks highlighting meals and snacks from the Disney Parks.

Either way our family has now spent over twelve years  enjoying each others company, learning about and respecting our individual tastes and filling our week with the Magic of Disney.

I hope you are inspired by our journey and take on our Disney Family Night Challenge. This is one part of parenting I know I have gotten right and will never regret.  I can honestly say that I secretly grin when I hear my 17 year old willingly decline invitations from her friends or hear our younger son sigh when we have to miss a family night. Thanks to Disney Inspiration and a large family we now have close to 600 nights of snuggles, giggles and memories tucked away for the future.

Let me know if you attempt our Challenge and feel free to share any photos you may have.  I would love to see what ideas you can come up with for your own Disney Family Night (and may even be inspired by a few!).

My name is Patricia, aka Military Diva, and I have a soft spot for Disney Destinations! After a two year post-9/11 deployment, our family was able to reconnect during a Disney World vacation. While counting on time together, we did not expect the touching service we received from Cast Members. We were treated like royalty! It is my mission as a writer for "Tips from the Disney Diva" and as owner of "All for Dreams Travel" to help other families experience their own special connections through travel.