Creating Disney Parks at Home – CM122

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It's hard to get to the Disney Parks (Disneyland and Disney World) as often as we would like. Aubree Larsen solved that problem by creating the Disney Parks in her home for a date night. She included tickets, activities, rides, games, and so much more. She is also brewing up an amazing Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for home too!




Steph: Hey everyone, welcome to Capturing Magic. I'm Steph Clay and I am joined today by Aubree Larsen, who can be at Right? Is that right?


Aubree: That's right.


Steph: Okay.


Aubree: Larsen with an e, and Aubree with two e's.


Steph: Thank you, yes. That's very good to point out. Then on Instagram she can be found  @aublar. Right?


Aubree: Yep, that's perfect.


Steph: I'm second guessing myself all of a sudden. Like I'm there and checking things all the time and now I'm like, wait a minute.


Aubree: You got it. You got it just right.


Steph: Okay, perfect. I'm so excited to talk to you today, because you've been a long time listener of this show, actually and all of my podcasts, but this is how you found me, right?


Aubree: Yep, it is.


Steph: Because you have a love for Disney. Today what we are going to be talking about is fun and creative ideas that you can do with your family or with friends. You did it just with you and your husband, right?


Aubree: Yeah I wanted to point that out. This doesn't have to be stuff you do with kids.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: We have been married for 10 years, and we have a 17 month old, so we did all of this stuff without her.


Steph: Before kids, yes, yes.


Aubree: She was even born during one of them, and we put her to bed, so.


Steph: Yeah, perfect. Yeah so you have a lot of really fun things that you do at home when you can't get to the parks because it's just not always possible for everybody to get … Well, it's never possible to get to the parks as much as we want no matter how often we get there.


Aubree: It's never enough.


Steph: It's never enough, yes. So you've done some … Oh, just so fun. So many super fun things and I can't wait to share all of these ideas with our listeners, because these are great ways to be able to have a little bit of magic at home when you can't make it to the parks. Talk to us a little bit about the birthday party that you did for your husband. Well, it was just you and your husband right? So it wasn't really a party.


Aubree: Yeah it was just what I did for our Valentine's date, at home date that year. We hadn't been to Disneyland for a little while and didn't know when we were going to get to go back, so I made Disneyland at home. I decorated my house, I made all the rooms to represent different attractions, and we had food and costumes, and we went to Disneyland for the night at home.


Steph: Love it.


Aubree: Yeah, so it was really, really fun. It was several years now that we did it and we still talk about it and it's still one of our like funnest memories.


Steph: Yeah I love it, and you sent me some pictures. Let's break those down so that people can duplicate it at home.


Aubree: Okay. Well, and I'll start with talking about the invitations I made. So that morning before he went to work I had made some little, I guess printables is kind of what you would call them, but I did like a hotel reservation and I just kind of got the logo of the Disneyland hotel from the internet and put it on a card, and then just said like we had a reservation at the Disneyland hotel for February 14th. Then I made another one that was supposed to be like tickets to get into the park, but it said February 14th special park hours from [5:00] – 9:00 pm. Listed some of the activities we would be doing: character dining, Main Street shopping, and special attractions. Then I also made a little attraction guide where I listed all the attractions that were available, and just had those out in the morning so he saw them before he went to work and could get excited about what we would be doing that evening.


Steph: So fun.


Aubree: It was really fun. I wish I still had them, but at least I took a picture of them, so. I don't know why I got rid of them, but.


Steph: Yes and we will have photos of all of this in the show post for this episode, so you'll want to go to and find this episode. I'll have to think of what we're going to call it before the end, so we can tell people where to go.


Aubree: Send them to the right URL. Yeah, and some of them … Like I said, we did this several years ago, and some of the photography is pretty poor, but you'll still get the idea.


Steph: It's all good.


Aubree: Then I spent a lot of time decorating and things, but you can totally do it on the cheap, because you're not wanting to make your house look like Disneyland, nobody is going to walk in and be like, “This looks like Disneyland.” But you can make it feel fun and magical and you can do it without spending a lot of money.


What I did was I found a little party pack at Walmart that was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I didn't even know what Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was back then, now I have all the songs memorized.


Steph: Yeah, I was going to say.


Aubree: My daughter loves it and she yells out, “Hotdog!” Because she wants to watch the show, but anyway, that's off topic. It was just a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party pack, and I just punched the little … It was like eight bucks. I punched out all the little cardboard, the little standup things and put them on the dining room table and hung them around the house and had plates and cups and stuff that were Mickey Mouse and it came with balloons. I had printed off some Disneyland attraction posters that I found online. I actually just since purchased them, so sometimes you can buy them. I bought mine at the parks, so I don't know where to tell you otherwise to get them. You can buy those as well, but hang up those kinds of posters. I strung Christmas lights, because I think like the ambiance of the lighting really helps with the magic. I mean that's one of the best parts of Disneyland, right, is like the ambiance.


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: Put Christmas lights or even just crape paper. Of course, they don't hang up crape paper at Disneyland, but it makes your house look more special, and music is super important too to have the right music playing.


So when he first got home from work, the first thing we did was character dining, so I told him to come in the back door. I have a Cinderella costume that I wore for Halloween in the past, so I wore my Cinderella dress and called it character dining.


Steph: How cute!


Aubree: Because it was a lot of work to set this up, I kept the meal really simple. I just found some Mickey Mouse shaped pasta, and we just had a really simple like pasta and salad dinner. You could recreate your favorite meal from the park, you know? Anything that you wanted, I just did something really easy and simple though. Yeah, and so we had dinner and that was really fun.


Steph: What music suggestions do you have? Do you have any?


Aubree: Well so I … For this part I just did kind of general Disney, just Disney songs from like movies and stuff, and then for each of the attractions I played the specific music. Now it's so easy to get music, like you could find a really good playlist on YouTube.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: You could look sometimes, if you have an Amazon Prime account you have Amazon music or if you had Spotify or some other sort of streaming, you know search on there. I just recently found an album called, “We Love Disney.” Have you heard of that one?


Steph: I haven't.


Aubree: It's been out for a couple of years, but its contemporary artists that sing Disney songs, so like Ne-Yo [inaudible [00:07:34]


Steph: Oh wait, yes, I've seen this one. I just looked it up. Yeah.


Aubree: [inaudible [00:07:38] “Rainbow Connection,” so you know that could be fun as well. So, there's so much music. I just happen to have the … I used like … I had a couple of CD's that I had put on my iPod that were just on my … You know, what I had digitally and I just played it, so.


Steph: Great ideas.


Aubree: I think any of your favorite Disney music, and there's so many good places that you can get it for free, like YouTube, so.


Steph: Yeah, perfect. Thank you.


Aubree: After we had dinner we went into the living room and that is what I had set up as my Main Street. It really like … What I do with stuff is borderline tacky. It's really cheesy, but it's just fun, and so, you know, just go with it.


Steph: I love it! Yeah, I wouldn't call it tacky, I think it's so fun. So fun.


Aubree: So for my Main Street I used more of my Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party pack decorations and set them up on a table. Then I had a little … I put Christmas lights and crape paper and stuff and then turned all the regular lights off, so it was just lit up like it was nighttime. I had a dry erase … This part actually wasn't super cute, I would make it cuter if I were doing it now, but I had a little dry erase board where I wrote down all the things that were available for sale on Main Street, and I just picked our favorite treats. So I did a cookie and then I had made sugar cookies in the shape of Mickey Mouse, hot chocolate, a pineapple whip, and ice cream cones, because that's what we used to get at Disneyland all the time. Since it was Valentine's day, I had found a little box of chocolates that had Cars characters on them, because that was popular at the time, or what had just come out I think. Cars 2 or whatever. I don't remember.


Then I also had his present there. They each cost a certain amount of money. Then the way that he could purchase those items was I had printed off little Disney bucks and had hid them throughout all the different attractions, so as we went through and did all the activities he would find all the Disney bucks.


Steph: Oh my goodness.


Aubree: And I would use those to like buy the presents. Of course, I did the exact amount he needed was hidden around, and they weren't like super hard to find or anything, but it was just kind of fun. You know, a little incentive. Then we just went and visited the attractions, so do you want me to just tell you about …


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: … what I did for all of those?


Steph: Yes, please.


Aubree: So I did the Tiki Room in the little bay window in my kitchen. I didn't really decorate it, I didn't go crazy, I just had some Hawaiian luau type decorations I had borrowed from my aunt, and we sat there in the window drinking a homemade pineapple Dole Whip listening to the Tiki Room's music.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Like, that's as simple as it was, but it was fun. It makes you feel the Disney magic.


Steph: Yes!


Aubree: We did the Mad Hatter Tea Party, I guess kind of like the Tea Cups. I had a little table from when I was a kid, so we sat at this little small children's table and then played giant games. So like the scale was off like it is in Alice in Wonderland. I had like big playing cards and then I just decorated with these paper lanterns that are these funky shapes. Again, I borrowed them from my aunt. Everyone needs an Aunt Lisa, just saying.


Steph: Yes, it sounds like it.


Aubree: Because I will say that phrase, I borrowed from my aunt a lot. I hung these paper lanterns above the table, and they are just kind of these funky shapes, and I had light up paper lanterns and flowers. It was just in this like spare bedroom, this guest bedroom that had never really been decorated, and we just sat at this little table and played with giant cards. It was fun.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Of course the music. For the Haunted Mansion I raided my Halloween decorations and just decorated the room with all of my Halloween decorations. There was at the time, I don't know if it is still there, I could look, I did not look in advance. There was a computer game that was on some Disney website that was like a Haunted Mansion computer game that you walked through the Haunted Mansion, and so we listened to Grim Grinning Ghosts in candlelight and played this computer game.


Steph: That's fun.


Aubree: For Pirates, I decorated with a doll chest that I have that is shaped like a treasure chest and some palm trees and some netting. You know, like paper palm trees. [inaudible [00:12:41] we listened to the Pirates Life For Me song. Then my brother had a game called Pirates Dice that was an official Disney branded game, like Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean.


Steph: Oh, okay, yeah.


Aubree: Then, I don't know if it is historically accurate or not, but apparently it is some old game where you would like roll these dice out of this cup and then we just played the Pirates Dice game. I really just encourage people to really use what you have. I had a bunch of little kid plastic games that were my brothers that my mom had given me that I was using at my job at the time, like Wing Toss and Bean Bag Toss. We have a dart board, and so I put those all in one place and called it Paradise Pier. We just played all those dinky little games.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Listening to, you know in that part of California Park they play like The Beach Boys California Girls without the lyrics?


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: You know and just listened to that kind of music and played the games. One of our favorite things to do at the park, at least my favorite thing, maybe I shouldn't speak for him, but is to go into the animation studio in the California Adventure Park. If people haven't been in there before …


Steph: Art of Animation.


Aubree: Yes. That's what it's called. They give you lessons on how to draw Disney characters. I love it because I really can't draw, but when I go in there and get step by step instructions, my drawings are really good. So I love that. I got books, you could get a book at the library or borrow it from somebody if you don't have one, or probably the easiest thing to do would find a YouTube video where somebody is giving instructions on how to draw Disney characters and then draw Disney characters. I just set up a tiny little display in our home office of like our art supplies and just had paper and pencil out for each of us so we could just sit there and draw Disney characters.


Steph: Cute.


Aubree: When we did this the Electronica dance party or nighttime event was happening at Disney California Adventure, and I am a huge Tron nerd. Like, I love Tron, so I had to incorporate this.


Steph: I had no idea.


Aubree: Oh my gosh, Steph, I love Tron so much that I dressed up as Cora from Tron for Halloween the year that movie came out, and my husband and I like built a light up Tron suit.


Steph: Oh, wow.


Aubree: It was the coolest thing in my life. We bought [inaudible [00:15:31] and stitched it to the clothes. I had black pants and a black vest. I wore a black wig and then we bought the official Disney disk, the light up disk, and then my husband built a mount for it using like a lid to a plastic jar, I don't even know how he did it, and so that is mounted on my back. So I actually have worn that costume in Disneyland for Mickey's Halloween party several times and it was like the most amazing experience of my life to walk through Disneyland dressed as Cora in this light up suit at night.


Steph: That's awesome.


Aubree: It's the coolest thing ever. So I put that costume on, minus the wig, for this at home Disneyland thing and we played a game on my iPad that I think called, oh I should have checked, I don't even know if I have the game anymore, but it was some sort of light bike arena, I think is what it was called, that was very reminiscent … It wasn't an official Disney thing but it was reminiscent how they ride the light bikes in the Tron movie. I have the Tron soundtrack and so we listened to that. I had to put that in there because I really love Tron.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: So those were … Oh, actually nope there's one more. I did like a Space Mountain because I have a really old video game, like we're talking the classic NES, just the original Nintendo that's a Disneyland game where you would walk around to the different attractions.


Steph: Oh my gosh.


Aubree: We played like the Space Mountain part of that game, which you just push buttons as you're climbing through space. I don't even know. There's so many Disney video games out there that you could incorporate into doing something like this, or Disney board games. Just the other day with my cousins we played one called … Oh, I can't remember. It was a picture trivia game, they also have Disney Apples to Apples, you know so there's lots of Disney board games that people might already own that you could easily incorporate into this.


The other day I was at Michael's craft store and noticed that they have a lot of little craft kits, like in their children's section that are like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or princesses or stuff, so if you are doing this with kids who like to do crafts you could do like a little craft section of your activity. There's just like … Those are the ones that I did, but there's so many ideas. Just, you know, think about what you have and what you have access to and what your family likes, and incorporate those into something that's going to work for you.


Steph: Yeah, yeah. One of my friends did this, they were doing something similar to this as a countdown to get ready to go to Disneyland.


Aubree: Oh fun.


Steph: Yeah, so every Sunday night their whole entire … Because their kids are all grown up, and married and have kids of their own. So every Sunday night they got together and did a dinner and some activities around some of their favorite things with Disneyland. So they did fried chicken one night and they found the Disneyland recipe for fried chicken and did that. Then they did mint juleps and beignets, and I can't remember what else, but I mean a lot of really … So each week for I think six weeks. Oh, and then each person in the family was responsible to do a little bit of research on either the history or some of the fun things that they would be able to do on their trip and had to present that on their night.


Aubree: Oh my gosh, what fun grandparents.


Steph: I know.


Aubree: Oh, that's amazing. Oh, that's so fun. I want to do something like that.


Steph: Yeah, super fun. Super fun.


Aubree: Oh, and even if you are not going on a trip …


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: It's still super fun.


Steph: It's still … Yeah, you don't have to be going on a trip to do that. You could do that absolutely just like you did to bring some of the Disney magic into your home.


Aubree: And if you don't want to do like a full like, you know, seven attractions at once, break it up into smaller pieces like you just said. There's just so many, so many ways to do it. It's so fun.


Steph: Yeah, yeah.


Aubree: Well we finished up our Disneyland activity at the Disneyland Hotel. I had borrowed some Disney printed pillow cases from my mom and my younger brother, and again from my aunt I just got some Disney memorabilia from her. You could just gather up from around your house, and put that in our bedroom so it felt Disney-ish. One of the things that I most loved about going on vacation was watching the Disney channel because we didn't have it at home.


So at that time we didn't have a TV in our bedroom and there really wasn't … This was like five years ago, so technology was just different, right? There wasn't streaming and all that kind of … We didn't have an app or TV to where we could just go to the Disney Channel App like we do now. I got an older TV that we had and we carried it up and put it in our bedroom and I think … Honestly, I can't even remember how I did it, but somehow I got DVDs. I must have gone to the library or something and then just got DVDs of like one of the Disney Channel shows that we liked at the time, like Good Luck Charlie or something and we just watched them …


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: … in our bedroom, so it kind of felt like we were watching the Disney Channel in a hotel.


Steph: I love that.


Aubree: I do have another idea of what somebody could do to end out their night, especially if you have a large TV or like a theater room with the projector, you could find a really high quality recording on YouTube of like a firework show.


Steph: Oh, good idea.


Aubree: And then just watch it. When I was teaching school I did that on my projector when we talked about Chinese New Year and I just showed them like some fireworks, it was just fun, you know?


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: It's not the same as being there, but if fireworks are really important to your family and what you love about Disney, then you could watch fireworks on a screen.


Steph: Yeah, especially with the music that comes in with it too, it's just so magical.


Aubree: Yeah, I think that would just help you like feel the feeling that you feel when you are at Disney.


Steph: Yeah, I'm sure.


Aubree: Then I found an app the other day that I would totally use if I were doing this now. Have you used the Disney Side App?


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: That one is so fun. It kind of would make the magic shots at home, where you could take pictures and then you chose which character and the app like puts that costume or whatever, it's like an overlay on your face. I think it would be really fun, especially if you were doing something like this where you actually have guests come to your home or something like that to get a little … If you have a photo printer, like yours is ZINK, right?


Steph: I have several different printers. I'm kind of addicted to portable printers.


Aubree: Okay, so if you have one of those, I have a Cannon Selfie, you could take these pictures and then print them off and send them home with guests or just have them that night for your own kids, or just your own memory keeping. You know?


Steph: Yes, and I actually have post up on capturingmagic about that, because I did do that for a party, and so it shows how to use the app. Then I used my …


Aubree: Oh I think I remember that.


Steph: Yeah, I used my selfie printer and printed those up and sent those home with the guests. Exactly, because you can put characters in photos. Everything. A whole Mickey Mouse in your photo.


Aubree: Yeah, it's so cute. It was fun. Me and my husband were doing it the other day because it like turned me into like Darth Maul, and so it was like my face was painted like him and stuff. It was fun.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Yeah, that one would be a good one to … Excuse me … Incorporate into an at home Disney. Of course like I think I already said this, but the food that you like as well.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: So we did like the hot chocolate and a cookie because that was kind of our tradition that we would get that at the end of the night at the parks. We had that at the end of the night and this activity as well.


Steph: Super fun. Okay, the app is called Memories HD.


Aubree: Oh, then we're talking about a different one.


Steph: Are we? Okay, cool.


Aubree: Yeah this app is called Disney Side.


Steph: Okay, I'm going to pull that one up. Cool, yeah so there is a lot that you can do. I think I know which one you're talking about, because it's more … Yeah, because it does turn you into the characters, the one that …


Aubree: Yeah, it's not like adding stickers or boarder or anything.


Steph: Right.


Aubree: It turns you into the character.


Steph: Yeah, it's super cool. I've done that. It makes either pictures or little videos, doesn't it?


Aubree: I think you … Yeah, I think you can do a video … Or it makes them … Yeah, they have videos because the Jafar one was hilarious because it lifts your face up into this like grin, like Jafar.


Steph: How funny.


Aubree: It just cracked me up.


Steph: Yeah, that's super fun. Okay, sorry I interrupted you. Go ahead.


Aubree: Oh no you're fine. So that's all I have to say about that particular Disneyland at home activity, so.


Steph: Okay.


Aubree: I think we covered it all.


Steph: Okay good. Super fun. So many fun ideas. It's even as we're talking and I'm listening to you, I'm getting more ideas. I'm like I need to do this, because my kids have fall break coming up, we live in Arizona, and our kids down here get out of school for one to two weeks every year in the fall and we are saving money and so we're not going anywhere, at least not as a family. I might skip away with my husband for a couple of days because he has a business trip, but that's neither here nor there, off topic. I wish we were going to Disney is my point and I think that we could totally do this and just do a different theme every day with my kids while their home from school.


Aubree: Yes, that would be so fun. You could watch the movie and do activities and have food and …


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: I think that would be fun.


Steph: And it would be so much more fun than not doing anything the whole time they're out of school.


Aubree: Yeah.


Steph: Yeah, because …


Aubree: Exactly.


Steph: … ten days is a long time to be out of school. My kids are out ten days, which is kind of in between. Most schools in the area are two weeks and that's a long time to be out of school and not go anywhere.


Aubree: Yeah it is.


Steph: So, yeah. Okay, so you have a couple more fun events for us.


Aubree: Yeah so this year, and it actually happened to be for Valentine's Day as well, it's not always this epic at our house, but I did an around the world thing. At the time I actually didn't even think of this, but then later I thought, “Oh, I totally could have made that Disney and done it as EPCOT,” like if you were visiting the different country pavilions in EPCOT. So, I'm just going to tell you really quick what I did for the countries and then we can talk a little bit about how we can incorporate Disney into it a little bit, you know?


I started with him coming in to, again, this was for my husband, coming into the living room and I had decorated it with flags, I borrowed them from my aunt, flags that I had strung across the ceiling of different countries around the world. When I was a school teacher I had decorated my classroom with travel posters and stuff and so I put all that up. Then I made a passport, I got mine I think from The Dating Divas website because it was like Passport to Love, so it's not Disney at all. You could probably find one or make your own.


Then weren't you guys just talking on this show a few weeks ago about that EPCOT, how they stamp the passports at EPCOT?


Steph: Yeah, yeah.


Aubree: So I did have my husband collect these little … He's such a good sport to do all this with me. So I had little passport stamps that came with it and I just had them on like a piece of paper and cut them out and then we taped them in. So you could just have people collect the stamps at every country pavilion and then if you collect them all maybe you get a prize or a gift or you know whatever you want to do.


So I'll just run through what we did for the different countries. The first one we did was Japan. My dad had lived in Japan for a couple of years, so I just borrowed from him. Again, I just thought, “What resources do I have available to me?” So I borrowed some of his like flags and he had some kimonos and stuff and so my daughter, who was 11 months at the time, so about 1, she actually had a kimono that my aunt and cousins had brought back from Disney World for her.


Steph: Oh, cute.


Aubree: So she had like a legitimate baby Disney Kimono. So we put her in that. Then we love Japanese pot stickers, gyoza, so I got some at a local restaurant. We folded origami. We practiced writing with Kanji, writing the Kanji characters, you know?


Steph: Yeah, they do that I think too in EPCOT.


Aubree: Yeah, so it would totally incorporate into a Disney activity.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: Then we put the baby to bed and then when we picked back up we went to the dining room, which was Italy and again I did an Italian dinner, because it's easy. So we had spaghetti and salad and stuff. I was just thinking about how in the updated It's a Small World ride how they've incorporated the little Disney dolls, like the character dolls in there.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: So isn't like Pinocchio and Geppetto from Italy?


Steph: Oh man.


Aubree: Doesn't that take place in Italy? I think it does.


Steph: Yeah, I'm trying to think. It's either Italy or Germany. Now I'm going to have to look it up.


Aubree: Okay, whichever one it is, if you did that country you could you know have those characters, play that music, or have decorations of them or somehow incorporate them into your activity if you wanted. Another country I did was Mexico, so that works really well for the Three Amigos.


Steph: It's Italy. You were right, it's Italy.


Aubree: Okay, okay good. For our Mexico activity, that one we didn't have food but that one would be so easy to do food. You know, chips and salsa or guacamole or whatever. I made a construction paper soccer field, like taped two 12×12 sheets of card stock together and then put some white on them to make like a dividing line and goals and then the game is you lay on your stomach and you use a drinking straw to blow a cotton ball back and forth and try to score goals.


Steph: Oh, fun.


Aubree: You know and you could use soccer for lots of countries, but I just ended up doing it for Mexico. I used cheap, or I borrowed them from my aunt, I used cheap party decorations that were like Cinco de Mayo and strung those around. Then like I said, you could incorporate the Three Amigos somehow. You know, it could be so fun.


China, that one is really easy with Mulan. What we did in China is my … Oh my gosh, my aunt. She had some …


Steph: Bless Aunt Lisa.


Aubree: I know, seriously. She has some straw looking cone shaped Chinese hats and we just put those on and we ate fortune cookies, which I know are totally American, but oh well. We played Chinese tangram puzzles and that was China. It was super easy and simple.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: We went to the African jungle, which that one is easy. You could easily incorporate Lion King or Jungle Book into that one. That one was really fun to decorate with. It was so simple and cheap though. I cut palm tree leaves out of butcher paper and then hung them on the ceiling and blew up brown balloons, just small, as like coconuts and then hung the coconuts on the leaves and then used brown crape paper, you know streamers down from it as like the trunk of the palm tree and then just hung different shades of green streamers from the ceiling like vines.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Then like I had mentioned before, like the lighting I had different kind of lighting in all of these different rooms. So in that one we had like a camping lantern, so it was kind of like the jungle at night. We played the game Mancala, if you're familiar with that, it's an African game as far as I know. That one was fun. I had some, again cheap party decorations left over from something I had done in the past. I had little monkeys, so I just hung little monkeys in there. You know if your kids have stuffed jungle animal toys you could use those, you know just think creatively and incorporate what you have.


Okay, I've got two more countries. We did like Pacific islands/ Hawaii, which you could do Lilo and Stitch and, or Moana. From that one I used Aunt Lisa's luau décor, she has a lot of that, and just decorated the room so it looked like a Hawaiian luau. It had the lighting and the music. I made us some like tropical fruit smoothies and I found a YouTube video that was really short, he's a good sport, but I still was really short, like three minutes on how to do the hula. That was our little activity.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Then the last one I did was France. At the local party store they had a section, so you could do like a Paris birthday party, so I bought the door hanger, like the cover … What am I trying to say here? It's the Eiffel Tower and it's big enough to cover your entire door. Super cheap, just a few dollars. Hung that up. Then had some gold and black kind of sparkly fancy things and then like this black paper chandelier and hung that up, so it was just fancy for Paris, and we ate eclairs. That was our desert.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: You could easily incorporate Ratatouille or Beauty and The Beast. Then collected the passport stamps and he got his Valentines Day gift. So you could do so many other different things to make that more or less Disney-ish. But if, you know, you really love the EPCOT center park, I think that's a really good way to do the World Showcase at home.


Steph: Yeah, great idea. And there again you could even do the Illuminations show at the end of your night.


Aubree: Oh yeah, that's a great idea.


Steph: So fun, Aubree!


Aubree: Yeah it's … I don't know. It just is fun and if … I just love planning it. That's like half the fun is brainstorming and combing Pinterest for ideas and shopping and then the surprise and like the anticipation, because I will never tell in advance what I'm doing and so it's like, you know … I don't know.


Steph: That's fun.


Aubree: It's just fun. I'm just really nerding out over here.


Steph: Yes, that's totally fun. I was telling you before we started recording that I did cousin's camps for my kids' cousins for a few years. Every summer we would do it for a week long and every day I would do a different theme. That was me too, I loved the planning and I wouldn't tell them ahead of time what we were doing. It was just a surprise and they would come and it was what magic, Aunt Steph had planned for the day. We did Toy Story and I had water bottles printed up and tickets for them to get in. All kinds of fun things, but yeah planning was super, super fun.


When I started doing this actually, it was before Pinterest. Well, it was in the early days of Pinterest. It was before Pinterest became a search engine. I think it was in 2009 when I started doing this, which was right around the time that Pinterest came around, and so all of these ideas I was coming up with a lot of them on my own because Pinterest just wasn't that way. I searched on Pinterest and I remember back then thinking, “I cannot find anything on here that is going to help me,” which if you went and searched now that would not be the problem at all. Yeah it was super fun, the planning was so fun.


Aubree: I think it's more fun to do it on your own. It's nice to have the internet, don't get me wrong, because I get a lot of ideas from there. Love me the internet. But it is fun to just be creative and like walk around the house and like, “Okay, what do I have? Oh, here's a Toy Story version of Monopoly Jr. We could do a Toy Story thing and play this game,” right?


Steph: Yep.


Aubree: Yeah, I did my first Disneyland thing I was talking about was in 2012, so Pinterest wasn't quite the same then either.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: It's fun. Either way is good.


Steph: It is, yeah. Okay, so you have one that you're planning, is that correct?


Aubree: I do.


Steph: Is that the next thing on your list? What's next on your list?


Aubree: Oh it doesn't matter. We can talk about that, we can talk about movie release parties.


Steph: Whatever you want to go into next.


Aubree: Okay, well let's do the one that I'm planning so if my husband is listening he needs to push pause right now, because I just had this idea the other day of doing the holiday parties at home. I've never been to the Christmas Party. I don't even know what it's called. Mickey's …


Steph: Mickey's Very Magical Christmas Party, I think. That's what it is at Disney World. Disneyland it's not a ticketed event.


Aubree: Oh, okay.


Steph: So it's just Christmastime or something like that.


Aubree: Okay, well I've never been so I don't know about that. So if that's something that you know your family loves, then …


Steph: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, that's what it's called, yes.


Aubree: Okay, but Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party we've been to like three or four times and we love it and fall at Disneyland, Halloween at Disneyland is our favorite time. So I just thought it might be fun to do a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at home. So I haven't done it so I'm just going to tell you of some of the things that I've come up with so far. Then if you want to see what I do, they can come follow me on Instagram, because I'll share that over there. First of all you've got to wear costumes, I think. The first year we went to the party at Disneyland we didn't wear costumes and we felt so left out.


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: So we wore them. I love dressing up, so you've got to have costumes. So I was just brainstorming some ideas for decorations. There's a lot of different directions you could go, or you could combine it all together. They do a lot of Mickey pumpkin things there, so I think that I could just make my own. Get a real or plastic or whatever pumpkin and then get two small ones and glue to the top like ears to make a Mickey pumpkin. You could do that out of paper, you know? There's so many different ways you could do that.


You could decorate with Disney villain type things or Nightmare Before Christmas.


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: Because that's a big part of the holiday celebrations at Disneyland. So there's a lot you could do there. There's … I found a playlist on YouTube that was like Disney Halloween music, then of course you could always just play with songs that are the villains songs, you know? Like “Poor Unfortunate Souls” that Ursula sings in The Little Mermaid, then there's like The Haunted Mansion music. I think there's a lot of music to play with. The lighting, I have a lot of battery operated candles, so I use those because that can give it kind of that creepy lighting effect. Of course Halloween lights if you have those, like the orange Christmas lights, those are fun.


We like doing the trick or treating. I know some people are like, “Why would you go pay all this money just to go trick or treating when you can buy the candy at Target?” But I guess we're just like kids at heart, and we're like, “We actually get to trick or treat and not feel stupid.” I think it would be fun to have little trick or treat stations around your house, you know in different rooms or whatever.


Steph: That's a good idea.


Aubree: Just have a few little pieces of candy. For food, I have a couple of ideas. In Disneyland at the restaurant, I think it's called the Rancho del Zocalo?


Steph: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Aubree: They decorate like Day of The Dead at that Mexican restaurant and we really like to eat there and are interested in Day of The Dead. My husband is a Spanish teacher and he lived in Spain for two years and so I thought we could do that, except he has all of my Day of The Dead decorations at school to decorate his classroom for Halloween, so I probably won't end up doing that, but I thought I would mention it anyway because I think it's a fun idea.


Another one of my favorite food at Disneyland is the soup in a bread bowl. I love that. I love it so much, so I thought I could go to the really good bakery, get some good sourdough bread bowl, make some soup and then that's kind of one of our favorite Disney things, so maybe we'll have that for dinner.


Some ideas I have for activities, you could carve pumpkins and carve like Disney things into your pumpkins. There's patterns online for that, or I'm sure you could buy a book or whatever. One thing I did find on Pinterest was making your own Mickey caramel apples, so you like put the apple on a stick, dip it in the caramel, and then you would take a marshmallow and cut it in half and then use that as the ears and then pour caramel over that.


Steph: Oh fun idea, yeah.


Aubree: Like attach it to the top of the thing.


Steph: With a toothpick.


Aubree: Yeah.


Steph: Perfect.


Aubree: Or frosting, or … I can't remember exactly how they did it, but there's a lot of Mickey Mouse Halloween ideas on Pinterest, like we were just talking about that, so you could definitely look that up.


Then of course The Haunted Mansion is a big part of Halloween at Disneyland, I think, so I think it would be fun … I don't even know how I would pull this off, I haven't gone into deep thought about it yet, but to do something in your house that was like a Haunted Mansion like walk-through. You could play some of the audio from it and just have like some scary things or in our basement we have sort of a long hallway, it just has like three doors down it. You know there's that part in the ride where you go down the hallway and there's the doors and they're like banging and stuff. I don't know. I don't even know. That's not even a fully formed thought in case it sparks an idea for somebody else.


Steph: Yes, perfect.


Aubree: Then of course photos. I would do some sort of photo booth setup, or like that Disney Side App we were just talking about and have everyone turn into a villain. That would be fun. Then I think a good way to maybe end it would be we could watch a movie, there's Hocus Pocus, there's the Haunted Mansion movie. We sometimes like to just watch Halloween episodes of our favorite TV shows, so you could do it of the Disney ones, so even if you have little kids, watch like the Disney episode of Sophia The First and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or if you have older kids who like to watch the Disney channel shows, or you can find Mickey Mouse cartoons that are Halloween themed. There's one on Netflix that's The House of Mouse. Do you know that show, The House of Mouse?


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: There's a Halloween one of that I'm pretty sure.


Steph: Yeah there's also in iTunes, I don't know if there's anywhere else to get it besides iTunes, but I know it's fairly inexpensive on iTunes, there's a short and it's called Toy Story of Terror.


Aubree: Oh yeah, I've heard of that.


Steph: Remember that?


Aubree: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Steph: Yeah, it came out a few years ago and it's super cute.


Aubree: I think that you can sometimes, don't quote me on this, I think you can sometimes get that in the ABC App.


Steph: Yeah, probably around Halloween I think.


Aubree: Around Halloween time …


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: … I think it's in there.


Steph: I think you're right.


Aubree: I might be wrong, but that would be a place for people to check, because they will air Disney shows on ABC and then they'll put them in the apps.


Steph: Also for some more Halloween ideas, Pinterest. We have on our capturingmagic Pinterest board Halloween ideas.


Aubree: Oh fun, good place to check then.


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: Awesome, I really excited. I think I'm going to do it, and pull it off. I don't know, kind of new parents and we don't get to go out a lot and so it's fun to just have really fun exciting things at home where we don't have to worry about babysitters, we just you know put the child to bed and have fun. You can have a good fun at home Halloween activity.


Steph: Yes, I love that you do all of these fun things. They're just so fun. I need to do this with my … Like I said, I did it with my nieces and nephews, but there is no reason that I can't do it with just … Like you do with just my family too. No reason at all.


Aubree: I think it's kind of more fun that it's just us rather than having all these guests, because there's no stress about …


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: About guests or anything like that. It's just us. It's just the two of us and it's just fun.


Steph: Yes, yes so good. Yeah, okay I looked up our board and it's called Disney Halloween at Home.


Aubree: Oh, I'm following, I don't know if I am, so I'll look that up and follow along.


Steph: And there's just tons of … We have different pumpkin carving patterns posted and different activity ideas, treat ideas. Yeah, the patterns where you can carve out the pumpkin or whatever. Then some printables from Disney with the Hitchhiking Ghosts and …


Aubree: Oh fun, yeah.


Steph: … invitations. I mean there's tons of stuff there, tons of fun ideas. So I think I'm going to be … Like a Haunted Mansion word search, that would be fun to do.


Aubree: Oh yeah, I think there's just like an endless possibility of ideas if you just get creative and you know think about what your family likes, so.


Steph: Yes, yes. I know a lot of Disney fans that have bought the Mickey shaped waffle makers and stuff. One of the ideas in here is to do pumpkin spiced waffles, so throw that in your Mickey maker, you know?


Aubree: Yeah, that's really fun.


Steph: Yeah. Some [inaudible [00:47:03].


Aubree: I have a cookie cutter, that I mentioned, and you could do … I have like a big one and a small one I think and you could do bread and use the cookie cutter on the bread to make sandwiches or whatever.


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: There's just so many Disney themed products in stores. Like one time when we were driving to Disneyland I went to the store and just bought all the Disney themed everything.


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: You know, the fruit snacks, you know or they just have promotional things with the characters on the packages. I thought this was fun to incorporate as well.


Steph: I agree, totally agree. It's going to be a fun party, Aubree for you and your family, for you and your husband.


Aubree: I'm excited. I'm really, really excited for when my daughter is old enough to know what's going on. Because right now it's just like she does, she'll get excited when I'm hanging up … You know, she was around when I was decorating for my around the world Valentine's day thing and she loved seeing the crape paper and all that. But when she really understand like what it is, I'm excited. It's going to be so fun.


Steph: Yes, yes.


Aubree: That will be even better I think.


Steph: For sure, yeah. Absolutely. It is magical for sure when your kids start to enjoy it.


Aubree: Yeah, I can't wait.


Steph: And you're already starting to see a little bit of that with her Minnie Mouse love that she has.


Aubree: Yeah, she … Well, you know we love Disney, and so we've had her watch Disney cartoons and stuff and so she loves the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she loves Minnie, but she says Mimmie, with m's, “Mimmie!” And then she loves the hotdog song that they play at end of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so like I said before, she always is asking for that. Every day when I'm like, “Okay, what should we wear today?” If I'm holding her as I'm picking clothes out of her closet everyday she says, “Mimmie!” Because she has a couple of shirts that have Minnie on them. So we're already building up the Disney love for sure.


Steph: Raising her right.


Aubree: That is true.


Steph: That's good. Okay, what else do you have for us? I think you have probably more than we're going to be able to get through in this show, but.


Aubree: I have one more that I actually details about, and then there's a couple other things that I could just list off real fast if you want me to.


Steph: Sounds perfect.


Aubree: The last one is a movie release party. So when Star Wars The Force Awakens came out in December 2015, me and my husband … He is a huge Star Wars fan, he loves it, and I do too. We were really excited about the movie and so I decided to have a little release party before the movie came out. Well the movie came out Friday and our tickets were for Saturday, so we did this party like Friday night and then went and saw the movie on Saturday during the day.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: It was really fun. I made a little invitation. I just typed Star Wars on it and … I was going to have it pulled up so that I could read what it said and I don't, so I'll just tell you. I have an invitation and I put a lightsaber on it and kind of told him what we were doing and then just texted it to him. I just made it in like I think the Lana Designs App or the Over App, and so he would know, like this is what we're doing and he could be a little bit excited about it.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: Then once again I bought a cheap party pack, because before movies come out they already release birthday party stuff, so they had The Force Awakens birthday party décor and there were a few little things that like hung from the ceiling and then plates and cups and napkins, that kind of stuff. I just gathered up Star Wars memorabilia. My husband has kind of a collection, there's like figurines and books and just different things like that, and I just set all of that stuff out on like a shelf in the room to kind of add to the feeling, you know?


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: We both had ugly sweater parties at our work that year, so we bought Star Wars ugly sweaters for Christmas, so we wore those.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: I set up a little photo booth. I just bought a black plastic table cloth and hung it on the wall and then cut out yellow stars on my Silhouette cutting machine and then taped them on the background. Set up little self timer, the camera on a tripod, and we took pictures. We had plastic lightsabers so we took some pictures with those. It was fun. I just love pictures and scrapbooking and memory keeping, so of course I've got to have you know the photos for it.


Steph: I love that you do a photo booth.


Aubree: Oh seriously, my husband is just like the best sport in the world.


Steph: I bet he seriously loves it though, really.


Aubree: I think he does though, he has fun. Then for our activities for our party, in what you were just saying about the Mickey waffles, we have Star Wars shaped pancake molds, so I made Star Wars pancakes and we just had breakfast for dinner, which we call brinner.


Steph: Oh fun.


Aubree: Then there's an app game, I'm not sure if it's on Android or not, but it's that heads up game?


Steph: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Aubree: There's a Disney … That's another thing you can do for an at home Disneyland theme too, there's like a Disneyland pack in that game, but there's also a Star Wars one. So we played the Star Wars version of that game, which we both really like, it's really fun. I found Star Wars mad-libs somewhere out there on the internet. Then some Star Wars trivia, and my husband really loved the trivia, because I just sat there and asked him a whole bunch of trivia questions and he knew most of it and some things we learned, and so that was really fun.


Then we just finished up the night by watching … We watched the Star Wars Rebels cartoon. You could watch the previous movie for the next thing, because like this year episode eight is coming out so you could watch episode seven the night before or whatever. You just watch a movie. Yeah it was short, it was a few hours and it was very fun to kind of celebrate the movie and be excited.


Steph: That's super fun.


Aubree: I think you could do that for movies that have already come out as well. That's what I want to do for my daughter and be like, “Okay, we're going to introduce you to the Lion King tonight so I'm going to hang up some jungle type decorations or whatever, you know?


Steph: Yeah.


Aubree: And some themed food and it doesn't have to be a big deal, it doesn't have to be expensive, just to make it a little bit extra special.


Steph: I love that, great ideas.


Aubree: Yeah, another … This one didn't set out to be Disney themed, it just ended up being. I just took like a Saturday morning cartoon date night and I just put a call out on my neighborhood Facebook page and said, “Hey, who has DVDs of cartoons from when we were kids?” And I just collected them from my neighbors. We don't really have cereal for breakfast at our house, so I bought cereal as like a treat and we ended up watching the Disney cartoons that were on after school when were kids, such as Darkwing Duck, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin.


Steph: Fun.


Aubree: So that was really fun. So I'm just going to go into my last list there too. Another idea I have, if you want to do something a little bit more grown up, a little more sophisticated than all my cheaseyness, but find some like Disney piano music, I've been listening to that on Amazon Prime lately, or YouTube and then just try to recreate the ambiance and the food of your favorite restaurant.


Steph: I was thinking that too, because one of the things that I love, I love going to Carthay Circle to eat and they actually have music out that's the Carthay Circle, that they play in the restaurant, yeah and it's … I'm going to look it up and tell you the name of it, but I was thinking that there's definitely food there that we love to eat when we're there and it would be super fun to find some of the recipes, because there's so many recipes available online now that it would be fun and easy to do that.


Aubree: Oh yeah, some food blogger somewhere has made a knockoff …


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: Or has come up with a recipe for you. Just do it for some random Thursday night dinner, just bring some Disney magic in your house on a random day, I just think that would be so fun.


Steph: So fun. Yeah, okay it's called Circle Session Players is the CD, the album I guess I should say. It's not CD's anymore. The album, and you can get it in Spotify, I'm sure you can get it anywhere you listen to music.


Aubree: Perfect.


Steph: When they first came out you could only buy it in the park and you could only buy it on CD, but now it's available everywhere.


Aubree: But truly, that's great. Yeah I think that would be fun, so that's one I want to implement sometime. Especially like if it's January and there's no holidays and there's nothing going on and it's cold outside if you live somewhere that its winter, just pop that on and light a candle and make a Disney inspired recipe. It just sounds wonderful to me, so.


Steph: I agree, super fun. So much fun.


Aubree: I could go on and on but I think I'm probably done.


Steph: Thank you so much for all of these …


Aubree: My ideas.


Steph: Yeah, so fun! All of these great ideas for all of us to be able to bring some of the Disney magic home with us and great ways to do it when we're trying to save money too for our next trip, so I love that. Yeah, thank you for sharing all of those with us.


Aubree: Oh, thanks for letting me. I've wanted to, like before you and I even knew each other I was listening to your show and I'm like, “Ah, I want to get on there and talk about my Disneyland at home.”


Steph: Yes.


Aubree: So I'm super excited to be able to do it today, thanks so much.


Steph: Yeah, you are so welcome. I really, really appreciate you. I'm so glad that you said, “Hey, I've got …” And I was like, “That is the best idea ever! Why did you wait so long to tell me that?”


Aubree: I don't know, but at least now I've done more things so I can talk about more things.


Steph: Yeah, it's good. So good, thank you so much.


Aubree: Your welcome.


Steph: Okay, let's remind our listeners where they can find you.


Aubree: So I'm on Instagram at @aublar if you want to follow along and see my Disney's and my parties. I even have hashtags for them, so if you want to see photos from that or what I'm going to do coming up. Then I do have a business website and I'm in a transition right now and so pretty soon I'm going to be releasing my new online business and so you can follow along for that @aubree.larsen [inaudible [00:58:16].


Steph: Yeah, that's great. I'm really excited to see your new stuff that you're launching too, so everyone will need to … They should check that out. It's going to be fun. As you can tell Aubree is very talented and yeah so it's going to be really …


Aubree: That's kind of you.


Steph: Yeah, really great to see of these things that you have in store coming down the pipe. Thank you everyone for being here and if you have a moment to leave us a review in iTunes we would love that. We would love to be able to have some more up to date reviews in iTunes on the podcast. Once we get some more updated reviews in there I'll start sharing them with our listeners too on the show, at the end of every show. Yeah, I think that's all that we have going on for now. You can find us at capturingmagicme_ and then on the website. I think we need to call this episode Magic At Home.


Aubree: Oh, perfect.


Steph: I think that's what we need to call it, so you can find the show notes for this episode at and then follow us on Facebook and Instagram and all of those other places where you like to get your Disney news, your Disney doses. Thanks again, Aubree. I appreciate you being here. This is great stuff. I can't wait to implement some of it.


Aubree: You're welcome.


Steph: Yeah, we'll see you next time on Capturing Magic.