Tips for a Magical Disney Staycation

July 21, 2020 by Crystal

To sprinkle a little pixie dust on your day, we’re sharing our tips for making your own Disney magic at home . No FastPass Required! ?


Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom


Photo Credit: ©Aroastock via

The links included in this post are for informational purposes. I do not receive compensation in any way for their inclusion.


I originally wrote this post at the beginning of the pandemic last year. At the time, we had been social distancing for just over a week and the weather had been crummy. We couldn’t even get outside for our usual neighborhood walk because of the rain and the forecast showed chilly and gloomy weather ahead. What to do!? To help get out of our funk, my daughter and I randomly decided to stream a few videos of our favorite Disney attractions. The next thing we knew, we were scouring the house for mouse ears. Somehow what was supposed to be a short diversion turned into a trip to Animal Kingdom, which turned into park hopping. We went from Orlando to Anaheim to Paris to Hong Kong without ever leaving home. Woo hoo!



With the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World coming up on October 1, 2021, now seems like a good time to dust off the mouse ears and take a virtual trip to the parks in anticipation. Without further ado, I’d like to present our tips for bringing home the magic and share a few of our favorite {virtual} park highlights.


Tip # 1: Dress for Success

If you have mouse ears, you should totally wear them. You’ll feel silly at first, but it sets the tone. Trust us on this one. If you don’t have mouse ears, you might be able to DIY them if you have a few headbands and some basic craft supplies. Just go to Pinterest and search DIY Mouse Ears. There are tons of good tutorials available. The same goes for costumes. Wear them if you have them. Park touring in your coziest pajamas is also encouraged.


Tip # 2: Set the Atmosphere

  • Try to block out the light. The darker rides and the virtual reality ride-throughs are especially cool and best viewed without light interference.
  • Get your itinerary ready. We recreated our Disney World itineraries from a few years ago, but you can also head to the Disney websites for a list of shows and attractions by park.
  • Stream or airplay to the biggest screen that you have available. We started out on the iPad, which was good, but our smart television with surround sound made for a better viewing experience.
  • Get snacks. You need snacks. We especially love popcorn. I also just discovered that you can get Mickey Mouse ice cream bars at Walmart. Yum!

Tip # 3: Hit the Parks

Search YouTube for video ride-throughs of your favorite shows and attractions. It’s amazing how much great content is out there! We found videos for everything we searched. Of course, some of the rides translate better to video than others, but it’s still great fun. Even for those not so great ones, we had fun being couch potato critics.


Virtual visits have their perks, too. For example, you can experience a favorite discontinued attraction or a new release. As a fan of classic movies, I was a little disappointed to hear that The Great Movie Ride was retired, but it was fun to revisit those memories. When I originally wrote this blog post, I hadn’t yet experienced its replacement in person, but I can now report that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a lot of fun. I think I like it even better than The Great Movie Ride. We also love that we can compare similar rides at theme parks around the world. For instance, did you know that It’s a Small World at Disneyland has outdoor loading while the Magic Kingdom version of the ride is completely indoors? Watch them both. We prefer the Disneyland original.


In terms of our favorite ride-through videos, it has to be a toss-up between Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor and the Na’vi River Journey from the Animal Kingdom Park at Disney World.


We have three dachshunds, so we’ll admit we’re a little biased, and it’s a no-brainer that we love Slinky Dog Dash from Hollywood Studios. Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run is also really cool. My husband even joined in for that one (sans mouse ears).


To round out our top picks, we really enjoyed Soarin’ Around the World and Frozen Ever After from Epcot. And you can’t go wrong with Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.


When you’re ready to call it a night, stream this video of Tree of Life Awakening. So relaxing.


Tip #4: Let Loose

Go ahead, put your hands up when you ride the coasters. We dare you! If you’re a chicken like me when it comes to theme parks, this is your chance to be a daredevil. We “rode”every single attraction that we thought was a little scary three years ago. We are gonna be so ready to conquer our fears on the next trip!


Tip #5: Break for a Frozen Treat

No theme park trip would be complete without a little something sweet. Sherbet, ice cream cones, root beer floats, anything will do. If you’ve got pineapple, almond milk, and honey on hand, give this easy, 3-ingredient recipe for Pineapple Dole Whip a try, courtesy of Detoxinista. Bonus if you’ve kept your plastic cups from previous trips to Disney!


Tip #6: Dine in Character

When you’re all theme-parked out and ready for dinner, don your Disney costumes if you have them. Pick one of your favorite movies or soundtracks and play it in the background while you eat.


Tip #7: Make Memories

Take silly photos to commemorate your Disney staycation. Maybe even make a scrapbook or add it to your keepsakes from previous trips. Just have fun with it. This might just be your most memorable trip yet!


We hope you’ve enjoyed our take on a virtual Disney vacation. It’s not quite the same as the real deal, but we had fun pretending. It makes the wait for our next trip that much more exciting and helps with planning, too.




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Originally posted on March, 2020. Updated with links and text on July 21, 2020