While there are now dates in place for a phased opening of Walt Disney World, that doesn’t mean everyone will rush to the theme parks, especially when you consider many people need to fly to Orlando.
So if you’re missing Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang, this guide is for you. We’ve been hard at work rounding up all the ways you can bring home that Disney Magic. From park recipes you can cook at home to virtual ride experiences, there are plenty of free options (along with a few paid ones).
There’s no place better to start than on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.
Music from the parks
Rather than keeping the “It’s A Small World” theme on constant repeat, Disney has released playlists from its parks, which are readily available on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. You can listen to the calming ambiance that plays in the parks or rock out to the “Happily Ever After” (Magic Kingdom’s Nighttime Spectacular) playlists.
If you have a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo, Nest Mini, Sonos or HomePod, the music is just a request away. Simply ask Alexa, Google or Siri to play the Disney Parks Collection or Disney Parks Background Music playlists. We highly recommend the “Walt Disney World Official Album” as it gives a good mix of ride tracks, queue music and general music around the parks.
These playlists contain songs you’ll recognize from ride queues, including Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Spaceship Earth and even The Grand Fiesta Tour (aka The Three Caballeros featuring Donald Duck).
Watch a POV ride from home
If the music has you missing the rides, well, YouTube and Disney have a solution for you. There are countless videos which give you a front-row seat on many Disney rides. Plus, Disney is releasing pro-shot ride throughs.
And if you really want to recreate Splash Mountain, have a family member or friend at the ready with a water sprayer or a bucket for the true front-row experience. Better yet, some of these are even shot in virtual reality. You can place your smartphone in a Google Cardboard headset or even opt for an Oculus Quest for a high-end experience.
We’ve rounded up our favorite ride-alongs below!
Whip up Disney treats
If you crave Disney cuisine, look no further. Disney has taken the liberty of posting a number of recipes for its most famous foods and desserts here.
A highlight: Tonga Toast, a french toast variant served at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The sweet delight features cinnamon, bananas and a pinch of magic (if you have some on hand).
We’ve taken the liberty of assembling the ingredients from Amazon Fresh.
For something on the cheesier side, there’s the grilled cheese sandwich from Toy Story Land. The recipe is available here, and it provides instructions not only for the grilled cheese, but the cream cheese and garlic spread to go along with it. We also compiled the list of ingredients available on Amazon Fresh.
Cream cheese spread
Grilled three-cheese sandwich
We also have to highlight the Churro Bites, the absolutely irresistible staple of any Disney visit for which we’ve written a more in-depth guide on its creation.
And there are even more ways to make your favorite Disney-themed meals than just those recipes. There are plenty of YouTube channels that feature famous dishes that you’ll definitely want to try. One of our favorites is “Binging with Babish,” which shows off a few. Ever wanted to try the bone broth from “The Mandalorian?” Babish takes a successful swing at recreating it, walking through his recipe and methods. For something vegetarian that involves fewer bones, he can also walk you through cooking some delicious looking spinach puffs from “The Emperor’s New Groove.”
Control the Runaway Railway with DisneyNOW
As you may know, Disney makes an array of apps, and the DisneyNOW app contains both shows and a few game components. Most recently, Disney added an AR experience of the latest attraction to open in Hollywood Studios: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, an augmented reality experience that can be powered by an iOS or Android device. The best news? It’s free.
While you can’t create a full working ride, you can at least drop in elements from the ride, like Mickey and friends, cars, boats, balloons and trains inspired by the attraction. You can scale them to lifesize within your room or more pint-sized in the AR mode. With a sandbox, you can make a course and then choose your vehicle to ride on it.
We tested this on an iPhone 11 Pro Max, Galaxy S20+ and the 7th Gen iPad. The larger 10.2-inch screen of the iPad was more immersive, but all-in-all it was a fun time. The 7th Gen iPad is also currently on sale and can handle many other experiences.
Roam Disneyland from home
You might remember a bit of an older video game titled Disneyland Adventures. Fun fact: It works on the Xbox One and a Windows PC. Plus, it’s also regularly on sale. The graphics are dated, but the game lets you walk around a slightly smaller Disneyland, complete with Main Street, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and New Orleans Square. Your favorite rides are turned into minigames where you can swim, fly and ride around with famous Disney characters. You can even get autographs from friends such as Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Stitch, Goofy and Donald.
Drive a droid at home
While you previously had to go to Batuu (aka Galaxy’s Edge) to make your own droid, ShopDisney is now selling prebuilt BB-8 Astromech units for $99.99 each. With these, you can have your very own droid to call your friend, comrade and even pal.
And if you have a droid from your past trips to Disney, you now have the option of controlling these with a companion app for iOS or Android. Just search “Droid Depot” in the respective app store and pair it with your droid. You’ll be able to program it for a certain set of movies, make it talk and even play tic-tac-toe with it.
Play mini-games and draw your favorite characters
If you tucked the My Disney Experiences apps into a seldom opened folder on your phone, it’s time to bring them back out. Small content updates have been arriving in the forms of mini-games, quick musical numbers and even trivia. Additionally, the Play Disney app for iOS and Android gives you easy access to music played in specific parts of the park.
Disney is also kicking its “Learn to Draw” series into high gear with two new instructional videos. You can learn to draw classic Mickey Mouse renditions and even Spider-Man in his upgraded suit.
Relive your favorite shows and nighttime entertainment
While you might be wishing you were at the park taking in fireworks in front of Cinderella’s Castle or maybe in the outdoor theater getting ready to take in Fantasmic!, Disney has a safe way to enjoy these from home and be appropriately socially distanced.
And as expected, these videos give you what is arguably the best seat in the house. Below you’ll find the high-quality videos that Disney has released. We suggest dimming the lights and even turning on a set of Nanoleaf lights that can react to the music.
And if you want to spice up your video calls, you can download some wallpapers that are perfect to bring Disney magic into the workplace.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.