Visits to The Sunshine State can be good for your soul, but not so great for your bank account, which means many of us only manage a trip to this magical place every few years or less. So we need to find other ways of getting our Florida Fix when we’re stuck back in the UK with a case of the PDB (Post Disney Blues)!
Here’s how you can bring a little bit of that Florida magic into your everyday life:
1. Have a Movie Day or Evening
It sounds simple, but watching a Disney movie, or films like Jurassic Park or Harry Potter, really takes me right back. The same works for listening to music from the theme parks; you can buy a CD or listen to one of the many Disney radio stations available online.
2. Enjoy some American treats!
To go with the movies, buy some American treats or make some US-inspired dishes. You can get things like Twinkies and candy from most supermarkets, and you can find recipes for Walt Disney World favourites online such as The Liberty Tree Inn pot roast in the Magic Kingdom. Yum!
3. Make a scrap book of memories
This is a great one to do with the kids! Sit down with all your holiday snaps and those receipts, maps and napkins you just couldn’t throw away, and create a scrap book or memory box. It is lovely having digital pictures, but sometimes being able to physically pick something up and look through is even better.
4. Watch videos of the theme parks
Along the same lines as the movies is watching vlogs, YouTube videos and Periscope from the parks. We often like to watch the parades and POV (point of view) rides when we are missing our favourite place! I also listen to a lot of Disney podcasts; there are loads to choose from but I like the American ones best.
5. Visit a Disney Store!
Granted, they are few and far between these days, but these shops are a great little fix of Orlando. This works for me for most US-based stores over here, especially in London, like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, even Gap and Starbucks.
6. Go to a show or US sporting event
Obvious choices here are shows like The Lion King, Disney on Ice and the NFL games at Wembley. However, I find even going to our local ice-hockey games give me a sense of the USA – several UK towns have either an ice-hockey team or an American Football team.
7. Eat in a USA-style diner
A lot of towns in the UK have one now, and although they may not serve donut burgers, they do a decent job of many of the quintessential American food items. We like to go for breakfast and have pancakes with bottomless coffee; not quite IHOP but still pretty good! And sometimes, even just a Pizza Hut or McDonalds visit can bring back memories of ones we’ve eaten at in the States.
8. Take a trip down memory lane
Sense of smell for me is really important in evoking memories. The scent of my mango body wash sends me straight to Florida! Cinnamon candles in the lounge make me think of Main Street in Disney World and the Christmas shops. The smell of cookies and coffee in our shopping malls make me think of the US outlets too.
9. Go to a UK theme park
It does work, especially if you put your mind to it! I visited Legoland Windsor wearing my Walt Disney World lanyard and cap and got lots of cool compliments. Yes you may need your coat and boots rather than sun cream and shorts, but queueing for coasters and browsing the over-priced toys and souvenirs always reminds me of being in Florida, even if I am longing for the interactive lines and Fastpasses…
Of course, if you are REALLY missing Disney in particular, you could always sneak in a short trip to Disneyland Paris!
But for me, the very best way to get a fix of Florida is … book your next trip and start planning!!
How do you like to re-create the magic of Florida when you’re back at home?