We have a variety of friends that are on Spring Break right now and many of them are spending some time at Disney World during their family vacation. Our family has been able to visit the last few years, but we realize that it’s a significant investment and sacrifice in many other areas for us to be able to enjoy Disney as a family.

Here’s some tips on how to Bring Disney to Life in Your Backyard and although this post is related to families from the UK, the tips and suggestions provided can easily be tuned to your own local cities and neighborhoods.

The mere mention of Disneyworld is enough to send most children into spasms of pure joy. Of course, it’s a different matter for parents. With the average Disney holiday costing several thousand pounds, most parents will wince when their little darlings come home begging to go to Florida because “Timmy from next door has been four times”.

If you’re looking for the Disney experience without the Disney credit card bills, why not try one of these low-cost alternatives?

  1. Throw a Disney parade party.
    The parades are, after the rides, the best part of a Disney holiday. A cavalcade of colourful characters marches through the park accompanied by music, dancers, street performers and elaborate floats. The likes of Cinderella and Snow White wave demurely like the princesses they are at the assembled masses and everyone has a jolly magical time.However, you don’t have to fly half-way around the world to see a lady dressed as Ariel the mermaid; putting on your own Disney parade is a fun way to keep the kids busy for the afternoon and it will cost considerably less than visiting the real thing.All you’ll need is a table full of party food, a CD of Disney songs, as many of your children’s friends as you can muster, either a well-stocked dressing up box or a bit of cash to spend at your local fancy dress rental shop, and the phone number of a cheap bouncy castle rental place.Spend the morning getting in the Disney mood with the kids; watch a few DVDs, make the bunting, inflate the bouncy castle (rental costs under £100), lay out the party food and get your costumes ready. Once everything’s set, put on a best of Disney CD, turn it up loud, march around the garden together, wave at the neighbours and have a thoroughly silly time on the bouncy castle. The whole experience will cost as much or as little as you’d like and not only will you be treating your kids to a magical afternoon, but you’ll be keeping their friends busy, too.
  2. See a Disney stage show in the West End
    If you want to really experience Disney without leaving the UK, then there’s nowhere better to do it that the West End.The Lyceum Theatre’s production of The Lion King has been delighting families since 1999 and it remains as energetic and as mesmerising as it was then. The classic Disney film is brought to life by one of the West End’s best casts and some of the most incredible costumes ever seen in Theatreland. The giraffes in-particular are a triumph which will leave the entire family dazzled by the sheer realism of the production.All of your favourite songs and characters are there, the auditorium is always packed, the atmosphere is always electric and there’s not a three-hour queue in sight! That certainly can’t be said for the “real thing”.If you don’t live in/around London, that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out. Ticket and hotel packages are available for all West End shows, not just The Lion King, so if you want to turn a trip to the theatre into a mini-break, there are lots of companies who’d be more than willing to help.
  3. Enjoy some family time
    The Disney message, underneath all of the Caribbean crabs and orphaned deer, is one of family, love and belonging. You don’t need to splash out on parade parties or West End tickets to simply enjoy being in one another’s company.If you want the real Disney experience, then gather the family together and tell stories, look at photographs, play games and revel in those little in-jokes that only you and yours understand. Making the time for a heartfelt family gathering may not be as flashy as a trip to Florida and you and the kids won’t meet Rafiki or Buzz Lightyear in your living room, but you will make memories that will last far longer than a ride on a rollercoaster.