Entertaining with Disney is an event-planning guide book that will help you plan a variety of events from birthday parties to bridal shower brunches, Halloween parties to outdoor movie nights—all with a Disney twist. Each event idea is explored in detail with a menu, decorations, and activities designed to fit a different Disney movie theme. Unfortunately, another part of that Disney twist is that actually organizing any of these events is going to cost you big bucks.
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This is easily one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in years. The cover alone was enough to make me ooh and ahh as if I were standing in the Magic Kingdom watching the nightly fireworks thanks to its stunning Millennial Pink and pale turquoise color-scheme with a rose gold foiled title. Inside, every page is stunning with perfectly photographed examples of each event idea mixed with sketches of the characters used for inspiration. Scattered across the pages of Entertaining with Disney are bubbles containing useful tips and snippets of Disney history related to that event’s theme and the book also includes links to over 30 downloadable templates for everything from invitations to backdrops and sewing patterns.
Each event is given a chapter that follows the same order. First up is an overview, followed by the “For the Menu” section which features a handful of recipes mixing hors d’oeuvres, nibbles, drinks, and desserts along with a few more substantial offerings for certain events. “For the Space” is next and here you’ll find decorative ideas including backdrops and centerpieces to theme whatever location you’ll be holding your event in. After this is “For Fun” where you’ll find ideas for invitations, playlists, and party games and, finally, each chapter ends with “Putting It All Together.” This section counts down to your event from “Two or More Weeks Before,” through “One Week Before,” “Two Days Before,” “One Day Before,” and finally “The Day Of.” This is a very useful section if you choose to host an event because it will help you plan out when to get on with each thing so you’re not rushing to complete everything at the last minute.
While each event is given a specific theme—a New Orleans dinner party inspired by The Princess and the Frog, a baby shower inspired by The Lion King, etc.—the ideas could easily be mixed and matched to give you an event with a different theme. The ideas here could also be used to create events with themes not included in the book. The Vile Villain Cupcakes from the Villains Halloween event, Arendelle Winter Waffle Bar from the Frozen-inspired holiday brunch, and the Rose Napkins from the Alice in Wonderland Valentine’s Day garden party could all be adapted to a Beauty and the Beast theme with little effort.
All that being said, Entertaining with Disney is a difficult book to recommend. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great ideas in here, but when a simple bowtie pasta salad contains a list of 12 separate ingredients and nearly every decorative item requires a cutting machine and access to heat-transfer vinyl (there is always a note on how to make items without this equipment, but it’s clearly an afterthought), you know that this is a book aimed at a very specific group of people. I don’t know a single person who has ever invested money in large quantities of new crockery simply to match the theme of a party lasting only a few hours, yet this is a running theme here with a guide to which dishes to purchase for each event. Personally, however, it was the recipe for cream cheese on toast that called for edible gold leaf that made me roll my eyes the hardest.
Many of the parties also call for professional flower arrangements or multi-tiered cakes, items that can cost a full party budget by themselves for many people. This is a book for folks who can afford to plan events with little thought as to cost (both financial and in time spent planning) and it often became laughable if you were to actually follow the event plans to the letter. I’m sure there is someone out there with the time, money, and inclination to sew a full set of plush tentacles and hot glue them to a cauldron atop a cake stand simply to serve punch at a pumpkin carving party, but I know I’m not that person and I’d wager you’re not either.
Entertaining with Disney is a great book to take inspiration from and also simply to look at, but I cannot imagine ever using it to fully plan an event. For one, I know that nothing I tried to recreate would ever match the picture-perfect images here with their vintage themed crockery and rooms empty of piles of plastic toys in the background. I got the strong impression that I am not the kind of person that this book was written for, and I suspect many readers will feel the same way.
GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.