As a kid, our parents liked taking us to the drive in theater. I have fond memories watching double features, watching movies late at night through the summer and the playground. But now, as technology gets smaller and more affordable – it’s easy to replicate these movie nights in your own back yard. I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to be able to recreate this feeling in our own back yard for family and friends.
Thanks to Disney, we’re actually hosting a series of Movies Under the Stars with our friends and family. They sent us a Portable pocket projector, a Tailgater speaker, a HDMI cord and a phone converter. Our first movie party was for the new Signature Release of Bambi. Having our own movie viewing party was a lot easier than we expected, and we did run into a few hiccups along the way. So here are some of our favorite tips so you can have your own party – and become the most awesome house on the block!
#1 – Find Your Screen!
So, they sell large inflatable screens you can anchor in your yard just for movie night. For me, the blow up screens are too big for the size yard we have, and the price was a bit more than I wanted to spend right away. You can always project the movies on a garage door, a size of the house or even the fence. But what we found works best is a large table cloth!
We ran a rope from a tree to the garage and threw the table cloth over it. With a few chip clips, it held the screen perfectly in place! Our tablecloth screen is 60 x 126 inches – big enough to project a huge movie on no mater where we set it up!
#2 – Charge Up Your Technology!
If it’s your laptop, your projector or speaker, make sure everything is charged before you get started. The Tailgater speaker has up to 50 hours of use on a full charge, and can shake the house with how loud you can crank it up. But by having everything fully charged, it means you can take this set up anywhere and aren’t going to be constricted by wires as you go.
#3 – Get Your Snacks Ready
Popcorn is an obvious, but if your movie night has a theme – get something delicious ready for your guests. We had some adorable nature themed cupcakes to go with the environmental message with flowers and bees. Now, these treats don’t have to be anything special or take a ton of time. I actually ran out of time to bake the cupcakes I love, so I picked up some store bought ones for our guests and added the embellishments. They were a hit with the kids and saved me hours.
#4 – Have Your Movie Ready
The Tailgater can connect to your phone via Bluetooth and you can stream to the projector from your phone. It’s amazing how easy this is and you could even take the movies camping with you! Bambi, like almost all Disney new releases come with a Digital version of the movie on Disney Movies Anywhere. You can connect your phone to the projector and not worry about having a a computer with you.
#5 – Get Some Fun Accessories
This isn’t a requirement at all – but the kids always love it! They know to ask if I brought hats when they see me coming over. That leads to great photos for memories later – but most of all it’s a fun way to get in the mood for the movie night!
We picked up some fun ears for the kids to wear, plus some great Bambi toys for the kids to play with while they watch the movie. It’s a simple thing – but it makes the movie a bit more enjoyable for the little ones.
#6 – Be Sure to Prepare For Weather and Back Up Plans
Watching movies outside means you never know what the weather is throwing at you. We always have pillows, blankets and chairs waiting. But what do you do when it starts raining? Or the sun sets a bit too late for bed times? Have a back up location ready or a plan B! We ended up doing our first showing for the little viewers inside so they could go to bed before 9 pm and didn’t get too cranky. We were able to watch the movie again and others outside once the sun finally set.
The portability of the system makes it easy to move inside if you need to – and the movies are great on the go! If you have a place that gets a little more shade earlier (under a second level deck) you could hold a movie time earlier during these bright summer nights!
But the most important thing about having your own Movie Under the Stars night is to have fun. It’s about building memories with your family, and watching some of your favorite movies together. We’re so excited to have our next movie night this weekend!