I’m so excited to start sharing our family’s tradition of Disney movie nights with you! First up, we’re sharing all of the details and recipes for our Pirates of the Caribbean movie night – ahoy!
Ella and I have been loving our twice monthly family tradition of a Disney movie night. We make a few recipes inspired by the movie or the culture that the movie is set in, and while it’s cooking Ella does a craft inspired by the movie. She also loves the task of decorating the table to go with the theme of the night – and I’ve got to say, she’s been doing a pretty good job with items we already have in the house!
Right now, with Ella having such an early bedtime (7:30pm), we decorate a small table that can be brought into the living room and we eat as we watch the movie. When she’s older, we might have time for making the food and craft, eating supper in the dining room, and then moving into the living room for dessert and the movie – but with only 2 to 2 1/2 hours between the daycare closing and bedtime rituals this is a compromise I’m okay with making.
This same menu and itinerary would also work wonderfully for any of the following movies if you don’t want to do a Pirates of the Caribbean Movie Night:
- Peter Pan
- Hook (the Robin Williams update)
- The Pirates: Band of Misfits
- The Goonies
- Muppets Treasure Island
- The Pirate Fairy (a Tinkerbell movie)
If you’re planning a Disney trip anytime in the future, this is a fun way to build anticipation and count down to your trip. If you have kids with distinctly different movie tastes, try alternating who gets to pick the movie and get everyone involved in planning the menu and activities.
Check out the bottom of this post for a printable shopping list to make planning your own family movie night easier.
Pirates of the Caribbean Movie Night Menu
For the Pirates of the Caribbean we could have gone with either a pirate-themed menu or any Caribbean cuisine. We went with some traditional Jamaican recipes:
- Jamaican Tossed Salad
- Jerk Shrimp and Rice (I forgot to buy beans)
- Banana Fritters
Of course, I indulge in a themed cocktail, as well – and for Pirates of the Caribbean I went with a classic Jamaican Rum Cocktail.
Ella decorated the table with a pirate flag (purchased here), some pirate gold coins, and heart-shaped jewels.
Pirates of the Caribbean Craft
For her craft, Ella decorated her own telescope. I bought a large set here for the daycare kids and we had a few left over. You could alternatively just decorate a large cardboard tube (from a paper towel roll). Making pirate gold or a pirate treasure sensory bin would be a good alternative.
Jamaican Tossed Salad
While it was fun to try out recipes from my good friend’s culture, this salad needed some dressing for me after like two bites. However, if you were mixing it in with another recipe that had it’s own sauce, it would probably be perfect – and the freshness is a nice contrast to the spicier foods on the menu.
How to Make a Jamaican Tossed Salad
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrot (approximately 2 carrots)
- 1/2 sliced sweet pepper
- 1 green onion, sliced
Combine the cabbage, carrot and sweet pepper. Top with the green onion and serve.
Jamaican Jerk Shrimp
If you want to see a Jamaican get mad, mislabel something as “jerk” that isn’t up to their discriminating standards. My friend Alecia had strong opinions a to what constituted jerk seasoning and luckily, she shared them with me so I could make a delicious and authentic jerk shrimp. However, she’ll be disappointed to see that I forgot to buy beans to mix in with my rice – area of improvement for next time!
Jerk seasoning can come as a paste or a dry spice – Alecia is firm that the rub (paste) is more authentic, but I’m more concerned with ensuring we have the right seasonings in that mix. A good jerk marinade should have allspice (which is called “pimento” in Jamaica – don’t confuse it with paprika) and Scotch bonnet peppers – which are hot. Cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and salt are also popular add-ins.
How to Make Jerk Shrimp
- 1 cup uncooked shrimp, peeled
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 Tablespoon jerk seasoning, or to taste
- 2 cups rice, uncooked
- 1 cup beans, uncooked
Cook the rice according to package directions or in a rice cooker.
Boil the beans in a saucepan over high heat, and then reduce to simmer as you prepare your shrimp.
Heat the oil in a small skillet, and then add the shrimp. Adding the seasoning early on will help develop the flavour and reduce the heat. Adding it towards the end will result in a less pronounced flavour but more heat. (Choose wisely.)
Cook until the shrimp is opaque and has taken on an almost orange colour, about 10 minutes. Taste one to ensure they are fully cooked and that the heat is where you want it to be. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Serve shrimp with rice and beans. (Oops.)
Jamaican Rum Punch
I was cringing as I added all of the grenadine to this recipe, but it was surprisingly delicious. It really is one of the best rum punches I’ve ever drank. If you’d like a grenadine-free version, check out my mai tai cocktail recipe instead.
How to Make a Jamaican Rum Punch
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups dark rum
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
- Citrus slices, garnish
- Maraschino cherries, garnish
In a large pitcher, mix the pineapple, orange and lime juices. Add the rum and set aside.
For each individual serving glass, pour in one tablespoon of grenadine syrup (or simply the syrup from the maraschino cherry jar). Fill the glass with ice.
Prepare your garnishes beforehand by skewering citrus slices and cherries for a cute, tropical garnish and also to let guests know what flavors they will taste in their drink.
When ready to enjoy, pour the rum punch into each glass to allow for a sunset effect. The drink will be red and the bottom and gradually fade to orange at the top.
Garnish and serve.
Jamaican Banana Fritters
These aren’t fritters in the sense of a donut, they are more a banana-batter pancake dusted with sugar. This is my friend Alecia’s favourite Jamaican dessert and the kids really enjoyed them. I’m sharing the super-easy recipe over on In the Kids Kitchen.
Planning Your Own Family Movie Night
I’ve made this free Family Movie Night planning sheet for you to plan your own movie night – whether that be for Pirates of the Caribbean or another family favourite.
The first couple times you host a family movie night, try to take it easy – stick to recipes that you’ve tried before, pick a craft or activity well within the kids’ skill level, and don’t over plan the night. The movie will probably get started later than you expected and the kids might be a little over-excited at the new family tradition (especially if eating supper in front of the TV)!
We originally tried to do these weekly, but for now doing them every 2 weeks has allowed them to still be a fun family time that we look forward to, without feeling like just another thing I have to schedule and plan for.
Does your family host movie nights, or have any other fun traditions?
Be sure to let me know if your family gives this movie night – or any movie night – a try! Do you have any suggestions for others who want to attempt their own movie night?
For more Disney-inspired family fun, check out our Princess Jasmine upcycled bangles or our