I am 100% on board with every single thing about the movie Moana – seriously, THANK YOU Disney for fiiiiiinally giving us a heroine that we can all get our daughters on board with – and was more than happy to make my daughter’s third birthday party Moana-themed, per her request. I was not, however, super psyched about the idea of making my house look like the Summer Blowout aisle at Party City. I mean, surely there was a way to evoke the whole Polynesian-adventure thing without breaking napkins decorated with The Rock (or at least his animated counterpart). …No?
Here’s how we de-Disneyfied our Moana party (while still making all those three-year-old dreams come true).
The Decor: We went for a chilled-out luau vibe with grass table skirts hung along bannisters, and tabletops sprinkled with faux grass and fabric hibiscus flowers (plus the evil coconuts from the movie, because they’re adorable). We also borrowed a toy boat from a friend, and integrated it into the tablescape by letting it function as a serving platter for fruit. For serving dishes, we used pieces from Noritake China’s Carnivale (pink and gold) and Accompanist (simple white platters edged with gold) collections, to give the tablescape a more polished feel. (The kids got compostable palm leaf – e.g. unbreakable – plates, because we’re not crazy.)
The Food: The Moana Cake was the highlight, obviously, but we also had Hawaiian pizza, pasta salad with olives and tomatoes, various dips, and Desert Island Cupcakes (store-bought mini cupcakes customized with dark blue icing, palm tree cupcake toppers and gold sprinkle “sand”).
The Drinks: In addition to the regular assortment of juices and sodas, I set up a station with Strawberry-Mint Water on one side (literally just strawberries and mint tossed into still water and left to infuse for a couple of hours) and Tropical White Sangria for the adults on the other – plus cocktail umbrellas and flamingo drink-stirrers, of course.
TROPICAL WHITE SANGRIA
- 2 bottles dry white wine
- 1 small can pineapple rings in their juice (no sugar added)
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup sparkling water or seltzer
Combine all ingredients, stir, and let sit in refrigerator at least 3 hours. Just before serving, add sparkling water and mix lightly.