Tonight’s blog is all about Walt Disney World family traditions. We all have them, that one thing we have to do, or eat, or accomplish before leaving our magical place. We thought we would share some of ours with you.
We used to stay off-property…yeah, that’s right. Before we really knew our Disney, we stayed on International Drive at the Gateway Inn. Once we got smarter, we really loved staying at the value resorts. Our tradition would be to hop out of our van in the parking lot, and take a picture of the kids in front by the Movies or Music sign. The excitement on their faces to be there is priceless. That is usually our favorite picture of the trip.
After check-in, we always walk to the room first, through the resort, and look at where our room is located right away. After settling in, we love to head down to the food court and grab a snack, sit in one of the large booths, and plan out which park we are heading to the next day. Before heading back to the room, we always take a look at what’s in the gift shop always making sure to grab a bag of chocolate coins and donut holes.
Epcot is always our first park of choice, and “Soarin” is always the first ride now. After a couple rides, we love to settle into one of the comfy booths in “The Land” and have the Chinese food from the Sunshine Seasons Food Court. We enjoy watching people file in the building for “Soarin” while we enjoy a layered Strawberry Shortcake dessert. Our youngest child, Jessie, is terrified of the snake in the “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”, so while Carl and Belle go to the show, Jessie and I play with the jumping fountains. We have so many fond memories of this tradition. Sigh, wish we were there now.
At Magic Kingdom, our tradition is always eating at Cosmic Ray’s at least once, and “Peter Pan” is always our first ride there. We always have to get our morning Castle picture, and our nighttime picture. A ride on the TTA is a must, and we have to ride the Carousel of Progress at least once…singing along is mandatory. We can’t leave without having a Dole Whip and taking at least one picture by the “Partners” statue.
Our favorite traditions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are quirky, family ones. The one that stands out the most for us is getting to Fantasmic when they open, finding the highest bench, and munching on hot dogs and chips as other families fill in. We also love to hang out after everyone has left and walk out while no one is there and chat with the Cast Members along the way. Other ones we have are playing on the steps of the back street buildings, taking pictures in the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” playground, and we love listening to the Star Wars music and sound effects outside of “Star Tours.” Ending the night walking down an empty boulevard, our children’s hands in ours…pure magic.
The traditions at Animal Kingdom have always been planning moves turned into repeated good times. Getting to rope drop, we head to the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride, fast pass it, and then head to the Pangani Forest Trail to visit the Gorillas. We have fallen in love with this tradition for so many reasons. It’s so peaceful and quiet in the morning, everyone else is hitting the rides, and the sun is usually just starting to peek over the trail. We take pictures, and just stare. Did you ever feel like “Jane” in the movie “Tarzan” when she looks around her and all of the Gorillas are looking down at her? That’s what this trail feels like to us. We love to also take funny pictures in the Dinosaur ride area where it looks like we are screaming or going to be eaten-yeah, we are silly.
Outside the parks, we have our traditions at Downtown Disney. We always pick up soap at “Basin,”, we used to pick up new Monorail pieces at “Once Upon a Toy,” and we always stop at “Pin Traders” to pick up a couple of pins. For the past couple of trips, we have started a new tradition of purchasing attraction posters, animated drawings, or lithographs. We love to pick up a new ornament with our trip year on it at the Christmas Store, and always shop at the World of Disney for the traditional Disney sweatshirt, kitchen items, edible goodies, and of course we have to have a new magnet each trip.
Last but not least, we have our resort and monorail traditions. Usually our first day at the parks we ride the monorail from Epcot to MK and back. Catching the Resort monorail is also a must to have our traditional walk into the Polynesian Lobby or a walk on the beach. We like to catch a bus to the AK Lodge and walk around looking at the animals.
As we head home, we always take one more walk through the Resort, to the food court, fill-up our mug for the last time, and see if there is anything we want to buy in the gift shop before leaving.
We want to know, what are YOUR family traditions while visiting Walt Disney World? Comment away, and have an incredible day!
~Carl and Ellie Peters~