Walt Disney World Theme Park Traditions
A Walt Disney World Planning Articleby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 03-12-2015
"What traditions do you have when you visit the theme parks at Walt Disney World?"
br ?That's a question I often see asked on the PassPorter message boards, and I often think to myself "I don't think we really have any traditions," certainly not to the extent to some of the replies I see, where people perhaps always go to the same park on their first day, or perhaps always ensure they visit the same attraction as the first or last thing they do on their vacation. But then again, the more I thought about it, maybe we do have some Disney traditions after all.
Epcot - Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth against a clear blue sky.
Outside of the parks, we always ensure that we stay at our two favourite Walt Disney World resorts, the Beach Club Villas, and Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas. Without a stay at either, somehow now it just doesn't feel like a "proper" Disney vacation.
I guess another of our traditions is ensuring that we visit each of the four parks at least once during our time in the bubble. To allow us to do that, we always try to spend a minimum of six days at Walt Disney World, so that we can spend a day each at the Studios, and Animal Kingdom, and two days each at Epcot, and Magic Kingdom, as there’s so much to see and do in each of those parks.
While we don’t have a set pattern for where we go first, once upon a time we did. We’d always head to Animal Kingdom first, as we found it an easier park to explore and enjoy on our first day. Now it depends first where we’re staying. If we’re near the Magic Kingdom, we’ll head there, or if we’re close to Epcot, we might go there. We also look at which parks have Extra Magic Hours in the morning, as when we fly in, due to the jetlag, we’re usually awake really early, and it’s nice to be able to head to the parks early, and get our day started. I guess it’s whatever works best for individuals, and then that becomes your tradition.
We do have certain rides and attractions that we have to do or see on each trip, so those are also traditions for us. In the Magic Kingdom, for us, it’s the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The latter is because of my beloved donkey Eeyore, but the other two are there because, to me, they’re iconic Disney attractions, and the sort of thing you just don’t find at any other theme park in the world. The theming in them is just wonderful, and I love the fact that everyone can enjoy them, with children and adults getting different enjoyment from what they see in them. That’s the same reason why we always do attractions like Spaceship Earth in Epcot, and One Man’s Dream in the Studios.
Although they’re very different attractions, to me, the same thing applies to Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek. In all our travels, I’ve never seen animals presented in such a wonderfully creative way, and it’s always a joy to see them in each of these attractions, even if the animals don’t always cooperate.
There are also certain restaurants that we always visit, particularly the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom (the Eeyore connection again), Teppan Edo in Epcot, and outside of the parks, California Grill at the Contemporary, and Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Although we don’t specifically get our photo taken on each trip in a certain part of the park, like I know some people do, I’m sure that we have photos dating back over the 15 plus years of our marriage at the various park icons, like Spaceship Earth or Cinderella Castle. Every trip we take, we always get the Photopass package, and make a point of finding as many Photopass photographers as we can during our stay to get the best value for money out of the package. It’s a lot of a fun having a challenge like that, and it ensures that we get photos of the two of us, something that we often sadly miss on other trips.
Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safaris
Another truck heads out on an adventure...
So I guess what I’ve really found from writing this is that, while I went into it thinking “I don’t have any traditions”, actually we do. They may not be quite as prescriptive as some people’s, but they’re still traditions none the less, and I’m sure to a greater or lesser extent, we all have our own traditions when it comes to Disney. It may be a ride, or restaurant that you have to visit, a photo that you take of a member of the family at the same spot every visit. Whatever it is, it’s special to you.
And here, I will confess that I do have one tradition that’s very special to me, and perhaps unique as well. I'm sure others adore the Magic Kingdom, but for me, Epcot stole my heart when I was a teenager. When I know that we're leaving that park for the last time on our vacation, I always say a quiet farewell to Spaceship Earth, as Epcot's icon, and promise that we'll back. Perhaps that's the best tradition to have, always promising yourself that you'll be returning back to Walt Disney World?
Updated 03-12-2015 - Article #1166
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
Want to know more about Walt Disney World?
Sign up to get our free weekly newsletter with the latest news and updates on Walt Disney World and a 20% discount coupon.
You are in good company -- we have more than 50,000 subscribers!