Does your family have special traditions when you take a Walt Disney World Vacation? Are there certain restaurants you always eat in? Are there special things that you do in the theme parks or resorts that you do every time you visit? Are there pictures that you must take every time you visit? After reading a great article from WDW Fan Zone columnist Rebecca Z. titled “Personal Photo Musts for the Disney Fanatic” (http://www.wdwfanzone.com/2012/06/personal-photo-musts-for-the-disney-fanatic/) about pictures her family made sure they take each time they visit WDW, it made me realize that there are other Disney fanatics that do the same things as me!!
Growing up, my family (my mom, dad, sister and I), spent 2 weeks every year at WDW at Christmastime through after New Year’s. We were always so excited to go and counted down months before. It was so exciting when my dad would take the luggage out of storage and we’d begin packing. The night before we left it was so hard to sleep. We’d wake up really early and take an early flight to Orlando. After loading our countless luggage in the rental car, we were on our way. I always got so excited seeing the signs for the resorts and theme parks. Every year when we went we stayed at the Contemporary Resort so as we got closer and closer, I would be on the lookout for it! I always wanted to be the first to see it in my family and when I did, I would shout “I see the Contemporary”!! Yes, I really did this. It was something my parents loved to hear me say! We’d pull up to the front and my dad would check us in. We always stayed in the North Garden Wing (which is now gone and has been replaced by Bay Lake Tower). My parents would always request a room in the hallway closest to the main tower so we didn’t have far to walk. The two end rooms next to the door were 7101 and 7188 so we were always glad when my dad would come out and tell us we got one of those rooms! After settling in, we felt like we never left!
Being at WDW during the Christmas season was very exciting. There were beautiful lights and decorations and lots of special things to see and do. On Christmas Day the parade was filmed live and hosted by Regis Philbin. In fact Regis used to stay at the Contemporary and we’d see him out by the pool area. On Christmas morning my parents and I used to get up before sunrise and walk over to the Magic Kingdom entrance. My sister used to sleep in and meet us a little later. There was always a small crowd there and they would actually let everyone in early. Since the parade was broadcast live we thought it would be cool to find a spot to sit where we’d get on TV. We figured out that in front of The Penny Arcade (which was part of the second section of stores on the left) was a great place. As crazy as this sounds, we often sat with the same people from year to year. It was really amazing to meet up with them again after a whole year. We would all pass the time talking and getting excited for the parade! We would also be on the lookout for Regis! One of the most amazing people I saw was Jim Henson. He was holding Kermit and being interviewed. It was around the time that the Muppets were going to be taking up residence at DHS, which at the time was MGM Studios.
The next tradition we did on our WDW vacation happened on New Year’s Eve. Around 6pm, they would start giving out hats and noisemakers to everyone. We would grab a quick dinner and then head over to Cinderella Castle to wait for midnight. Sometimes we sat right in front of the castle and then we started sitting on the side of the castle closer to Liberty Square and would be able to move chairs or benches to sit on. It was much more comfortable that way. No matter where we sat, we’d always talk to all the people around us. The New Year’s Eve fireworks and show were really amazing. After it was all over we always went to The Crystal Palace for dessert. My dad’s favorite thing to get was 1001 Chocolate Cake which was rich chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and 1000’s of small chocolate chips. I know he always looked forward to it all night!!
One of my favorite things to eat at WDW was what I called a “Disney Hotdog”. They always tasted so good and I ate them frequently! I also liked to make sure to have a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar and my sister and I loved getting the popcorn. More favorites were churros, Dole Whips and Citrus Swirls.
One of the other traditions we had was our must-have yearly pictures. When I read Rebecca’s article we had a bunch of similar places we liked to take photos of. Some of the pictures we took yearly included: 1) The Native-American statues on Main Street and Frontierland, 2) the oval Adventureland sign at the entrance to Adventureland from Main Street, 3) the silver Mickey Mouse statue that was out by the pool area at the Contemporary, 4) the red phone booths at EPCOT near the United Kingdom, and 5) the tikis in Adventureland, and 6) the Mickey Mouse in flowers in front of the entrance. These were just a small portion of the pictures. We also liked to take a picture with each Disney character and prior to going, made a checklist so we knew we knew who we already got and who we were missing. My parents also liked us to wear the same shirts and my dad would set up the self-timer on the camera and snap a picture of us.
These are just some of the traditions that my family had. Now that I am married and have kids of my own, I am looking forward to having new traditions and making memories with my family that will last a lifetime. My kids love Disney as much as I do. So far our 2 favorite restaurants are Chef Mickey’s and ‘Ohana. In fact my older daughter said Chef Mickey’s has the best pizza she ever had. We like to collect pins, shop at Downtown Disney (especially World of Disney) and we always make sure we spend our last day at the Magic Kingdom which is our favorite!
Does your family have any traditions during Disney Vacations? Does anyone do similar things to what my family did? Does anyone do something different? Please comment below and let me know! I would love some ideas of some cool stuff we could try!Share