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10 Defining Disney Vacation Moments

As I was trying to come up with what I consider to be the “defining moments” of a Disney vacation, I honed in on the experiences that always give me goose bumps, bring a tear to my eye, or are the most anticipated moments of the trip. What moments define your Disney experience?

1. Driving under the “Walt Disney World” sign

It’s always so exciting to drive under the “Walt Disney World: Where Dreams Come True” sign for the first time on a Disney trip, and equally heartbreaking to pass under it at the end of it!

2. Watching the Welcome Show at the Magic Kingdom

Make sure you arrive early at the Magic Kingdom at least one day on your trip. If you are there before the park opens, you’ll get to enjoy the welcome show. There’s something so magical about seeing the steam train full of waving characters roll into the train station above you. Mickey Mouse himself will get off the train and open the park. For some reason, watching this short show always brings a tear to my eye!

3. Realizing that your favorite parade is starting

When the first chord of electronic music fills the streets for the Main Street Electrical Parade, I always get goose bumps! Similarly, when I’m waiting for a parade and I finally see the first float round the corner, I can’t help but be overcome with joy.

4. Awakening your taste buds with a Mickey Bar or Dole Whip

Definitely a defining moment- the first glorious sip of a Dole Whip float. Refreshing and sweet, there’s nothing not to like about it! If you’re more of a classic ice cream treat fan, perhaps you prefer the first crunch into a Mickey bar.

5. Gliding over Fantasyland on Dumbo

Even though Dumbo has been moved to a less central location in Fantasyland, there’s still nothing that quite matches the view that you get from soaring over Fantasyland on Dumbo’s back. I think it’s especially magical at night!

6. Seeing your child’s face upon meeting a favorite character

Whether it’s Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, or Dug and Russell, the look on a child’s face when she sets her eyes on a favorite character for the first time is pure Disney magic!

7. Hearing Mickey talk!

Make sure to visit Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theater. Hearing the new “talking” Mickey for the first time is definitely a new Disney defining moment!

8. Gasping as the doors open at the top of Splash Mountain

I’ll admit that this is a “defining moment” that I usually skip, because I’m a big chicken. I really hate rides that have big drops, and therefore I usually don’t ride Splash Mountain. However, I can’t deny the “gravity” of that the moment when you reach the top and the doors open. The view is spectacular and frightening, and this chicken recommends you experience it at least once!

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9. Relishing the nighttime entertainment

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but watching one of the incredible nighttime extravaganzas at Walt Disney World is definitely a defining moment of every Disney vacation. Whether it’s Wishes, IllumiNations, or Fantasmic, you’re sure to get goose bumps when you watch them!

10. Being showered in “pixie dust”

“Pixie dust” is what they call the extra special touches that set a Disney vacation apart from visits to other places. Whether it is another park guest doing something kind for you, a Cast Member giving you an extra-special experience, or some other magical happening, pixie dust is part of every great Disney vacation.

Of course, everyone’s idea of a defining moment is different. Do share in the magic of the moments listed above, or do you have an entirely different idea of what defines the perfect Disney trip?

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– 16 Unexpected Delights At Disney World

– Top 5 Character Breakfasts At Disney World

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart and works as an elementary school guidance counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and parrot. Meredith's hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, and "talking Disney" with anyone she knows who is planning a trip to Disney or has just returned.