One of the worst parts of a Disney vacation is the realization that it will soon be coming to an end, and on that final departure day, it is so hard watching guests who are just arriving. Seeing their smiling faces and their excitement at what is to come is a little sad to those who are on their way home. Please do not misunderstand me. It is always great to get home after a vacation, no matter where you have been. As a Disney fanatic, however, there is this magical feeling that overcomes you when you finally arrive at Walt Disney World, after so many months of planning and anticipation. When it’s time to go home, there is a tendency to be a little apprehensive about leaving. With that in mind I would like to highlight 8 things you might miss when you leave Disney.
8. Room Surprises At Disney Resorts
When we visit Walt Disney World, we always stay at Port Orleans/Riverside. After you have spent an entire day at one of the theme Parks, it’s so nice to return t your resort, and usually every evening the housekeepers have left a really cool surprise. If you leave your stuffed animals laying around, these imaginative cast members will sometimes place them in different places around the room in really cute positions, or you might find a towel or washcloth in the shape of Mickey or other fun animal shapes. Also, it’s nice to come back to a clean, refreshing room every night. At home, you’re on your own for cleaning up and doing laundry.
Every night at the Magic Kingdom, there is an amazing fireworks display called “Wishes Nighttime Spectacular”. For a few minutes, all eyes are on the skies over the Magic Kingdom, and Cinderella’s Castle becomes the focal point of a magnificent fireworks extravaganza. If you haven’t seen this fantastic display, you really need to include it in your Disney vacation plans. This will definitely be a memory you won’t want to forget.
Oh my, where to begin. There have been books written on the dining choices at Walt Disney World.
There are elaborate fine dining restaurants, quick service dining, and kiosk style snack vending carts. Walt Disney World is unique in the fact that you can indulge in so many different styles of dining, from a full-service, elegant French Bistro, to a popcorn and snack vendor, from a breakfast or dinner with all the Princesses, to a Mickey ice cream treat on a park bench. My mouth is watering just thinking about a scrumptious turkey leg, Italian spaghetti and meatballs, a thick, juicy cheeseburger, and so many other choices. When you’re at a Disney Park, the food becomes a major part of your magical experience, so bring your appetite with you, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!, while you can.
I don’t know about most of you, but where I live, public transportation is limited to the downtown, business areas. If I need to go anywhere, my only choice, other than a taxi cab, is driving. I drive to work, to the mall, or to the park. If you stay at a Disney Resort, transportation is a part of your package, and once you park your car, or arrive by any other method, you have several different transportation choices. Take a special Disney Park bus, various watercraft, or most Hotels in the surrounding areas provide a Disney Shuttle service. I will miss being a passenger, instead of a driver. I forgot to mention my favorite mode of transportation once you enter Walt Disney World, and that is the magnificent monorail, the “highway in the sky”. Oh, how I’ll miss someone else being the “transporter”.
Shopping for me is recreation. I don’t mean going to the grocery store, or local office supply store, but shopping for special occasions, gifts, or as a treat for myself. I especially enjoy choosing gifts at Christmastime or other Holidays. At Walt Disney World, the shopping is “out of this world”! Here is an example of some popular shopping choices:
Main Street Emporium — Located in the Magic Kingdom, this is the largest gift and souvenir shop in the Magic Kingdom, offering Disney apparel, plush animals and characters, toys, pins, dinnerware, mugs, candy, and so much more.
Mickey’s of Hollywood — Hollywood Studios—Similar to the Emporium, this large corner store also sells mostly Disney themed merchandise, but he really unique aspect of this shop is the passage of time. As you walk through, notice the décor with life-sized Mickey figures acting out scenes from famous Disney classics from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. It’s a great place for shopping and sight-seeing.
Mouse Gear—Epcot — Futureworld—This awesome store is the biggest merchandise location in Epcot, full of everything Disney—even bigger than the Emporium. You can remain in this store for an hour and still not have seen it all. It is big and beautiful and a must-see when you’re at Epcot!
Island Mercantile — Animal Kingdom—Discovery Island—This is a really unique Disney shopping experience. Once you enter this store, you can immediately sense the nature and culture of Africa. Everywhere you look the jungle theme is displayed with decorations, cast members’ colorful floral shirts, and apparel, toys, gifts, and all sorts of souvenirs with an African jungle flare. The piped in music is also African-themed. It’s like no other shop in Walt Disney World. Yes, shopping at Walt Disney World will be sorely missed when it’s time to go home.
Oh, Florida, the Sunshine State, how I will miss your tropical style weather. Though the afternoon rain showers are quite common in Florida, they are usually short and actually, on hot sunny days, are perfect for a quick cool down. What is nice is the weather here is very predictable, and hasn’t really changed that much since the beginning of time. Yes, there is the occasional storm or hurricane, but in the past 40 years, Walt Disney World has closed only 5 times because of possible hurricanes, and when a hurricane is predicted in the Orlando area, the Disney executives will make the decision to clear the Parks. Then, as soon as the weather is stable, the Parks will reopen. Where I live, in tornado alley, we hear the sirens going off just about every time there is a storm, and I miss experiencing a rain shower without the sound of sirens!
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2. Rides and Attractions
There are hundreds of amusement parks all over the world, but none can lay claim to the fact that the entire Disney Empire was started by a “mouse”. Walter Elias Disney’s life force is infused in every Disney project, from movies, TV shows, books, music, and especially all the Disney theme parks. The excitement, joy and happiness created with a Disney vacation is priceless. A majority of families who visit a Disney Park have saved and planned their special vacation for months or even years, and once they experience it, they invariably want to return. I think it’s safe to say, most visitors of a Disney Park are a little sad when it’s time to go home. It is a fleeting feeling, but one which reminds us of the fact that imagination and fun are good for the soul!
1. The Magic of Disney
The magic and fantasy of a Disney vacation are what I miss most when I say good-bye to Mickey Mouse and Friends. For a short period of time children are amazed and delighted, while adults can renew their inner child-like spirit. Just think about it, this magical world was imagined and created by an ordinary Dad who dreamed about an amusement park where he could enjoy rides and attractions with his daughters, instead of occupying a park bench. Walter Elias Disney, thank you for your vision!
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper