Say what you will, but 2020 has been unforgettable. It has brought worldwide challenges. It has given everyone a new perspective. It has changed our lives. Despite that, we can still appreciate the things that never change. Disney World has risen to the challenge of 2020 and today we’re going to discuss the things we are still incredibly thankful for. Please take a seat at our virtual Thanksgiving table and join us for this list of gratitude.
1. Thankful for Family Memories
Whether or not a vacation happened for you this year, we can all agree that those who have been on a Disney World family trip, have made lifelong memories. Those special moments of seeing characters, whooshing down Splash Mountain, and hugging your family during fireworks shows don’t fade quickly in our memories. Regardless of whether you look through photographs, watch videos, or simply reminisce – there are many ways to relish these treasured times. And since this year has been rocky, who couldn’t benefit from a magical stroll down memory lane? Pull out those photo albums!
2. Thankful for Anticipation
Even if you don’t have a trip planned now, you can still enjoy dreaming about one. With more free time, we can all use the opportunity to do more research than ever. Explore the vast world of the internet for YouTube channels, social media groups, and websites (like this one!) to gather tips for your next adventure. Make lists of restaurants you’re dying to try, characters you’ve never met, or hotels that belong on your bucket list. Create a tentative countdown or start creating an itinerary with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. After all, there’s no harm in being extra prepared and ready to book your trip when the time comes. Sometimes, half of the fun is in the wait.
3. Thankful for Preserved History
Disney World, the Magic Kingdom ,in particular, is dripping in authentic company history. For example, who doesn’t love checking out the store-front windows on Main Street U.S.A.? Almost every window features the name of a fictitious company inspired by one of the original Imagineers. And beyond that stretch, the park is full of opening-day attractions and authentic Disneyland attraction copies. You can’t be helped but feel amazed by Walt’s ingenuity when you survive the Haunted Mansion, travel through time on the Carousel of Progress, or go on a boat trip around the world on It’s a Small World. No other theme park features so many original, one-of-a-kind experiences. And despite necessary changes and upgrades, Disney World still guards this history. Thank goodness!
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4. Thankful for Cast Members
Working at the most magical place on Earth is no easy feat, and Cast Members continue to make it look effortless. Even with the new safety restrictions, we can still feel their smiles through their masks! Regardless of when you’re visiting Disney though, many a cast member has truly made the experience meaningful for the guests. From every time they say “Welcome Home!” at a resort to the countless times they go out of their way to make someone’s day better, we are reminded of Disney’s “next-level” customer service. The only downside is, it’s always jarring to interact with a non-Disney cashier, server, or bus driver immediately after your trip. The magical guest service bubble is created by exclusive Cast Members only.
5. Thankful for Innovation
Speaking of “next-level” Disney elements, the entire resort pushes the boundaries of a theme park experience. Dating back to the brainstorming for Disneyland, Walt strived to create a theme park that was more than a plot of land and rides. He sought to immerse guests in a new world where the structures, music, and even design of the garbage cans would add to the immersive atmosphere. And nowhere is it more prevalent than some of the newest Disney World expansions! Pandora: World of Avatar and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are both new areas that mimic the experience of visiting a different planet. Every specific detail is painfully crafted, and this is all thanks to Walt’s original concepts. Furthermore, this has challenged Disney’s competitors to step up their own game. (We’re looking at you, Universal.)
6. Thankful for Music
Regarding Disney atmospheres, many fans are in love with Disney soundtracks. I’m not just talking about movie soundtracks, but specific park and ride soundtracks. Yes, they exist! Gorgeous music for the nighttime spectaculars, attractions, parades, and park ambiance can be found all over the internet. Some argue that sound is just as memory-evoking as a fragrance, and Disney park music is always a welcome and familiar sound. Doing laundry, commuting to work, or doing the dishes can be magical when this music is playing in the background. And it creates the perfect mood to start planning your next trip.
7. Thankful for the Food
If we’re going to discuss the senses, we can’t leave out taste. Disney is one of the most delicious vacation destinations! Not only can we be thankful for the incredible array of restaurants, quick lunch options, and decadent snacks – we can also be thankful for the many EPCOT food festivals. (With so many different things to try year-round, I don’t know if any Disney fan can claim they’ve eaten everything.) You can even make these treats at home. The internet is full of food bloggers who have perfected copycat recipes. After all, if you’re going to think about Disney on Thanksgiving, cooking/baking is the best activity.
8. Thankful for the Fanbase
Nothing brings people together like Disney and the internet is living proof of that. Now it’s easier than ever for millions of people to belong to online Disney fan groups. (Thanks, social media!) These virtual clubs serve as joyful places for fans to share tips, experiences, and Disney-related videos to perk up our dullest days. And these online outlets can lead to real-life friendships as well (Let’s be honest, we all need that one friend who will always watch a Disney movie with us.) The point being, Disney truly bonds people together, and it has brought many people to their closest amigos. How could we not be appreciative?
9. Thankful for Magic at Home
Even annual pass holders and Orlando locals don’t spend every day in Disney World, so I know we’re all grateful for the meaningful ways we bring pixie dust into our homes! In addition to watching films, blasting music, and perfecting your own dole whip recipes, there are so many ways to experience Disney on a day-to-day basis. Decorating your home in Disney décor and adding a splash of Disney to your outfits can be enough to perk up any fan’s day. And participating in the aforementioned Disney online fan base is a great resource for Disney news and excellent park videos. Simply, it’s always possible to express and enjoy your Disney obsessions – even away from the parks. And we’re very grateful for that.
10. Thankful that Walt Disney World is Open
The magic may be temporarily modified, but in a year as tumultuous as 2020, WDW visitors can rejoice because the park was able to open safely this year. Even if some experiences are on hold, the ability to walk down Main Street, ride many wonderful attractions, interact with cheerful Cast Members, and soak in the cozy atmosphere has remained intact. If anything, WDW proved its resiliency. And their resiliency is more powerful than one of the most challenging hurdles the modern-day world has faced. This can give every fan hope that WDW will come out stronger and even more magical in the end.
There truly are so many wonderful WDW-related things to be thankful for. We can only hope that 2021 will bring us even more reasons. Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Disney Fanatic!