A year ago, as I write this, I was in the most magical place on earth… Walt Disney World. For me, that’s not just an advertising slogan. It really is the most magical place for me. My happy place. By the time this posts, it will be a year since I returned, but close enough.
With Facebook memories tormenting me with daily reminders by popping up all the pictures I posted complete with happy blurb, is it any wonder that I have Disney on the brain? Okay, who am I kidding, I often have Disney on the brain.
At any rate, even though I wasn’t there that long ago by my own standards, there are still things I haven’t done. I’ve been there five times, there’s so many things I haven’t done. I have it on pretty reliable authority that it doesn’t matter how often you go, there’s always going to be things you haven’t done.
There’s always next time, though, right? I’ve decided to create a Disney bucket list of things I’ve never done and really do want to do at least once. I wasn’t aiming for a top ten list, but ten is the number I naturally came up with, so it works.
So here they are, more or less in order.
- Magic Kingdom after hours event
Disney has events in multiple parks where, for an extra charge, you get to stay after the parks close. As numbers of tickets are limited, you’ll often get a drastically reduced wait time for rides, there are snacks and drinks included in the ticket price (plus some specialty ones you can buy) and often specialized entertainment. I’m sure the ones at the other parks are great, but it’s the Magic Kingdom that I actually want.
There are currently three to choose from. The Villains one is, well, themed to villains with a couple of ride overlays, a parade, and a stage show. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween has all of that plus trick or treat stations, and seems to run from late August to Halloween. The Christmas party replaces trick or treat places with cookie trails, and runs from some time in November to Christmas. Villains and the Halloween ones are the ones that interest me the most.
- Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
Epcot has four festivals that run throughout the year. Festival of The Arts, Flower & Garden, Food & Wine and Festival of the Holidays. I’ve experienced Festival of the Arts, albeit on the final day, but Food & Wine is the one I yearn for. Food booths are set up all around the World Showcase, with eats and drinks from around the world. Plus some classes and the Eat To The Beat concerts. Yum. It’s also the one that runs the longest from August to Novemberish.
- Visit the Polynesian Resort
Look, I’m not even being greedy here. Staying at the Poly would be wonderful, but probably out of my price range. It would be nice and all, but I doubt I’ll ever go above moderate resorts. Still, I’ve always wanted to at least visit and explore the resort, maybe go for a drink at Sam’s. I did get to visit the Contemporary last year en route to fulfilling a different bucket list thing (eating at the California Grill which is worth it if you’re wondering), but it’s the only Deluxe resort I’ve set foot in. The Poly has struck my fancy since I was six and passing it on the monorail each day.
- Visit Galaxy’s Edge
To be fair, this land wasn’t yet opened when I was last there. I’m not as diehard a Star Wars fan as some, but the three original films will always have a fond spot in my heart, and I am just old enough to remember seeing Return Of The Jedi in the theatre. Everything I’ve heard about this land sounds fantabulous.
It’s located at Hollywood Studios, and is an immersive land that evidently really makes you believe that you’re on an alien planet, to the point where all the cast members (that’s Disney terminology for staff) act in character. You can fly the Millenium Falcon or sign up for the resistance and have a grand adventure with storm troopers and other bad guys. You can hang out in a cantina or go make a light sabre complete with ceremony. You can even buy blue or green milk.
- Ride the carousel as an adult
This one is almost a cheat. I have ridden Prince Charming’s Carousel once, on my very first trip, on my very first day. I think it may have been my first ride… it was either that or Dumbo… but I’d like to ride it as an adult. It’s silly, but I can be a silly person. They do have adult-sized horses or just stationary bench seats. This one is all about the nostalgia.
- Ride the Grand Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
So, I’ve been on the original Mexico boat ride. Many, many times. But they reimagined the whole thing with Donald Duck and his friends from the Three Caballeros short film. I honestly forgot to do it last year. I meant to, it was on my mental “must ride” list, but Epcot is distracting and I was having too much fun doing all the other things. It is my personal pet theory that this will eventually be replaced with something Coco themed – which I would love – but I’d like to experience this version.
- Ride The Skyliner
Again, this is something that wasn’t available on my last trip, but it was built in terms of infrastructure. In fact, they were testing it the day I was at Hollywood Studios, so while I obviously can’t see it being blind and all, I did get to hear the gondolas go zipping past overhead. And I could hear them. Not because they really make noise in and of themselves, but something moving past like that makes sound.
Now, I may not have a cause to ride them unless I’m staying at a resort with a station since I think I’ve decided that I prefer not to park hop, but I would totally ride them just for the heck of it.
What is the Skyliner? The avid Disney fans amidst my readers already know, but most of my audience isn’t the huge fangirl that I am. It’s a new transportation system featuring gondolas that travel on an overhead line, and currently connect Hollywood Studios, Epcot, The Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and Pop Century/Art Of Animation, which means that every tier of resort has one (or two for the values, though they share a station). Each gondola can seat up to ten people and is enclosed. It’s way faster than getting a bus and just sounds rather nifty.
- Eat at the Garden Grill
This is a restaurant in The Land pavilion at Epcot. It’s not the fanciest or the most expensive place to eat, but it sounds cool. Every review I’ve read rates it pretty highly. It’s a family style all you can eat, like a buffet that you don’t have to stand up to get. It’s also a rotating restaurant that circles the Living With The Land ride, so you can see scenes from there and, I assume, peek into the nifty greenhouses. It’s also a character meal with Chip and Dale, Mickey and Pluto. Pluto is now my favourite classic character, too. Of all the restaurants I haven’t eaten at, this is the top of the list.
- Go to Senses Spa
There are two Senses locations, but it’s specifically the one at the Grand Floridian that I’m thinking of. This would be pure luxury, and I’ll probably never do it, but hey. I’m a massage therapist. So getting a massage at Disney just sounds like all kinds of awesome, and it would get me to visit that resort.
- Eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table
This is the one that everyone says is a must do at least in your lifetime. You get to eat at Cinderella’s castle. Actually inside the castle, up top. It is also a character meal with oodles of princesses, including Cindy herself. The reason this comes in at the bottom of the list is that by all accounts, the food is only okay, not worth the high price tag. This is one of those places where you’re paying for the experience, not the food. I suspect I’d only do this if I got the middle or upper tier dining plan. But it would be nice.
My Single “Never Done It, Never Gonna” item
I’ve never ridden The Tomorrowland Speedway. I never will. I’d be quite happy if they just got rid of it. It was closed on my last trip, and it made me happy. No noisy engines, no fumes. Now, I’m blind so this wouldn’t do anything for me anyway, but even if I could see, I’d never go on this one. Sorry to those who love it, you’re welcome to your opinion but this one’s mine.
Seeya Real Soon
So, that’s my list. If something isn’t on here and you’re shocked, there is a high probability that I have already done it, or it’s just not enough of a priority to make it (like the special tours, which sound nice but don’t fill my heart with even a little yearning).I may have to go in the fall sometime, since I could do Food & Wine and also get the Halloween party in. I’ve never gone at any time other than the January to March window, actually.
I have no immediate plans to return, and there were fourteen to fifteen years between my last few trips so I’m sure it will be awhile, but a girl can dream and I’m bound and determined for a shorter window this time. And it’s nice to dream, especially in the doldrums of late February and early March.
Have a magical day!