What do you do when you’ve been to a place over 300 times?
Asking for a friend. Maybe, you worked there and potentially visited every single day of your life for 4 straight years–plus the times you were there previously or since on vacation. Yup. Me at Walt Disney World.
I continue to visit every 4-6 weeks every year. I go so often I have an annual pass. What could there possibly be to do at Disney World that I haven’t done?
I’ll tell ‘ya. In honor of the 9 days before the 18-month long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World gets started here are the nine experiences I’m doing for the first time.
Have a day with no plans
As often as I go I HAVE NEVER not had a plan for each and every day of my trip. But, I learned last time that after a zero dark thirty flight and a late night of fireworks that I’m a waste case on Day #2. This trip I plan not to make a plan for Day #2. That could mean going to a park (remember I have an AP) to get my pass holder exclusive 50th Pandora Charm, going to Disney Springs for the Photopass store location or headin’ over to my favorite scented hotel Disney’s Boardwalk Inn for coffee and watch the sunrise. Or, maybe I’ll do all 3. But, I’m leavin’ the day to see how I feel in the moment. And, I’m truly excited for the extra time I’ve worked into my schedule to be able to have at least one day on this jam-packed trip for spontaneity.
Eat at Raglan Road
I LOVE to eat my way around the Walt Disney World Resort it is a foodie lover’s paradise. One of the best places to indulge in James Beard awarded chef’s is at Disney Springs. Through the years I have had the immense pleasure of dining at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming (10 out of 10), Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (8 out of 10, they lost 2 points for service), Jaleo by Jose Andres (twice) and Moriomoto Asia by Iron Chef Morimoto (another 10 out of 10).
But, one place I have yet to visit is Raglan Road. One of my besties, Lori, who is a trained chef say’s it’s her go-to. They feature, “A vibrant, toe-tappin’ show that tells the musical and visual story of Ireland’s folklore-laden culture and the best of modern Irish cooking—from fish & chips to brilliantly reimagined classics like Shepherd’s Pie,” sounds scrumptious. It seems like the perfect place for our large group to kick-off the festivities.
Ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure on the day it opens
This is a biggie! Yes, it is a total cop-out since the attraction is brand new and I could not have ridden it before. But, I have ridden several attractions before they even opened to the public and rode Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway on its opening day. Riding an attraction on its opening day is a big deal. There is special merch, there’s exclusive special Annual Passholder exclusive, there is an energy and excitement that’s hard to articulate AND it is usually a great place for starstruck Disney fans like me to meet some idols (imagineers and Josh d’Amaro to be exact). Plus, this time I get to take it in with my BFF who is as familiar as the park as me, since he was a part of Epcot’s opening team)
AND, very important for me! I get to continue to say in my bio, “I’ve ridden every single ride at Walt Disney World at least once!”
Fireworks party at Epcot for Harmonious
Yes, you might get to ding me on this one too. Harmonious is new and doesn’t even begin until October 1st. I have also been to an Epcot dessert party and fireworks viewing. (Thank you to Disney’s travel agent education program). But, these new dining events at Epcot raise the dessert parties to a whole new level. (See, the part above where I love to eat.)
At the Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package in the United Kingdom you can, “Dine under the stars on the patio and eat British fare, while you sit back and enjoy the wonder of Harmonious.” Another brand new Harmonious dining experience can be had at the Spice Road Table in the Morocco pavilion. Here you can, “Dine in the covered, outdoor dining area reminiscent of the cafes from the Moroccan seaside with a stunning view of Harmonious. and enjoy a variety of small plates including Grilled Lamb Kefta, House-made Hummus Fries and Spiced Chicken.”
Although, I’ve eaten at the pub and I’ve done the Flower & Garden Festival tea tasting I’ve never eaten at the Rose & Crown. Check off another square on the Eat at Every Epcot Restaurant on the BINGO Board. ✅
I miss the original Illuminations. Every time I have seen the interim show I am only reminded by how good the original was. Disney describes Harmonious as, “A beautifully crafted medley of classic Disney music and visuals reinterpreted by a culturally diverse group of 240 artists from all around the world.” It sounds like they’re going to honor all that was good about the original with a nod toward the hope of the future. It’s givin’ me all the feels.
Find the Fab 50 Golden Character Statues
One of my favorite listens of the week is always, Detour to Neverland. (I’m even a patreon for the additional content I get. Hell, I haven’t spent $$$ on movies in over 18 months, so, why not?) They spoiled the 50 statues, because they’re locals and have seen many of them IRL. Even better they reimagined the 50 statues they think should be there instead. It’s a great listen.
But, I plan to hearken back to my days of old when a group of my friends and I would have scavenger hunts all over the Walt Disney World Resort. Back when the Electrical Light Parade (R.I.P.) was still a thing we would run around the Magic Kingdom trying to ride all the attractions on the hunt before meeting up in front of the Country Bears Jamboree to watch the parade. I cry tears of joy every time I think of those life-long friendships created because of those shared memories.
Chalk this one up to sentimentality and tryin’ to create days of my youth at the parks. 🤷🏻♀️
Take a picture of the George K Window on Main Street
Huge! Big! We’re talkin’ Julia Robert’s Big (ask your parents)…my General Manager from when I was a Cast Member at the luxe Disney Grand Floridian & Spa Resort got a window on Main Street. George K is a 50 Year Cast Member, former president of both Disneyland & Disney World and now the Global Ambassador for Disney’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Even more special for me, he was the best Disney manager I ever had and one of the best managers in any job. If only I’d been mature enough to realize it at the time–instead of being an insecure 21-year-old who thought she knew it all because of my one management class taken in college. Oops!
A Capture, Your Moment session at the Magic Kingdom will help me treasure this one of my nine new experiences with an extraordinary experience. This photo opp will be a chance to reflect back and look forward now that I can acknowledge some of my past mistakes. In addition, it will serve to honor George, who has continued to do a lot for me when I’ve returned on vacation in the past years.
VIP Fireworks Viewing for Disney- Enchantment
Yes, I have done a dessert party. Ding, Again! 🤦🏻♀️ But, that was to see Happily Ever After. Tinkerbell flew right over me. Had the best view of the fireworks eVeR. An all new fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, the first one in four years (I still miss Wishes!), requires an investment to guarantee VIP seating. “Disney Enchantment will feature captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and—for the first time—immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. Put a cherry on top of your magical day with a sensational dessert party to toast the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.” Tomorrowland Terrace will feature a host of 50th Anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, including chocolate-dipped strawberries and butterscotch pudding” to name a few. And did I mention seating? No squatting for several hours on Main Street and gettin’ run over by strollers for me!
Go to Blizzard Beach
When asked in a trivia game how many theme parks there are at the Walt Disney World Resort the correct answer is six. There are the four we talk about every day (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and then there are the two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach).
Typhoon Lagoon opened when I was a Cast Member at Walt Disney World and I’ve been several time. It’s awesome, especially for the beach gal that I am. However, I’ve never been to Blizzard Beach. It’s always been closed for refurbishment, I just can’t manage to leave another park to go or I have a dining reservation for which I need to have dry hair.
Not so this time! I have my ticket and I’m there. I mean, how can I say I’ve been to every park until I’ve actually been to every park? While I don’t plan to do the Summit Plummit you will catch me on the Runoff Rapids.
To celebrate what will probably be my only day ever at Blizzard Beach, I mean it’s taken me 50 years to get there, I am goin’ all in and doin’ it adult style with a Polar Patio where they will bring the food and beverages to me!
Halloween Boo Bash
Halloween was very different at the Disney World last year. A long-standing tradition of mine is to celebrate my Halloween birthday at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it is not happening for the second straight year 😭
Instead I got a ticket to the sold out Boo Bash. It is an after hours special event that includes all you can Disney Snacks (I’ll be skipping dinner that night), limited time spooky desserts, special Halloween decor, music and lighting and a chance to see, “Mickey, Minnie and pals in hauntingly boo-tiful Halloween costumes.” Who can resist Pumpkin Donald and witch Minnie Mouse?
Bonus Experience! Spend time at my resort pool
Does anyone doubt that after almost 10 days of doin’ everything listed above that I will need time to decompress and have some pool time? Truth! If I have a choice between two different resorts I always book the one with the nicer pool; yet, I’m lucky if I get 30 minutes of dedicated pool time. First! Time! Ever! I built a day into my schedule with no park reservation to take advantage of my resort. I’ll let you know if I actually do it or end up filling my day eating and shopping? 🛍
Do you want to take advantage of any of these new Walt Disney World experiences? Hit up anyone of the Memory Makers. We ❤️ to create new memories for our clients.