As a Walt Disney World fanatic I have been lucky enough to have a lot of special experiences during my vacations. I try to schedule something unique each time we visit as our schedule allows. I still have a lot of items on my bucket list for Walt Disney World . . . here are a few that might be on yours as well. Some of these are things that you can make happen for yourself just by making a reservation, others are more elusive– something you would have to luck up to experience.
12. Backstage Magic
I love all of the behind the scenes tours that I’ve done at Walt Disney World from the Keys to the Kingdom at Magic Kingdom to Undiscovered Future World at Epcot and Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom. The one that remains on my bucket list is the Backstage Magic. On this VIP behind the scenes tour you spend an entire day (7 hours) touring various areas of Walt Disney World resort seeing what makes it work. Current highlights for me include visiting backstage at the American Adventure and going to creative costuming. The tour includes lunch as well.
11. Riding With A Celebrity
Everyone has seen the viral video of Johnny Depp surprising guests as Capt. Jack Sparrow on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. How amazing would that experience be? And Steven Tyler often visits Disney for his birthday, and of course he rides “his” attraction, Rock N Roller Coaster. What if you were in just the right spot in line to ride with him? Those are the top two I can think of, but you often spot celebrities in the parks. Many times they ride by themselves, but what a bucket list to have an on-ride photo with a celebrity in your log at Splash Mountain or your Test Track vehicle! The closest I’ve come is seeing Johnny Galecki waiting to board both Kilimanjaro Safari one day and Test Track the next. I’ve also seen a couple of HGTV celebrities in the club lounge at Boardwalk during the Flower & Garden Festival . . . but alas no celebrity ride sharing yet.
10. A Long Stay
While riding with a celebrity is a “right place, right time” bucket list item, a long stay is something you can make happen. I love when my family is able to stay for a longer time—it feels like we can take our time, enjoy the resort, stop and smell the roses, and really relax. I think our longest trip so far has been 11 days. I know many of our UK friends are able to take holidays for 2-3 weeks at a time. That is definitely on my bucket list!
9. Grand Marshall at Magic Kingdom
Another situation where you really have to luck into it. Back in the day when they had the opening show at the train station my family was lucky enough to be selected as Family of the Day to open the Magic Kingdom. I cannot even tell you what an amazing, unforgettable experience that was—I still remember every detail of that morning. Now I would love to be selected to step off the afternoon parade as a Grand Marshall, what an honor that would be for any Disney fan!
8. Holiday Fireworks
While I’ve seen both the Hallowishes & Holiday Wishes fireworks that are part of the Mickey’s Not So Scary and Mickey’s Very Merry parties, I’ve never been to Walt Disney World on an actual holiday when they have the special fireworks. I would love to plan a trip over July 4 and another for New Years Eve to experience in person the very special fireworks show that they put on for those days.
7. VIP Guide
Like most people, I love feeling like a VIP. I get that feeling a lot at Walt Disney World, just as part of their usual exemplary customer service, but being able to have a VIP Guide for the day would be the ultimate. I had to laugh at the Black-ish episode where the family had the guide and went from feeling embarrassed that they were getting to bypass the standby lines, to over-acting the role of a VIP with its privileges. The best part was when the guide’s time was up and they were on their own—proving the point that I try to make to clients, that any trip to Walt Disney World will be magical & memorable. With that said, I would still love to have a day with a guide who could make the day relaxing, efficient and give us some history & background on the park while we tour.
6. Reserve a special room
This may be a different location for each person . . .maybe a Savanna View Club Level room at Animal Kingdom Lodge; a Royal Guest Room at Port Orleans Riverside; Theme Park View at Grand Floridian. I have two BIG bucket list items for this category: a bungalow at the Polynesian and one of the cabins at Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge. Both of these options look like so much fun I probably would not even go to the parks—and I might not even leave the room. Order up the ‘Ohana meal room service in the bungalow and I think you pretty much have a perfect Disney day. One great thing about these options is that they are also large enough to host some friends.
5. Lunch with an Imagineer
This is something I did with my oldest son a few years ago, and it was another one of those incredible Disney experiences that make you say Wow! Great food and such a great casual conversation and Q&A session with an Imagineer. This is a bucket list item available to anyone, you just have to score the dining reservation. I highly recommend it for any Disney fan!
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4. The Grand 1
I’ve done a fireworks cruise (amazing) and we’ve rented pontoon boats and speed boats to go out on the Seven Seas Lagoon, but the Grand 1 is on my list. This yacht docked at the Grand Floridian can be chartered for cruises around the lagoon, and what a posh experience that would be. I think having it out during fireworks could be a very romantic way to stage a proposal or to celebrate the night of your Disney wedding.
3. Photo Shoot
Walt Disney World offers individual photo shoots in the parks through their Fine Arts Photography department. You can book these sessions for pre-park opening or at several of the resorts for a special occasion like a senior portraits or an engagement, or just to capture family photos. My family did this last summer in Epcot for my son’s senior portraits and not only was it a great experience I felt it was a very good value since you receive a CD of your photos that you can print as you like. If you are a Disney family this would be the perfect setting for your portraits.
2. Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table
This one is on a lot of people’s bucket list. And while it is something you can reserve, it is often very hard to get. The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort is a personalized fine dining experience for foodies and wine connoisseurs. It is just coincidence that it happens to take place at Walt Disney World. You will be seated at a private table adjacent to the kitchen where the chef will cater to your likes and dislikes to create a one of a kind multi-course dining experience.
1. Stay in the Cinderella Suite
I’m sure this is #1 on everyone’s Walt Disney World bucket list. I did actually get to tour the suite several years ago and it was so beautiful—smaller than I thought it would be, but the décor was so perfect with all of the little royal touches and Disney magic. To be able to stay IN the Magic Kingdom overnight in that gorgeous setting would be the crowning moment for Disney experiences (pun intended).
What items are on your Walt Disney World bucket list? Which items have you already crossed off?