Walt Disney World is full of magical moments. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to pinpoint your favorites! But every trip, there are certain moments that are consistently magical, ones that we try to repeat on every visit – maybe it’s boarding a favorite ride, or tasting a favorite meal, or that first glimpse of a park icon. These are the moments that make us smile from ear to ear, jump up and down like children, and maybe even tear up (just a bit!). Here are ten moments of sheer bliss at WDW – which moments make your top ten list?
1. First Glimpse of Cinderella Castle
If you’re like us, you make a beeline for Magic Kingdom when you arrive at Walt Disney World. It’s hard to find a more blissful moment that entering the park, walking under the train station, and getting your first glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle beckoning to you from across Main Street USA. It just feels like home. Every. Single. Time.
2. Headless Horseman and the Boo-to-You Parade
There’s nothing we don’t love about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! Trick-or-Treating through Magic Kingdom, dressing up, spooky photo opps, Halloween treats and fireworks – it’s a fantastic addition to a WDW vacation. But the happiest moment for many guests at the party comes when the Headless Horseman rides down Main Street to kick off the most fabulous parade we’ve ever seen – the Boo-to-You Parade!
3. Magical Smells
The fresh aloe and clover smell of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa lobby. The intoxicating aroma of baked treats on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom. The oddly appealing scent that permeates Pirates of the Caribbean (that, from what we can tell, comes from gunpowder, mildew and fog). The irresistible smell of freshly cooked cinnamon glazed nuts at vending stalls throughout the parks. Walt Disney World is just full of unforgettable smells that bring back memories of vacations past, and thrill us with the promise of magical times to come!
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4. Warm Mickey Welcome
There’s something special about a Disney welcome. And whether we’re staying at a new (to us) resort, or an old favorite, we always receive the warmest possible welcome as we jump off Mickey’s Magical Express and head into the lobby. The bliss of being welcomed “home” by smiling cast members waving Mickey hands never gets old!
5. Splashing Down Splash Mountain
Everyone has a favorite attraction at Walt Disney World, so your happiest moment might be different. But for us, Splash Mountain is one of our favorite spots on property! The entire ride is full of gems, but the most blissful moment is of course reaching the top of the last hill – that thrilling moment when we start hurtling down at full speed, screaming at the top of our lungs and bracing for the refreshing splash of water we know is about to come.
6. Finding the Tree of Life
One of the cool things about the Tree of Life is that, unlike other park icons, it’s not visible from the entrance to the park. You have to work for it, and as you speed walk around slower guests for that first glimpse, your anticipation will only grow as the tone of Animal Kingdom is set by the lush greenery and animals you pass in The Oasis. By the time you get to Discovery Island and at last blissfully behold the work of art that is the Tree of Life, you’ll have been completely transported to the magical wilds of the park, ready for an adventure of a day in Animal Kingdom.
7. French Reprieve
Many blissful moments await in Epcot’s World Showcase. One of the most magical is arriving at the France Pavilion and sitting outside the incomparable L’Artisan des Glaces with a macaron sandwich or some delectable artisanal ice cream, gazing at the gorgeous historical French architecture and quaint winding street. It might not actually be Paris, but until we book that dream trip to France, it’s a happy stand-in!
8. A Steak (or Anything Else) at Yachtsman
Every Disney visitor, of course, has his or her favorite restaurant. You know, the one that always tempts you to talk with your mouth full because you absolutely have to tell everyone how amazing your food is RIGHT NOW. The one that makes you groan in pure foodie bliss at the magical combination of flavors on your plate. Yep, that one. Well, our “food bliss” moment happens at the Yachtsman Steakhouse, where the steaks are just that good – and amazingly, so are any of the other dishes we’ve ever been lucky enough to try!
This one’s a no-brainer! No matter how many times you see a fireworks show (and it really doesn’t matter which one, they’re all amazing) at Walt Disney World, there’s bound to be serious bliss involved. After all, no one does fireworks like Disney! And with the added spectacles of lights and music, not to mention a spectacular backdrop, a fireworks show at Disney is the happiest way to end a day at the happiest place on earth.
10. Pandora at Night
We thought we had already experienced all of our moments of sheer bliss, having been to Walt Disney World so many times. But our first evening at Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar proved us wrong! Even if you know nothing of the film, you’ll be instantly captivated by the bioluminescent, alien-looking plants of every shape and size that come alive in the dark. Glowing waterfalls cascade from floating mountains, and even the ground beneath you springs to phosphorescent life with glowing footprints and animal tracks. It’s Disney magic at its best!