Without question Walt Disney World is one of the most magical places on earth. And while the stresses of long days and trying to make it perfect can sometimes bring out the worst in people sometimes, it always strikes me how being at Walt Disney World also brings out a sense of camaraderie and community among people. I’ve had some great conversations in line with people, on the bus, or waiting on fireworks. As part of that, being on vacation at Walt Disney World gives you opportunities to be a part of the magic and create special moments for the people around you. And like Christmas, giving the magic to others is even better than receiving it. Here are 10 ideas on how you can share the magic at Walt Disney World:
10. Offer a Seat
At busy travel times to and from the park transportation can become crowded and seats tough to get. This happens on the bus and the monorail. After a long day in the parks a seat on the bus is one of the most valuable things on Disney property. Why not offer your seat to someone? I’m a huge advocate of always offering a seat to smaller children, adults holding a child, pregnant women, and older guests . . . I’ve personally spent too many long and unsteady bus rides trying to balance myself with a small child on my hip. In these situations I think it is just common courtesy, not necessarily sharing magic—but when you offer it goes a long way. Now I’ll get off my soapbox about transportation etiquette.
9. Glow Sticks
This is something simple that we try to do every trip. Stop by the Dollar Store or the Dollar Spot/Bullseye’s Playground at Target and pick up a package for $1 or $2. Bring them with you and while you wait for a fireworks show to start you and your children can share the glow sticks with the people around you. It creates a little nighttime magic, keeps kids occupied, and helps kids learn lessons about sharing and interacting with the community around them. Plus, your entire area will glow!
8. Pin Trading
Pin Trading is a serious hobby for Walt Disney World enthusiasts. And you will see some huge fans with binders filled with collectible pins. But very often you will find a child who is interested in trading or someone new starting out. If you have a pin collection think about designating one part of your lanyard ahead of time for pins to just give away. Help a kid start their collection, or offer up their favorite character.
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7. Ask for an Autograph
This is not something I have done myself, but something I’ve seen people doing. When little girls get dressed up like Princesses at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or boys and girls become Pirates at the Pirate’s League, they are usually on top of the world! Their imaginations are running wild with thoughts of being a pirate or a princess in the Magic Kingdom of all places. I have seen people ask for their autographs—and the way their faces light up! Just a little extra magic to their already magical day. Another autograph idea is to ask Cast Members who have added some magic to your day for their autograph, often they are the real celebrities of Walt Disney World.
6. Send a Postcard
We often send home postcards to family members while on vacation—although in the world of social media, text messages and email that is not as popular as it once was. But, why not send a postcard to someone from a character? Many of us are in groups on Facebook or message boards with people who are planning a trip. Why not post to ask who would like a card sent in the mail, and allow the first 6 or 10 or whatever to be on your list. Pick up some postcards at the resort, write a note and copy Mickey’s signature (I’m sure he wouldn’t mind for this). Drop them in the mail & create some magic for someone at home!
This one is a little pricier commitment to sharing the magic. Many of you probably saw when the Bucket List Family was staying at various Disney resorts they bought several balloons and went around sharing them with people in the Magic Kingdom. I love this idea! Balloons make everyone smile! Purchase a few, (I recommend using them for a personal photo op first), then pass them out and watch the pixie dust fly!
4. Help Navigate
Disney’s theme parks are well designed and planned, but they can still be confusing to a newcomer, especially if you are trying to get to a ride in the back of the park for a FastPass, or trying to find a restaurant within World Showcase for a dining reservation, or most importantly looking for a restroom. If you see someone struggling with a map or seeming to wander around take a second to ask if you can assist. You could also offer suggestions—maybe a family is looking for a good quick service restaurant, or don’t know which attraction to try without a FastPass. A little help goes a long way in sharing the magic.
3. Hide a Gift
I’ve seen several people on Instagram (usually crafty people who make beautiful things) place gifts in a somewhat hidden location at Walt Disney World and post it on Instagram for someone to find—sort of like the Kindness rocks. Even if you aren’t crafty you could leave something like a pin or a magnet for someone to find. Just be sure to put it in a weather proof Ziploc bag with a note so that whoever finds it knows to keep it (and maybe pay it forward).
As I mentioned, the Cast Members are the real heroes and celebrities of Walt Disney World. They are the ones on the street creating magical moments for us every day. Just keeping everything in the park running is a job in itself, but so often they find ways to enhance our experiences. One very easy way to thank them and add some magic to their job (other than saying thank you) is to Tweet a #CastCompliment to @WDWToday. This gets the Cast Member recognized and very often @WDWToday will tweet back with a photo of the Cast Member receiving your compliment. It makes me feel great to see those recognitions. Just remember the hashtag #CastCompliment when you tweet it to @WDWToday—and the more details you can share about name, date & location helps them narrow it down, I’ve even sent photos.
1. Cast Member Gifts
Going the extra mile to recognize Cast Members, think about bringing something small to gift to those who go above and beyond to make your trip memorable. My friends Kait & Freddy (SparkOfInspiration on Etsy) inspired this idea. They bring adorable hand painted gifts made by Kait for Cast Members across property, and the Cast Members love them. It helps them know how much they are appreciated by guests. You may not be able to do something that elaborate, but you could print out business card size cards that say thank you and you sign personally. Or, a small treat that is special to your local area. Cast Members work so hard creating magic for us, it is fun when we can turn the tables and create magic for them.
What ways do you create your own Magic to share at Walt Disney World?