If You Can Watch Disney’s New “Traditions” Reel & Not Cry, Then We’re Bigger Fans Than You

disney vacation and disney reel traditions

Disney has just shared a brand-new “sizzle reel” with fans around the globe, and if you can watch it without bawling your eyes out, then that might just make us bigger fans than you.

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On Monday afternoon, The Walt Disney Company hosted its 2023 shareholders meeting. The meeting was broadcast online, and fans around the world were welcome to listen in, whether they were shareholders or not. The annual event allows shareholders to get the latest Disney Company news straight from the horses’ proverbial mouths, cast their votes on different issues and topics, and ask questions of Disney’s board members.

partners statue at disney world cinderella castle

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But all of that stuff can be so . . . . well,  . . . boring, tedious, monotonous, exhausting. And it’s worth noting that during Monday’s event, a few of the things discussed by Disney’s board members were less-than-magical in nature.

So, Disney being Disney, the meeting opened with a pre-show of sorts–a so-called “sizzle reel” titled Tradition, complete with audio recordings of Walt Disney himself, scenes from our favorite Disney and PIXAR films, and of course, video footage of wide-eyed toddlers experiencing their very first character experiences at Disney World. The reel literally encompasses all the feels, and it’s a good thing because nothing softens the blow of voting on whether Disney should tell shareholders about its ties with Communist China than a short video about what it feels like to grow up with the tradition of Disney.

And you know what? It worked.

This writer has watched the reel more than once, each time finding myself more and more at ease with agreeing to Disney World’s systematic, methodical approach to raising ticket prices nearly EVERY SINGLE YEAR for who knows how long now. Each time I click “watch again,” my angst over using the %$#*&*!? Park Pass Reservation System seems to leave me, I feel the anger within me over the pause on the sale of non-Florida-resident annual passes melt away, and even time seems to stand still for a moment–before suddenly moving backward. And I am transported.

Miscellaneous Photos We've Found - RetroWDW

Credit: RetroWDW

I’m transported back to the first time I heard those magical words, “We’re going to Disney World!” from the mouths of my Mom and Dad, almost in unison. I’m taken back to the first time I leaped through the sliding doors of the monorail and the first time Cinderella Castle came into view as the monorail burst forth from the inside of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In my time-traveling journey, I can almost see the crowds forming along the street as we waited impatiently to experience the Main Street Electrical Parade for the first time.

Photo of Main Street Electrical Parade

Credit: D23

Thousands and thousands and thousands of tiny electric lights! And you better believe I can hear that music too!

Disney’s new reel reminds me of the first time I experienced Big Thunder Mountain, sandwiched between my Dad and my side of the mine car, digging my nails into his arm and screaming in sheer terror the entire time. I think back to Mickey’s birthday celebration at ToonTown and how the oversized furniture inside his house made me feel younger and smaller than I was. I remember how it felt to soar with Dumbo as the breeze lifted my long hair from my back and held it behind me like a banner.

I remember being starstruck by the piano player with the red-and-white-striped shirt who worked his musical magic on the ivories just outside Casey’s Corner at Main Street, U. S. A., the wonder I felt the first time I watched all the birds singing words and the flowers crooning in the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Room, and the pain in my heart the first time I experienced the end of a Disney trip and was forced to tell Mickey I’d see him real soon.

disney world character photos

Credit: Becky Burkett

The reel reminds me of the last wonderful Disney World trip we enjoyed with my angel Momma before her unexpected passing, but with tears of joy, I’m also reminded of the first time I witnessed the wonder overtake my little ones on their first Disney trip. And more than this, I can feel those experiences all over again, thanks to Disney’s new reel.

Credit: Becky Burkett

That, I suppose, is the very nature of traditions–those experiences we have with the ones we love over the years, and it’s the power in the spell cast over us by Disney’s undeniable memory-making magic. It reminds us that though there are politics and problems and layoffs and acquisitions and cancellations, there’s still so much more within the Disney traditions that have shaped our lives as fans. And those traditions trump all of that other “stuff.”

The reel ends with the sounds of a pianist slowly tapping the ivories to the melody of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” as an audio montage says aloud–as if a promise from Walt himself:

“I promise you . . . if you need us, we’re here for you . . . always.”

The Hungarian Immigrant Who Funded Walt Disney

Credit: Disney

And if you can watch this tear-jerking, heartstrings-pulling, time travel-inducing reel with completely dry eyes, well then, we just might be bigger Disney fans than you, because so far, we haven’t been able to pull that off.


About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!