“The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.” – Thalassa Cruso
They say smell is the most powerful of the senses to bring back memories, and I believe that is certainly true at Walt Disney World. There are so many wonderful smells that when they hit your nose you know exactly where you are; or if you are at home and catch a whiff you are instantly transported to Disney. Although powerful, I do not count the scent of a crowded bus at the end of a hot summer day among the top smells—these are all pleasant (mostly).
10. The Monorail
This is where the mostly comes in. I’m not sure that the smell of the monorail is pleasant in and of itself, but it is distinct — if someone walked me on blindfolded I would know exactly where I was. To me it is pleasant due to the association—being on the monorail on your way to a day of magic at a theme park, or on your way back to your resort after experiencing all of that magic.
9. Water Rides
This one is hard to describe, but you know that smell when you enter Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, it’s a small world or Living with the Land? I don’t know exactly what it is, but it is consistent among the water rides, and I, for one, love it.
8. Disney Food
This one strikes me more powerfully in different places. In the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby—I can smell the flavors of Boma and Jiko mixed with the smoky smell of the fire. Walking around Discovery Island at Animal Kingdom at lunch time the smell of roasting meats at Flame Tree Barbecue is very strong. There are several others you smell as you approach—as though they were piping out the scent from the kitchen to make you wish you had a dining reservation.
7. Bath Accessories
Call me crazy but I love the scent of the bath accessories. And I know I am not the only one among us who hides the toiletries so mousekeeping will bring more. I have a stockpile at home that will get me through Armageddon. It just makes me happy to break out the Mickey soap and it smells like I am relaxing at a Disney resort instead of getting ready for a day at work.
The smell of Rome burning in Spaceship Earth. I don’t know how many thousands of times I’ve compared some smoky smell at home to this scene.
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5. Main Street USA
That delicious combination of vanilla, buttercream frosting and sugar as you pass by the Confectionary, Bakery and Ice Creams shop. Enough said.
Quintessential Disney—and this way by plan. The Imagineers wanted the Magic Kingdom to see like you were entering a movie theater, so once you pass through the tunnels you are hit with the scent of popcorn with the carts right at the entrance. And since the popcorn carts are all over the world you can’t help but associate that scent with Walt Disney World.
3. Resort Lobbies
The Polynesian Lobby is an especially amazing smelling lobby with a combination of the water feature with the scent they pipe in and the restaurants on the second floor. It has a sweet smell with notes of pineapple. Yum! The Beach/Yacht Club Lobbies smell just as wonderful as the Polynesian with a mellow and relaxing aroma.
I love this Magic Kingdom attraction because I grew up on the movies it features. But just as great as the movies it features, the music and the 3D effects, is the “smell-o-vision” that fills the theater at key moments. I think my favorite scent out of all of these is the apple pie in the “Be Our Guest” scene.
1. Soarin’ Around the World
You probably knew this would be the top pick. In fact, the smells are probably my favorite part of this attraction. The smell of roses, sea breeze, and even grass really enhance the experience!
So there you have it, my top 10 smells. Do you agree? What are the distinctive smells that take you back to Walt Disney World?