If you’re a lover of Walt Disney World Resort who travels there frequently, you’re probably familiar with this conversation:
Friend/coworker/family member: “Where are you going on vacation this year?”
You: ” Walt Disney World.”
Friend/coworker/family member (either appalled or incredulous): “Walt Disney World! AGAIN? Why on earth would you go there AGAIN? Don’t you ever go anywhere else?”
First, yes, we do go other places. Lots of them. We love to travel and explore new things. We are fortunate that we are able to visit new places AND go to Walt Disney World.
Second, I realize there are people who don’t appreciate Walt Disney World, and there are also those who have gone once or twice and don’t feel the need to go again. That’s ok; every family is different.
I am going to try to explain what Walt Disney World means to me and my family. For the purposes of this list, I am going to ignore the obvious: That there are four theme parks and two water parks; resort hotels to fit any budget; recreational activities including golf courses and water sports; etc. I am going to get personal, so here goes:
The customer service is unequaled. All Cast Members that I have ever encountered have been pleasant and well-informed. From the heartfelt “Welcome Home” when checking in to our resort, to the PhotoPass photographers on Main Street, U.S.A. who sometimes take extra pictures for us, to the person at Guest Relations who answers our questions, I always feel appreciated and respected. In my experience, there aren’t many places this happens, and it has become important to me. I like knowing that if I have an issue it is going to be resolved quickly and pleasantly.
Family memories are made. Yes we can make memories other places, and like I said, we do. But there is something special about being able to have pictures of the whole family with certain Characters year after year. We get to see each other change and grow in the photos. We have experiences that we talk about year after year, and when we do we reclaim that connection that we had when it was happening. We still talk about my son’s first viewing of Wishes when he was five, and although he does remember it, he loves to hear the story.
New things and old things, all together in one place. Within the next few years, there is going to be a Star Wars Land and a third track at Toy Story Midway Mania (making the lines a little more bearable) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the the world of Pandora is being constructed, as is a new nighttime spectacular. At Epcot, Soarin’ is getting a new film and there is going to be a new Frozen-themed ride and a new Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet in Norway in World Showcase. And at the Magic Kingdom, the recent expansion of Fantasyland gave us a new Fairytale Hall for princess meet-and-greets, Enchanted Tales with Belle, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Beast’s castle which features the Be Our Guest restaurant. Also debuting later this year is the Jungle Cruise-themed Skipper Canteen restaurant in Adventureland. Additionally, Downtown Disney has been redesigned and transformed into Disney Springs Marketplace, with many new shops and restaurants.
The feeling of home. There is great comfort in the familiar. When I started visiting Walt Disney World as a young girl of 5, there was only one park, the Magic Kingdom. As the other parks were added, (Epcot in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998) I was thrilled to visit and learn about and explore each one. I have memories at each of them, but my heart will always belong to the Magic Kingdom. Every time I walk down Main Street, U.S.A. and catch that first glimpse of Cinderella Castle, I get choked up. All of the memories throughout the years come back and are fresh in my mind. It is a wonderful, happy, magical feeling that I can’t get enough of, and I’m a very lucky girl that my family feels the same.
What are the reasons you keep going back? I’d love to hear them!