Going under the welcome sign for the first
time on your trip is always special.
Do you have any Disney park rituals that you follow? I do and even though it's a little embarrassing, here's a glimpse into my Disneyfied brain:
The countdown: It is hereby proclaimed that you will have a countdown at your ready disposal so that you can post Facebook updates that say "45 days--I need to pack!" and other statuses that will make your friends envious. Doing so makes up for all the time you spend jealously watching their updates when they're on vacation and you're not.
The official to-do list: The official to-do list (which is always neatly typed) is the most important part of your planning process. How else will you remember to pack your youngest's favorite pillow (because Disney pillows are "too hard") and to cancel the mail? It's like a rule book in our house. Items like "contact pet sitter" and "why doesn't the baby have underwear?" are crossed off with a hot pink hi-lighter until we're left with "don't forget phone charger."
The part where we buy a phone charger in Florence, South Carolina. "Nuff said. Yes, we have forgotten more than once. Yes, there is a Best Buy right off I-95.
Sleep is optional: I tend to do this on adult trips because when I'm with my kids, I try to be a responsible adult and being a responsible adult means putting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, even when you're visiting the happiest place on earth. But on adult trips, I've been known to call three or four hours of sleep over a period of nights adequate. How can you sleep when there's so much to do?
The "I don't really wear this stuff at home" impulse buy: Where you buy a Snuggie/T-shirt/funny hat and wear it in the parks. What, you wear it at home? Me too. Maybe.
The first park: It's always the Magic Kingdom, right? Or maybe you're one of those people who go to Epcot first. I will admit that on trips with my oldest, we often start out at Hollywood Studios. Yes, we're weird.
The part where you realize you're really there. I think everyone has that moment where they feel they're really visiting Disney World. Maybe it's when you walk down Main Street and see the castle or when you drive under the welcome sign. For me, it's the little things, like the walk from the Poly to the Grand Floridian, or going through the Contemporary on the monorail for the first time. Those little glimpses of the Magic Kingdom as you get closer are what really makes it seem like I'm there to me.
The "last meal of our vacation" ritual: This should be a sit-down restaurant, preferably someplace on the Magic Kingdom monorail so that you can head back over to the park and say good-bye to Mickey. If the park is closing early, I might try to stretch out the night by heading to the California Grill for a late night meal.
Saying good-bye: Every hard-core Disney nerd has a good-bye ritual and if you don't have one, in the words of Woody from Toy Story, "Get one!" For us, it's stopping at the end of Main Street, right in front of Town Square, turning around, and saying good-bye to Mickey and the castle. I've done that every time (save for one) for over twenty years. Last time I made a large group of adults do it and no one seemed to mind.
What about you? I'd love to hear about your Disney rituals, either here on or Facebook.