One of the things I think I can feel lucky about is that both my kids, Quinn and Hope, share the same love of Disney that I do. We discuss Disney all the time. The movies, the parks, almost anything. We even had the We’re Going to WDW Podcast for a little while. Our wonderful wife and mother, although letting us have our way, and is great about all of it, abstains from any trip that does not have a Deluxe hotel listed in the plans somewhere. So the three of us, the kids and I, are true Disney Nerds. I was reflecting on that as we were discussing my upcoming trip to WDW. My daughter Hope brought up the point that we do certain things each and every time we got to the Parks. Quinn agreed and that started us talking about Maz WDW Family Traditions. Some of the things that I started doing with the kids that just kinda became something we do every trip to the point some times of the absurd.
By time we got going with this conversation, we were throwing out ideas left and right and to organize it a bit, I’ll go park by park. But before I even start, the topic of Rope drop has to come up as it is one of the thing that helps out most of our other traditions to happen. If you don’t know, Rope Drop is the magical moment of the day that each Disney Park opens. There used to be such great little shows at each park and that’s why we began the early wake-ups to get there in time. Getting on rides easy did not hurt either. But that became our real first tradition, getting out of bed and to the parks early. It was an everyday thing. Truth be told though, in the most recent years, it’s been all but one day of the trip. Our newest tradition Is now sleeping in at least one day, which we can with the new Fastpasses.
Along with the Rope Drop thing, we would also always be on the look-out for Disney Cast Members to Trade pins with and the Pressed penny machines. Of the two, the pressed pennies continue on strong as the pins faded. When they were smaller it was all about who carried the M&M container filled with quarters and pennies and who gets to turn the crank or press the button first. It’s till fun and we’ve got 4 of the Pressed penny books filled with souvenirs.
As for specific parks, let’s start with the Magic Kingdom and a couple of the traditions we do and maybe one that is now gone. One of the ones we came up with at once was the Carousel of Progress. The kids and I go on it every trip. The only time we did not go, it was down for rehab. We love the music, we all sing, and have a great time each and every time looking for something new that we might have missed. The same goes for the attraction right across the pathway at the Tomorrowland PeopleMover. Every trip at least once. And we give extra pats on the backs if we work it out so that we’re on it at night. And the ultimate feather in the cap, all of us riding the People Mover during the fireworks. For food, we always seem to gravitate towards the Columbia Harbor House. I think the idea here is we always sit next to a window and people watch, so after being with each other non-stop for a couple days…no conversation necessary. The one that is gone was our traditional Night Time Parade watching spot. Across from Sleepy Hollow Rest, between the pathway to the Crystal Palace and the bridge, once the ropes went up (or the tape went down) it formed the perfect 4 person area. And, every picture has the Castle in all it’s glory in the background.
Over at the Disney Hollywood Studios, our tradition tends to be, as funny as this sounds, the morning Rope Drop Routine. Ever since the opening of Toy Story Mania, we would Rope Drop, do the fast walk over to TSM fastpass and get that paper pass. We would then ride it, go over to Tower of Terror and walk on, maybe twice, and return for our fastpass on TSM. With Magic Band Fastpasses, we do the same thing but with a pre-planned 10:00 am TSM fastpath. The only other thing at DHS we do without fail, rain or shine, lines or Brazilian Tour Groups is Star Tours. We go at least once per trip, but more like 5 or 6 times. And we consider it a flawed ride if we don’t see the entire pre-show video. That’s a whole show in itself. And with Star Tours adding new scenes with every movie, it can always be a new show.
Epcot next and it seems that there are two traditional attractions that we always get on are Soarin and then because we’re there, Living with the Land. This was the same Rope Drop thinking as at DHS. Get to Soarin for a fastpass and then ride it, then over to Living with the Land and back to Soaring for our fastpass. Like clock work each time. That’s really that came up for Epcot as what we do each and every time. Other than that, Ellen was our thing…every time we went, we went on the Universe of Energy. For us it never got old and great from beginning to end.
So now Animal Kingdom. With all the recent changes, time will tell what we will continue to do all the time or what we find new to do as a family. But everyone agreed that # 1 without a doubt is Finding Nemo: The Musical. From the very first time it made it’s debut, we go every time we go to AK. Heck, even solo, I go to this every time. The natural songs that they created for this play are so seamless to the original, lyric free movie, it’s magical. The only other thing that is a weird tradition is riding Everest Single Rider line. Ever since the kids where old enough to start riding alone, this was something we had to do each time in AK. I think they liked their little piece of independence.
On to the last stop and Disney Springs or as I traditionally keep calling it, DownTown Disney. Now this place with the kids, was a visit every other trip kind of place and we have not, as a family seen a lot of the NEW Disney Springs. However, the three traditional things we do here are still there. It’s weird how this worked out, but even though we’ve walked it from end to end, these three things are in the older end up near the RainTree Restaurant. The first is Picture spots. You might have noticed I mentioned no pictures we traditionally get in the parks, that’s cause they keep moving things around. For example, in MK we started with the Goofy Picture taking machine until that moved, then Pleakley with his luggage over in Tomorrowland, but then they yanked him, etc. However in DS, there are two picture locations that stayed pretty stable over the last 15 or so years. The first being the small Christmas Scene with the Fab Five right near the fountain next to the Disney Toy store. A great place for taking the family Xmas card photo for the upcoming holiday. The second is the Winnie the Pooh Log bench that is located on the way to Goofy’s Candy Store. It’s by the Disney Thrift store (I chuckle as I say that in my head, Disney Thrift Store) past the carousel. Anyway, great spot for pictures. I think they moved it one trip, but it was back the next and ever since.
Second and third thing at Disney Springs are food things and the first is Wife approved. Now I mentioned that Lesley is not too into the hustle and bustle of park touring but shopping does work and so do great snacks. Goofy’s Candy Co. fits the bill and we have actually hit DS just to go here. We each have our favorites and for the trip that one of us might be at home, a great souvenir, if we can get it home. The other food place is Earl of Sandwich. Every time. Great choice, great prices, was a great location. However, footnote here, after finding Earl of Sandwich on the Florida Turnpike rest area, not as impressed, but it’s still reliable.
So those are some of the Maz Family Traditions that we do almost each and every trip. What are yoru Family Traditions? Share them below we all want to hear about them and see what new traditions we can start. Hmmm, Quinn will be 21 in a couple months, Rose and Crown tradition coming up? We’ll see.