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    My Disney Top 5 - It's Not Really a Disney Trip Until...

    My Disney Top 5 - It's Not Really a Disney Trip Until... by Chris Barry

    Chris anticipates his return to Walt Disney World this summer and tries to pinpoint when it'll really sink in that he's back.

    Read it here!


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    Great list as always Chris! I have a few of my own (first glimpse of the castle or the Contemporary, riding Figment, seeing the Kangaroos at Animal Kingdom), but my real "I'm Here" moment is when I spot Mickey Mouse for the first time. That moment has choked me up since I was a little kid.

    ..and last thing that caught my eye. You're actually going to Disney Springs?!:-)


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    Here are my two for Disneyland:

    1. Catching that first glimpse of Space Mountain from the road
    2. Seeing the flowers in the shape of Mickey's head at the front of Disneyland


  5. #4

    My 5:

    1. The following attractions: Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Country Bears, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, Carousel of Progress, PeopleMover, and Journey into Imagination.
    2. Visit an MK area resort, especially Poly, Wilderness Lodge, or Ft Wilderness.
    3. Witness Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth
    4. See Mickey Mouse in a character greeting or on stage.
    5. Trying something new, like a new attraction or restaurant.


  6. #5

    It doesn't matter what park I'm at, but it's that moment when you glance down Main Street and see the castle in the distance. Then, I know that I'm home. The last two trips to WDW both started at MK, so that was perfect. But the last trip to Disneyland started at DCA (probably because it opened earlier) and it was great, but when we crossed the pavilion near dinner time, and went into the original park, it was a different kind of magic.

    Visit History: Disneyland: 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1996, & July 2016
    Walt Disney World: Aug 2003 & Aug 2008
    Tokyo Disneyland: May 90 & Feb 92
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    Check out my Mickey Mouse collection at Jerm's House Of Mouse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey021 View Post
    Great list as always Chris! I have a few of my own (first glimpse of the castle or the Contemporary, riding Figment, seeing the Kangaroos at Animal Kingdom), but my real "I'm Here" moment is when I spot Mickey Mouse for the first time. That moment has choked me up since I was a little kid.

    ..and last thing that caught my eye. You're actually going to Disney Springs?!:-)
    Good choices Gregg. I know your first one well and it was close to being on the list. I love that moment on the Disney bus to the Magic Kingdom where you get that first glimpse. Big fan of the kangaroos by the way.

    And yes, I'm the only one that has actually seen Disney Springs. My sons and I were at Downtown Disney and so were me and Diane. So, I figured we'd hop the boat from French Quarter on our first night there. I won't love it, but I'll give it a shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonH View Post
    Here are my two for Disneyland:

    1. Catching that first glimpse of Space Mountain from the road
    2. Seeing the flowers in the shape of Mickey's head at the front of Disneyland
    Cool Brandon. I imagine when I finally get out to Disneyland, those two will be favorites of mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxbuffmelvin71 View Post
    My 5:

    1. The following attractions: Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Country Bears, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, Carousel of Progress, PeopleMover, and Journey into Imagination.
    2. Visit an MK area resort, especially Poly, Wilderness Lodge, or Ft Wilderness.
    3. Witness Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth
    4. See Mickey Mouse in a character greeting or on stage.
    5. Trying something new, like a new attraction or restaurant.
    Max is a classic attraction guy, as am I. Truth be told though, I haven't been in the Country Bears in a long long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerm View Post
    It doesn't matter what park I'm at, but it's that moment when you glance down Main Street and see the castle in the distance. Then, I know that I'm home. The last two trips to WDW both started at MK, so that was perfect. But the last trip to Disneyland started at DCA (probably because it opened earlier) and it was great, but when we crossed the pavilion near dinner time, and went into the original park, it was a different kind of magic.
    jerm! Haven't seen your name there for a while! I do love that first glance down Main Street as well!

  11. #10

    If I am to pick ONE, it's taking a train ride for the Grand Circle Tour of the MK. As we are all aware though, it's been quite a while since we could do that at MK in Florida. I probably never skipped the train when it was up. (maybe I skipped it once if I realized late in the trip I hadn't ridden yet and found a really long line for some reason, but in general, I always did it, many times immediately after passing through the gates if I was not on another mission to get to an ADR or FP+ appointment right away).

    It sounds like the modifications and tunnel addition for TRON are progressing along and the tracks have been relaid to a large extent, so hopefully it will be back soon. Also, hopefully when they start the updates to Splash Mountain to change it over to Tiana's Bayou Adventure, they will just be able to block the view into the mountain and leave the train running during construction. It would be a real kick in the pants to close it down again after such a long closure for TRON.

    As to Chris' list:
    5) I am in on the pins to some extent, but not the the level Chris describes (and I don't think I've ever worn pins in the parks - I'd be afraid to lose one I really liked!). I've got maybe half to two thirds of a 2 foot by 3 foot bulletin board filled with pins, almost all bought during trips. I generally would buy one for specific events I'm visiting for (F&W, F&G, MVMCP, old Star Wars Weekends, opening of new attractions, etc), also for any hotel I actually stayed at on a given trip. I'll also occasionally buy one or 2 that I just think are cool. (not to go too deep, but I think the first pin I ever bought at DL fits that bill. It was a three dimensional (sort of layered) pin, with the Castle, Monorail, Golden Gate Bridge, and Grizzly Peak all on one pin. To me, that one pin just defined Disneyland Resort for me as it was at the time.)

    4) Agreed. I participated in the madness that was the Wishes/HEA transition, seeing both the last wishes and first HEA. I dedicated enough time to grab a spot near the end of Main Street, just before the hub. Also was there for the final Illuminations in 2019, and IIRC, the first Epcot Forever that replaced it the next night since Harmonious was still being worked on.

    3) If it matches up with the show, agreed. there is always lots of activity as people try to grab a beverage or snack right before the evening finale. The views across the lagoon are of course changed quite a bit with the permanent Harmonious barges, but it's still a nice stroll, and the pavilions themselves do have a much different look at night.

    2) I do enjoy this ride, and greatly appreciate the novelty of it being the only dark ride where you are suspended below the track with much of the show below you, but I will admit I have not made this a "must do" for every trip, pretty much because of the lines. As much as people joke/curse about it, I'm much more likely to visit IASW to scratch the Fantasyland ride itch.

    1) I'll go a few steps (literally ) before Town Square and say for me, it's the sight of the Main Street Train Station before entering the park (though I admit Town Square is a good feeling of being there also, of course). At first view from the Ferry when you get a nice distant view of both the station and the castle, and then once at the main entrance. Bonus points if there is actually a train arriving or getting ready to depart with a happy bunch of guests right as I pass through the turnstiles and head under the tracks. I have on many trips held back from entering the park to get some nice pics of the train at the station as it prepares to depart.

    Nice article as always, Chris - and enjoy your trip that is so close to being reality now!

    -Dave

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    This is an easy one for us, when we get our first glimpse of the Welcome to Walt Disney sign as we drive on the road into WDW. That is all it takes; we are in the bubble. Nobody else has the bubble, not Universal, not Sea World, nobody has the bubble and it starts after we drive under the sign. The bubble is real, the bubble is incredible, the bubble is gone the second we are off of WDW property.
    So, we only have one top 5 on this week's top 5 conversation. No need to go into a park or get on a ride or ever walk into a resort lobby. The bubble gets us every time.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    If I am to pick ONE, it's taking a train ride for the Grand Circle Tour of the MK. As we are all aware though, it's been quite a while since we could do that at MK in Florida. I probably never skipped the train when it was up. (maybe I skipped it once if I realized late in the trip I hadn't ridden yet and found a really long line for some reason, but in general, I always did it, many times immediately after passing through the gates if I was not on another mission to get to an ADR or FP+ appointment right away).

    It sounds like the modifications and tunnel addition for TRON are progressing along and the tracks have been relaid to a large extent, so hopefully it will be back soon. Also, hopefully when they start the updates to Splash Mountain to change it over to Tiana's Bayou Adventure, they will just be able to block the view into the mountain and leave the train running during construction. It would be a real kick in the pants to close it down again after such a long closure for TRON.

    As to Chris' list:
    5) I am in on the pins to some extent, but not the the level Chris describes (and I don't think I've ever worn pins in the parks - I'd be afraid to lose one I really liked!). I've got maybe half to two thirds of a 2 foot by 3 foot bulletin board filled with pins, almost all bought during trips. I generally would buy one for specific events I'm visiting for (F&W, F&G, MVMCP, old Star Wars Weekends, opening of new attractions, etc), also for any hotel I actually stayed at on a given trip. I'll also occasionally buy one or 2 that I just think are cool. (not to go too deep, but I think the first pin I ever bought at DL fits that bill. It was a three dimensional (sort of layered) pin, with the Castle, Monorail, Golden Gate Bridge, and Grizzly Peak all on one pin. To me, that one pin just defined Disneyland Resort for me as it was at the time.)

    4) Agreed. I participated in the madness that was the Wishes/HEA transition, seeing both the last wishes and first HEA. I dedicated enough time to grab a spot near the end of Main Street, just before the hub. Also was there for the final Illuminations in 2019, and IIRC, the first Epcot Forever that replaced it the next night since Harmonious was still being worked on.

    3) If it matches up with the show, agreed. there is always lots of activity as people try to grab a beverage or snack right before the evening finale. The views across the lagoon are of course changed quite a bit with the permanent Harmonious barges, but it's still a nice stroll, and the pavilions themselves do have a much different look at night.

    2) I do enjoy this ride, and greatly appreciate the novelty of it being the only dark ride where you are suspended below the track with much of the show below you, but I will admit I have not made this a "must do" for every trip, pretty much because of the lines. As much as people joke/curse about it, I'm much more likely to visit IASW to scratch the Fantasyland ride itch.

    1) I'll go a few steps (literally ) before Town Square and say for me, it's the sight of the Main Street Train Station before entering the park (though I admit Town Square is a good feeling of being there also, of course). At first view from the Ferry when you get a nice distant view of both the station and the castle, and then once at the main entrance. Bonus points if there is actually a train arriving or getting ready to depart with a happy bunch of guests right as I pass through the turnstiles and head under the tracks. I have on many trips held back from entering the park to get some nice pics of the train at the station as it prepares to depart.

    Nice article as always, Chris - and enjoy your trip that is so close to being reality now!
    Thanks Dave. Seems like you're a big railroad fan?
    So, where did you watch the final Illuminations? We were in Germany.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    This is an easy one for us, when we get our first glimpse of the Welcome to Walt Disney sign as we drive on the road into WDW. That is all it takes; we are in the bubble. Nobody else has the bubble, not Universal, not Sea World, nobody has the bubble and it starts after we drive under the sign. The bubble is real, the bubble is incredible, the bubble is gone the second we are off of WDW property.
    So, we only have one top 5 on this week's top 5 conversation. No need to go into a park or get on a ride or ever walk into a resort lobby. The bubble gets us every time.
    You know Chuck, this was almost on the list. It's one of my favorite moments of the trip for exactly the reason you stated. That's it. Road signs change. No overhead wires. Just about nothing commercial except for the Speedway station. Entering the bubble is a big moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    You know Chuck, this was almost on the list. It's one of my favorite moments of the trip for exactly the reason you stated. That's it. Road signs change. No overhead wires. Just about nothing commercial except for the Speedway station. Entering the bubble is a big moment.
    And that is the deal, it seems cleaner, more vibrant, with a whiff of excitement in the air. I am very, very grateful for experiencing the bubble.

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    I thought I would throw you for a loop and comment on your comment. Hope you have a great time on your upcoming trip. No hurricanes so far.....


  17. #16

    I haven't missed a column, but I had some issues with my primary PC, and I was unable to log in and comment. As always, I look forward to reading your articles.

    Visit History: Disneyland: 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1996, & July 2016
    Walt Disney World: Aug 2003 & Aug 2008
    Tokyo Disneyland: May 90 & Feb 92
    Disneyland Paris: Nov 04

    Check out my Mickey Mouse collection at Jerm's House Of Mouse

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    Thanks Dave. Seems like you're a big railroad fan?
    So, where did you watch the final Illuminations? We were in Germany.
    Chris,
    Yes, I have always been a big railroad fan. It started with models/toy trains with my dad's influence, but extends to the real thing to some extent, especially for something neat like the Disney Park Trains (Monorails too, and I even enjoy the DAK train to Rafiki's, even though it is not a real steam powered train, it still does a decent job of looking like one).

    I think part of my reason for saying the Grand Circle Tour is also because of the Magic that getting a sampling of the park makes you feel for those that are not as familiar with it. I'll admit now that I am probably considered a Disney frequent visitor by most, it is less of that and more just a tradition I feel good about doing (And I don't think anyone would dispute that it's just a relaxing ride). I know there are far more "productive" uses of time for a knowledgeable visitor, it's not like it saves you any time (especially if you literally do the Grand Circle Tour ) But on my earliest visits, and also on my first return to Disneyland as an adult around 12 years ago, starting with the tour gives just the taste of what you might see in each area of the park, and I sort of like that.

    Re: Illuminations final viewing: I am pretty sure I was standing on the first bridge as you walk from IG towards France for the final Illuminations (so roughly above the area where they run the paid desert party type of events). This put me looking roughly towards Mexico from that angle. It was pretty decent, I thought. As I'm sure you witnessed as well, anything near the center, people were lining up probably even in the morning (or at least by lunch time). I probably staked out my spot two hours or so before the show. The coolest unanticipated thing I saw that day was when they brought out the barges though. I was not intending to seek out that event, but I just happened to get stopped when walking towards China as they raised the drawbridge. When they brought out the barges, all the CMs waved to the cheering crowd, and the CMs driving the one with the globe did a few "donuts" right after clearing the bridge area to put on a mini show for the fans. That was pretty cool! There are (I think) numerous videos of that mini-show on YouTube.

    I seem to recall I did get a spot not too far from center somewhere near one of the 2 shops at the entrance to World Showcase for Epcot Forever the next night. There was seemingly much less interest for that, possibly because people knew it was a temporary filler until Harmonious was ready to debut.

    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    You know Chuck, this was almost on the list. It's one of my favorite moments of the trip for exactly the reason you stated. That's it. Road signs change. No overhead wires. Just about nothing commercial except for the Speedway station. Entering the bubble is a big moment.
    I almost put some words to that effect in my original post too (or even the toll both stop for each park - though people using the buses may not think much of that since they only slow down a little! ). Not so much for the bubble aspect for me, but just for the "I'm here" aspect. It's not an accident that they have to put up all the "absolutely no stopping" signs at all of those archway areas so the roadway doesn't turn into a parking lot. So I think a lot of people appreciate those archways at the entrance points to the property.
    -Dave

  19. #18

    So as I was in my refrigerator I found one that I forgot about when I originally responded to this:

    I always feel like it's a victory during a trip if I can find the little Mickey Mouse shaped chocolate covered Coconut treats they sometimes sell at the various candy shops and some of the gift shops.

    I fully understand that they are essentially a Mounds candy bar in a different form, but it's a nice little cap to a trip to pick up a box (or maybe 2 - they keep for a while, especially if refrigerated ) on my final day to take home with me as a little thing to remember the trip with for the next several months (like I said, they keep ) You of course don't want to do this too early in your trip where they may have to sit in a hot car or luggage that may be in a non-temperature controlled environment... I recommend carry-on only for these.

    There were a few lean years (maybe like 2016-2017? I'm guessing a bit there) when they went off the radar as unavailable, but they seem to be back regularly (I was regularly picking them up just before COVID, and I found them last fall also. So hopefully they are back to regularly being available)

    -Dave

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    So as I was in my refrigerator I found one that I forgot about when I originally responded to this:

    I always feel like it's a victory during a trip if I can find the little Mickey Mouse shaped chocolate covered Coconut treats they sometimes sell at the various candy shops and some of the gift shops.

    I fully understand that they are essentially a Mounds candy bar in a different form, but it's a nice little cap to a trip to pick up a box (or maybe 2 - they keep for a while, especially if refrigerated ) on my final day to take home with me as a little thing to remember the trip with for the next several months (like I said, they keep ) You of course don't want to do this too early in your trip where they may have to sit in a hot car or luggage that may be in a non-temperature controlled environment... I recommend carry-on only for these.

    There were a few lean years (maybe like 2016-2017? I'm guessing a bit there) when they went off the radar as unavailable, but they seem to be back regularly (I was regularly picking them up just before COVID, and I found them last fall also. So hopefully they are back to regularly being available)
    OH MAN do I love those things. I'm on a slight quest to avoid chocolate for a while...terrible idea I know.....but I saw them and I actually passed on them. Some sort of will power I guess. But yes, I saw them and they are back. What I really miss are the Disney chocolate bars. I used to pick one up a day!

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    OH MAN do I love those things. I'm on a slight quest to avoid chocolate for a while...terrible idea I know.....but I saw them and I actually passed on them. Some sort of will power I guess. But yes, I saw them and they are back. What I really miss are the Disney chocolate bars. I used to pick one up a day!
    I am not sure if they are as widely available as the boxes, but they have also had small 2 packs in the past. So if you want to cheat "just a little" without buying a whole box..... . I am fairly confident I bought one of these 2 packs at Fantasia Market in the Contemporary, and possibly also saw them at one of the shops at the Poly. Not sure if it might have been Boutiki or the one upstairs.

    Hope your trip was/is good, depending on if you are home or still down there.

    I'm not sure I ever saw the Disney chocolate bars. But that might be for the better for my health to only be hooked on one type of sweet snack down there!
    -Dave

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