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OriginalCunningFox's avatar

Your best Disney park experience?

Asked by OriginalCunningFox (383points) November 11th, 2015

If you’ve been lucky enough to take a trip (or multiple trips) to one of the Disney parks in your life, did you ever have a significantly ‘magical’ experience there? Something that stands out for you? Share your stories!

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26 Answers

Seek's avatar

I’ve been twice. The first was when I was 18. It was expensive, crowded, and the lines were unbearably long.

The second time was for my son’s birthday this year. The gate price was way too high to justify, but I have a friend who was a cast member and he got us through the gate for free.

It was hot, crowded, and the lines were unbearably long. We did get there at opening time, so we were able to book it to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain before the crowds made it there.

The best part was first thing in the morning. We didn’t tell Ian we were bringing him there, and he fell asleep in the car. The look on his face when he woke up in the parking lot was worth the hassle.

Cruiser's avatar

I make a product that is used extensively in all Disney theme parks and cruise ships…getting my very first behind the scenes tour with the Imagineers was almost as thrilling as my first trip as a kid to Disneyworld. What you don’t see in the parks would blow your mind.

Seek's avatar

I’ll add that both times I left way before closing time, and I have no real desire to repeat the experience.

I’ll choose Universal Studios over Disney parks any day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow, @Cruiser!

The only Disneyland story I have to tell is that we used to live in Florida. Mom says that at one point some land was up for sale and she encouraged Dad to buy it, and he refused. A few years later, whoever bought it, sold it to the company who built Disney land there.

I’ve never been.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Disney is currently building a new park in Shanghai China that will be it’s crowning glory. Can’t wait to see the final result.

jca's avatar

I went to DW about six times in my life, and Disney Land once, when I was about ten. With my daughter, we went two years ago to DW, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Then again we did DW, Epcot, AK and Hollywood Studios. I learned a lot and did much research on FB and online before both trips. Id say my favorite park is An’imal Kingdom. I like the laid back vibe and we really had a great time in Dino Land and we loved the Lion King show. There are parts of AK we still haven’t seen.

The whole experience is great, but it’s a lot of work, very tiring, like a marathon. On Trip Advisor, there are forums where travelers plan their day down to the minute. To me, that’s a little crazy and not much like a vacation. I can understand why they do it, because the day is precious, but it’s also not my idea of a leisurely day.

Disney is a genius marketer and they give you a good value but they really know how to suck it out of you.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

We moved to Whittier, CA, near Anaheim, when I was 1½ yrs old. We visited often, but I was too young for me to remember much.

When I was growing up in Las Vegas we went to California at least twice a year, often visiting Disneyland. I went twice with my Jr. High band and had a great time with friends.

The moment that stands out for me for some odd reason is when I was 14 and I was with my best friend and parents. We were leaving and it was dark and very late. We passed an outside club where people were drinking and dancing to Prince-1999 (it was early 80s.) I was so envious. Everyone looked like they were having fun and I wanted to join, not leave. It was still a magical moment. My best friend and I danced along as we walked to the parking lot.

filmfann's avatar

I have several stories that are wonderful. I will share them later in the thread, but let me start with my sister, who used to work at Silverado Vineyards, and was on a first name basis with Diane Disney Miller. Diane and her husband Ron Miller comped me some passes to the park. When I picked them up at Will Call, and the girl behind the counter saw there names on my passes, I thought she was gonna choke.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve only been to Disney World, but I have been many times. My favorite park is Epcot. Some of my favorite “rides” are Soarin’, Living with the Land, the ride in Mexico, walking through the future house, and I had very nice meals in Japan and Norway.

Each park I have favorite rides, but Epcot is the park I typically go to if I only have one day, unless I was just there in the last year or two.

I also really like Typhoon Lagoon for a day at the water parks. I like it better than Blizzard Beach.

Downtown Disney is good too, but it often is very crowded even when the parks aren’t. One of my favorite restaurants is the Irish one, I think
It’s called Raglands? Good food, and performers doing Irish dance for a shirt spell every hour, and a live band that alternates with them. You can go in and just sit at the bar and have a drink and watch the show if you want.

Best is to go off season. Off season most rides have 10–15 minute waits, although the very popular ones can still be an hour or more. Some there is no wait, you just walk right on.

There is an app for ride wait times in real time.

January is a great month for very little waiting, any time after the new year weekend, but it can be cold. Early November usually is good too, before the weekend before Thanksgiving (meaning even the weekend before Thanksgiving is busy, because some people take off that entire week). There is also a lull after Easter breaks stop and before children start getting out of school, so that’s usually late April very early May time frame. Just keep in mind when kids are out of school Disney is busy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Disneyland is in CA. Disney World is in FL.

Judi's avatar

Special memories? I have lots but on my last trip I got to meet @JLeslie and her husband! That was awesome!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve never been to either so it isn’t particularly firm in my mind where who is what, @JLeslie.

Isn’t it expensive? And is it worth it?

Seek's avatar

If you really enjoy Disney characters and paying $100 per person for the privilege of standing in line for eight hours, it’s worth it.

I give the low estimate on cost because you are allowed to bring your own food to the park. If you want to buy food there, you’re looking at $17 for a cold hot dog in a restaurant with no chairs.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

We recently took our kids to Disneyworld during a lovely Florida vacation. It was overall kind of a “mostly decent” experience. The best part was actually when we left, getting to sit down on the tram that took us back to the parking lot, resting my feet and back, and just smiling at my girls who were both wearing the giant Minnie Mouse bows.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s expensive and it isn’t. Go to a musical, football game, or concert for 2 hours and you easily could pay $60 a ticket. Go to Disney and pay $60 to $95 for a full day of rides and entertainment. The price goes down per day for multiple day tickets. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Sunshine state you can get FL discount tickets. I think the running rate now is $139 for 3 days or $159 for 4 days.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie… that doesn’t include hotel and food though, does it?

Seek's avatar

Nope. And parking is $19.

jca's avatar

When I went the two times recently, it was about $100 for the first day, but by the time you do a 5 day pass, the cost for the 5th day is about $20. That’s part of what I meant when I said they’re marketing geniuses. They make it so it’s cheaper to do the 4th or 5th day there then to go elsewhere, if you’re there on vacation, and pay $100 somewhere else. Universal probably does the same thing – make the multi-day pass so cheap that it’s cheaper to do the 4th or 5th day at Universal rather than go to Disney.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III No. Hotels on property sometimes are as low as $90 a night off peak, or can be much much more. If you stay on property you don’t need a car, so you don’t have any parking fees in that case. I guess you can cheat the system and park for free at Downtown Disney and use Disney transportation to the park, but you would probably lose over an hour on your day. That’s assuming you can park there in the morning? I’m not sure if you can? The retail stores probably don’t open until 10:00. I’d have to research that option.

Food is pretty expensive. There are dining packages, but I’ve never used them, and don’t know much about them. I often stay off site, eat breakfast at my hotel free or cheap, eat lunch at Disney World, and sometimes I eat dinner at Disney, sometimes not. Epcot is a long day, so it makes sense to eat dinner there. Animal Kingdom is a short day and you can easily eat something somewhere else.

I have stayed at the park and off site. Honestly, waiting for the Disney bus to get you to a park from the less expensive hotels takes so long that driving from a nearby hotel often can be faster. However, if you go for a week, and fly down, I would probably just stay at the park and have the option to go back to the hotel midday and rest or go to the pool, especially in the summer. It’s hot midday and likely to storm. To see everything in all 4 parks I think 5 days is a good minimum. Epcot can easily be split into two days there is so much to do and see.

jca's avatar

When we went, both times we stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites which was by Sea World (we went to Sea World, too). It was about 89 bucks a night and included a free breakfast. DW hotels include no food. We bought tickets through AAA, and they included parking, so we didn’t pay for parking.

We also bought Sea World tickets through AAA, and they included “eat all day” and were cheaper than if we just bought regular park admission on our own.

JLeslie's avatar

When I went to Sea World we stayed across the street and walked to the park. Many of the hotels near the parks have free shuttles.

OriginalCunningFox's avatar

Thank you all for the great answers!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well….I bet you’ve never been to the Winfield Lake! So there.

Pachy's avatar

Getting off the space ride!!! This was many years ago. I thought I was going to die from nausea during that %#^%!? ride.

Judi's avatar

Just got home from a fun day at Universal Hollywood with two of the grands. $150 per person with front of like passes. And the crummy lunch for 3 was $50.
It was worth every penny though. I am a hard core theme park fan though and those kids could barely keep up with me! We did everything in one day except the Mummy ride and that only because they chickened out.

filmfann's avatar

My brother in law’s sister has a granddaughter who was molested as a child by her father, with her mother’s knowledge. She was then removed from the home, and placed in foster care, where she was molested by the foster father. When she was removed from there, she went to live with her grandmother.
My brother in law wanted to take her to Disneyland (as I mentioned in an earlier post, he is well connected with the Disney family), and he set it all up for a truly magical experience.
The girl’s name is Jasmine, so you would think Princess Jasmine would be her favorite, but it really was Sleeping Beauty. When this happened she was about 9 years old.
She was eager to meet Sleeping Beauty at the park, and was always looking around to try and find her, not realizing my brother in law had arranged for a meeting.
They walked near the fountain at a specific time, and there was SB. Jasmine ran up to her, and SB looked at her and said “Hello, Jasmine!”. The girl looked surprised, and said “How do you know my name?” and SB replied “Because I dreamed of you while I was sleeping!”.
SB then went on several rides with Jasmine, and they walked through the park together. Whenever other people tried to approach SB, security kept them at a distance, telling them this was a special event. When SB finally left, Jasmine was so elated and happy it brought tears to everyone’s eyes that knew the backstory.
Disney is actually pretty receptive to this kind of thing, and people don’t know to organize this. My brother in law is a very remarkable guy, and this really endeared him to me.

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