A trip to Disney World isn’t special just because of the roller coasters and souvenirs (OK, those are really fun parts though!).
It’s special because of the memories you create! Disney does their best to start the experience the minute you enter. From start to finish, you’re fully immersed in the “Disney magic.” The memories and magic really kick into gear when you add in magical moments from Cast Members and characters. Over the years, people have made Disney World the place to get their first haircuts, celebrate their birthdays, and pop the question. To start off 2021 on a positive note, we reached out to the DFB team and our readers to share their favorite moments experienced at Disney World.
Rockstar Cast Member Moments
There were many, many shoutouts to the rockstar Cast Members that work at Disney World. The employees are what keep the parks running and have the ability to make a guest’s day with a magical moment. Our readers received a lot of special moments like extra FastPasses, complimentary drinks, and TONS of room upgrades. You lucky ducks! Keep in mind that room upgrades usually happen for reasons outside of a Cast Member’s control, but it sure can FEEL magical! Here are a few of our favorite stories from the team and our followers.
Sarah reminisced about having a very merry Unbirthday cake sent to her table at Liberty Tree Tavern. It’s a pretty cute story that highlights the server’s sense of humor and ability to make a person’s day! It also shows the never-ending magic that was the Year of a Million Dreams. This was a Disney World year-long promotion that made all sorts of dreams come true for guests in spontaneous ways. Some of our followers wrote in about how they got to be the Grand Marshall in the parade and other guests were able to spend the night in the Cinderella Castle Suite during this year.
Back during the Year of a Million Dreams, my mom, sister, and I were dining at Liberty Tree Tavern. At the end of our (very filling) meal, the server brought over a cake and asked “Whose birthday is it today?” It was none of our birthdays, and she smiled and said “Then this must be your UNbirthday cake!” She set down a large circular cake for sure big enough to feed a dozen people. We ate some, then offered the rest to the family at a neighboring table. They were as excited as we were!
Paula told us about a time where Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Cast Members went above and beyond to keep the magic alive for her daughter. The Cast Member noticed her daughter’s love for flowers and polite behavior so they reported the information straight to Mickey!
She was admiring the beautiful flower arrangements at the front desk and wanted to pick a flower from one. The Cast Member saw this and heard me explain that we don’t pick those flowers because they are for everyone to enjoy. Which she accepted nicely and continued to ooh and ahh at them without touching. Our room wasn’t ready yet, but when we got there later there were flowers in it with a note from Mickey saying he heard that she liked flowers so he wanted her to have some of her own. We got a new small arrangement delivered every day of our visit. My daughter felt so special because Mickey sent her flowers.
Then there are the moments that you’ll never be able to repeat. We heard from some readers that Cast Members made their special occasions even more momentous with unique experiences. Jillian mentioned the time she was at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on New Year’s Eve in 2000.
I was 9 years old and waiting for the fireworks, so my mom decided we should go on the great movie ride while we wait. Since we were the only ones on board the Cast Member offered to do a Hidden Mickey Tour version of the ride. They also timed the ride a little longer so when we got off the fireworks were starting. Such a wonderful way to welcome the millennium.
We’re Not Crying, YOU’RE Crying
There are some moments that were real tear-jerkers. We’re not being dramatic here! We were sent some really touching moments and it was tough to choose between them. John told us the cutest story about how he met his wife and it’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever.
Year was 1999. I was on vacation at Walt Disney World with my parents and some friends. I was a young Airman in the Air Force. It was the last day of our trip, a Friday night. Everyone else was tired, but I was a young 23-year-old with enough money in my pocket for one beer, so I went to Pleasure Island. In the Wild Horse Saloon, I met eyes with a beautiful young woman. She sent her friend over so that she could introduce us. We talked all night, before I had to go back home the next morning. We talked on the phone every night for two weeks, until she flew to Biloxi Mississippi, where I was stationed, to visit me. Six days later, when it was time for her to fly back home, I asked her to stay. She agreed. We got married six months later. This year, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. I’ve been to Disney World on 48 separate trips. But that one is the most magical.
It’s always a little heartbreaking to watch your favorite attraction be transformed into something else. Many guests were torn when The Great Movie Ride was replaced by Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The attraction opened with Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) in 1989 and many have good memories attached to the nostalgic ride. Tina wrote about how a Cast Member consoled her on her last ride before it closed permanantly.
One of the best and worst moments of my life, the last night the Great Movie Ride was open we rode over and over and over again and I kept saying I wasn’t ready for my last go through so we kept getting back in line. Close to park close I sat in the front row next to the Cast Member and she saw me crying and she asked to hold my hand because it was her last ride and she was trying to hold it together. So every second she was in the car (she like ran back after the Indy scene) she held my hand and at the end of the ride she asked me to wait and gave me the biggest, sobbing hug and she told me she would never forget me and was so grateful I was part of her last ride. and I said that was the last one .
Lydia also had an adorably romantic story that really captured the essence of “seize the moment.” Things don’t always go according to plan when you’re at Disney World. During stressful moments, it’s best to take a moment and soak in the atmosphere.
Our last park was Hollywood Studios and we walked from EPCOT, trying to make it to see Fantasmic (we’d never seen it before). During our walk, it started pouring down rain harder than I’d ever seen. We missed the show, but walked down Sunset Blvd anyways. We sat and dried off for a while until we had the whole street to ourselves. As we left Sunset Blvd, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” was playing and we stopped to dance, soaking wet and alone in the middle of the park. Now, every time that song plays at Hollywood Studios, we stop and dance together.
That’s #RelationshipGoals right there! We were sent a LOT more romantic stories including weddings and LOADS of engagement memories in front of Cinderella Castle. We really loved the unique engagement locations too! Molly got popped the question at the Italy Pavilion in EPCOT, Tina’s spooky engagement happened in the stretching room at the Haunted Mansion, and drewb_83 told us they were engaged in front of the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!
We were also sent some pretty entertaining stories! Many of them came from the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor in Magic Kingdom! Those improvisational monsters are pretty clever and know how to make the crowd laugh like crazy. So many people walk away with good memories of being crowned “That Guy” and being teased incessantly by the characters. Brianna’s boyfriend got chosen as That Guy and later had an adorable Disney moment with a kid who recognized him.
My bf got chosen as “that guy” on monsters inc laugh floor! Later in the day he got recognized while we were in line for the teacups, this adorable kiddo shouted “hey you’re that guy!” and asked him to sign his autograph book.
One of our favorite stories comes from the Sword in the Stone statue in front of Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel. The sword used to magically lift out of the stone when people tried to retrieve it on occasion. It didn’t work for everyone though! You had to get lucky in order to pull it from the stone. This created some funny moments of kids and adults trying their hardest to be the one to pull it! Stacy told us a story about how she and her grown-up daughter had a “sword competition” that ended in her favor!
We stopped at the sword in the stone so I could re-create a favorite memory (my then young son getting upset years ago when he couldn’t get it to come out). I went to get a quick photo…and the sword came up! My daughter immediately switched places with me to get a photo, and the sword wouldn’t rise. I tried it again, and it came out once more! My face (thrilled) and hers (cranky) is a memory I still smile about. DISNEY magic!
Special shoutout to @kyralorenmiller who sent us a message that just said, “Boarding Group #16. WHOOP WHOOP!” 😂We understand how difficult it is to get a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it can feel like a major achievement when you receive one. (Some of our team members haven’t even been on it yet!) We’re absolutely celebrating that you got to enjoy the ride, kyralorenmiller!
Magical Character Moments
Sometimes, when the lines aren’t too busy, you can have a truly memorable photo op with the characters. They can take their time and play with the kids and adults, creating some special moments. We were sent in a couple stories about how guests got lucky enough to have some extended time with the characters. Jessica told us about a time her son got some really lovely moments with Winnie the Pooh in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
We visited Pooh in Animal Kingdom and were the only ones in line! We ended up spending 15 minutes with just my son Tigger, and Pooh and it was pretty much the most adorable thing ever. The attendant had a blast with us doing trivia with the adults about the parks. It was like a private meet and greet!
There were also some special moments like Amy’s daughters being chosen to ride the teacups with Alice and the White Rabbit. And, Knicole32847 told us that when she’ll never forget when she was dressed as Shuri from The Black Panther at the Magic Kingdom. Mickey came by in Character Cavalcade and gave her the Wakanda salute! There were many awesome character stories, but we’ll wrap up by sharing a fantastic memory from Melissa.
Boba Fett is my son’s FAVORITE character. We walked into the Star Wars Launch Bay and they told us Boba Fett was in the Cantina but not for long. We headed there and Boba chooses you if he wants to take a pic with you. A crowd stood there in ominous silence as he walked around. He chose Hayden. I cried.
These sweet moments are made by Cast Members and sometimes random happenstance. Our favorite memories were when guests acted with kindness and generosity towards each other. We heard a lot about other guests giving our readers their extra FastPasses, giving up their VIP seating at the Candlelight Processional, or gifting an ENTIRE three-course meal to a couple at California Grill. (We’re so jealous, Kathryn!) We gotta say, the guest-to-guest compassion is what we loved the most about your stories! You can really make a person’s vacation so much brighter if you act with kindness. We think these stories of thoughtfulness, humor, and a touch of Disney magic are a great way to head into 2021.
And, of course, we want to hear from YOU! Tell us about your favorite moments from Disney World in the comments below!