Rites of Passage at Walt Disney World


In all aspects of life, there are certain milestones, or rites of passage. Being a fan and frequent visitor of Walt Disney World is no different.

These are things that all (or most) longtime fans have done at least once. These aren’t necessarily things that you would have to do on each pilgrimage to the motherland, but these are things that you haven’t earned your “fan card” until you have done.

Not everyone’s list is going to be the same, but it is a fair bet that a good number of the ones below are on a majority of people’s lists.

Attractions

There are some rides and attractions at the parks that are so iconic that you really can’t call yourself a fan until you have ridden them. Some for the history, others for the technology, some others, just because.

At the top of the list are the epitome of Disney rides, the holy trinity of Disney attractions. In no particular order: Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Two of these were opening day attractions, with the third added shortly after opening due to popular demand. For me, it isn’t isn’t a trip to the Magic Kingdom unless I have been on all three rides.

Other rites (or rides) of passage include Dumbo and the three mountains.

Snacks

I’ll start with the obvious, can you really say you went to Walt Disney World if you don’t eat something Mickey shaped? Be it ice cream (either bar or my preference, the sandwich), pretzel or waffle.

Mickey Donut no longer available from Cheshire Cafe.

Other honorable mentions go to the Dole Whip, turkey legs, and popcorn (preferably out of a refillable bucket).

Miscellaneous

Ride the Monorail Likely, this is one of the first things that many visitors will do. Before you do, you will be reminded to “Por favor, mantengase alejado de las puertas.”

Monorail Black
The monorail gliding past the Polynesian Resort.

Stay on property What says “Disney vacation” more than staying on property? I know going to Disney isn’t cheap and many families can’t afford to spend a week in the Grand Floridian or have an theme park view from the Contemporary, but letting yourself get immersed in the “Disney Bubble” can make it a trip you and your family will never forget. Let our friends at Dreams Unlimited Travel show you how you can do it.

Start a collection Every Disney fan has a collection of something. It could be pins, spirit jerseys, ears, coffee mugs, popcorn buckets, dated merchandise, or any number of things.

Pose in front of an Icon This could be Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, or the Tree of Life. Everyone who has been to the parks has at least one picture posing in one of these iconic locations.

An obligatory photo in front of a park icon

Watch a parade or fireworks show. Of course, this one may or may not ever be a thing again, but we can always hope.

Saving the best for last. Of course the most important rite of passage for a Disney fan has to be meeting Mickey Mouse. It could be in his formal attire “backstage” at the Town Square Theater, or in his safari get-up at the Adventurers Outpost or as a sorcerer at Red Carpet Dreams. Or it could be in any of his other outfits at any of the character dining experiences. Given the state of the World today, this could be different going forward.

As the parks evolve and grow, there are new things that may soon earn their places on this list. Things like constructing your own lightsaber or droid, or take a flight on the Skyliner.

My new Lightsaber
A lightsaber built in Savi’s workshop.

Did I miss any? What are things that have to be done before you can call yourself a true Disney Parks fan?


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