Top Ten Disney Vacation Traditions

Does your family have special traditions when it comes to vacations?  We have a few things that we do every single time we go to Walt Disney World. I’d love to share them with you.

1.  Disney Count Down – Every time we book a Disney vacation, we run out to buy a poster board and a variety of Disney stickers.  Then, we draw a calendar on the poster, starting with that day and ending with the day we leave for our trip.   We decorate it with stickers and hang it up in an obvious place so that we can count down the days to our trip!  It’s our most favorite tradition!!

2.    Disney Eve – Ah!  Is there anything more EXCITING than Disney Eve?  Since we are leaving the next day, we have cleaned out the fridge and the house is clean and ready for abandonment, so we head out to dinner.  Usually we go to Bob Evans, since it’s right near our house and something about it just makes us feel like vacation is starting, isn’t that weird?  Anyways, we eat dinner and talk about what we can’t wait to do and what we are going to do as soon as we get there, its ALWAYS so fun!  Then, we go home and watch a Disney movie.  Last time we watched Tangled.  Maybe the time before that too.  I really love Tangled. 😉

3.    Limo to the Airport – It’s tough to fork out the few extra bucks for this one, especially since we’ve already spent a lot on the trip, but we really enjoy this tradition.  It’s nice to have someone drive you to the airport so you don’t have to worry about parking and getting to the gate on time and all that hassle.  Plus, on the way home when we are depressed about having left Disney, this is a fun little bonus to end our trip.  We usually use the same company and it’s not too expensive, so we always make room in the budget for it.  Sometimes we pay for it with all of our saved change!  Oh and we always surprise Ashley with this…we tell her that we aren’t doing it or we don’t have the money or something, and then poof!  Our limo arrives!

4.  Our favorite Disney snacks – Each trip, we have to make sure we all indulge in all our favorite Disney delights!!  Popcorn?  Check!  Disney pretzel?  Check!  Mickey ice cream?  Check!!  DOLE WHIP?  Check!  I could go on.  We do a far amount of eating on our trips, but we also do our fair amount of walking too, so we don’t let ourselves feel bad, not one bit!  What is your favorite Disney snack?

5.   Special Day – We started this tradition last trip and it worked out to be really fun.  Since we were going for 8 days, we decided that each member of our family got to “plan” a special day.  That person, on their designated day, got to choose which parks to go to, where to eat lunch and dinner, and which rides to enjoy.  It really made the trip extra special.  Some of it we had to plan in advance, like our dining reservations, and other choices were made on the fly.  We made it silly too, like which way did that person want to walk and which mode of transportation and were we, the un-special, allowed to have a certain snack?  It was like being King or Queen for the day. 🙂  Our family had a great time with it!

6.  Tee shirt and picture – I have to have this, every trip!!!  I have to have a picture, with my family, in a certain type of matching tee shirt, posing in all sorts of great places in the World.  We all take a few days to look at all the shirts in the gift shops, and then we all decide on one together, one we can all stand wearing.  My absolute favorite was our last family trip with the Eat, Sleep, Disney shirts.  Love it!

7.  Ride the Monorail to Magic Kingdom resorts – At some point in our trip we make time to ride the monorail to the Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian.  It may be the first night we get there, or a night we have a reservation at one of those resorts for dinner.  We enjoy riding the monorail around and popping into each resort to walk around and just be awed by Disney’s decor.  We love the gift shops at the Contemporary, we enjoy walking the grounds at the Poly, and the Grand Floridian makes us feel rich even if we don’t ever stay there.  Sometimes we’ll get a snack or a drink and just enjoy being together, sometimes we just do a walk through, but this is a tradition that brings out the Disney for some reason!

8.  Afternoon breaks – Anyone who has read my articles before knows I am a HUGE fan of afternoon breaks.  It’s another one of our oldest traditions.  We get up bright and early and hit the parks before they open, ride and have fun all morning and then head back to our resort to rest and relax.  There’s nothing better than sitting poolside, during the hottest part of a Florida day, with a fun drink in our hands, gearing up for a fun night back in the parks.  This may be my favorite of all traditions!  It keeps us feeling rested, it keeps our feet from remembering how much we’ve walked, and it keeps my family sane.  You do NOT want to see my family after a FULL day in the park with no break.  It’s not pretty. 😉 Disney Resorts have such amazing pools too, we never feel like we are missing fun some where else!!

9.  Parent night out – This is also a fairly new tradition.  This tradition will also be hard to keep up with when we have younger children, but oh well.  We set aside at least one night on our trips, where we tell Ash to watch whatever she wants, eat tons of junk and snacks, lock the room door, get on her phone to call her friends, and let us adults go have a good time.  We find a bar and sit and have some drinks.  We may go out to the pool or hot tub at our resort.  But we get away together and have some alone time, talking about how much fun we are having!  It always nice to get a break from the kiddos too, so this is another tradition that helps keeps our sanity!  When we have more kids, we may still try it as long as Ash is comfortable watching them.  Or maybe my parents will have to tag along on those trips too. 😉

10.  Fireworks – It seems like an obvious tradition, and I am sure a lot of you have this one too.  We make sure we catch at least one fireworks show at MK, and one Illuminations at EPCOT per trip.  We stake out a good spot, fighting the crowds, and sit and let ourselves be awed and delighted by Disney’s masterful fireworks shows.   It’s always one of those perfect “Disney family” moments where we have nothing but love for each other and the feeling of being blessed to be a part of the Disney magic.  For Illuminations, we try to book dinner somewhere we can watch, usually Rose & Crown (LOVE IT!) Then, after we catch at least one show, on all the other nights we use the show time to taken advantage of the short lines to ride some attractions.

There you have it.  Those are our Top Ten Disney Traditions.  I’m sure I could think of 10 more!  What Disney traditions do you have?

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Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!

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