23 September 2009

You win one scent

A couple of weeks ago the Gazette launched its Roundtable segment by touching on the emotions tied to our favorite attractions in the Magic Kingdom. When it comes to emotions and memories the sense of smell can have some of the most profound effects on us, and that is exactly what we are going to sniff around today.

As always, let me know if you would like to take part in an upcoming discussion, or have a question that you are dying to have some fellow Disney enthusiasts answer. In fact, this week we have a new addition to the panel and already have some questions submitted by readers and panelists!
Roundtable Topic: What smell do you think of when you remember Walt Disney World?
Roundtable Guests: Elizabeth Caran (Take the Monorail), Fiona Doyle (DF’82), Tony Caggiano (The W.E.D. Page), Greg Grimsley (The Disney Obsession), Eric Hoffman (Netmongrel), Chris Fore (Yet Another Disney Blog), and myself.
Fiona – The smell that most reminds me of Walt Disney World is one of two things. The first is the smell of Main Street - that sweet, cooking, popcorn-type smell as you walk down. The smell is so sweet, that whenever I smell it anywhere, it instantly reminds me of when I reach the World and I know that I'm standing, looking towards Cinderella Castle. It's such a sickeningly sweet smell (in a nice way!) that I rarely smell it out of Main Street U.S.A., but when I do, I am transported to the Park and I usually hear some of the Main Street Music in my head!

Another smell that ties with Main Street U.S.A. is the smell of the water in Pirates of the Caribbean. It's a hard-to-describe smell, but the water and the boats (and the canons, and the atmosphere) gives off such a distinct smell, that it definitely reminds me of the ride. If it were anywhere other than Disney, it possibly wouldn't be a 'favourite' smell, but because it is tied to that attraction (and the Magic Kingdom), it always makes me smile!

Chris – For me, it's got to be the smellitized "Rome is burning" from Spaceship Earth. EPCOT Center, and especially Future World, spoke to me on a fundamental level back when it opened. The "smellitizer" technology was originally introduced at EPCOT Center, and Spaceship Earth was the first attraction we rode on our first visit. I was so excited to be surrounded by the sights, sounds, and especially smells in that show scene scene that to this day it is that redolent fragrance which takes me back to those early teenage years and a Future World that confirmed my belief in a great big, beautiful tomorrow.

Greg – I am perhaps one of the older members of this virtual roundtable, and with that may come more of a sense of nostalgia. Perhaps. So when it comes to discussing favorites, often times I will return to a first experience of something. I sometimes wonder if this is a proper or correct way of looking at things, wondering if it narrows my perceptions or appreciation of other things. I think not! I do enjoy the smell of pine and orange while on Soarin’. I was reminded of the smell of apple pie during a recent visit with my grandchildren to Mickey’s PhilharMagic. They were delighted and so was I. And popcorn or baked goods on Main Street U.S.A. are what they are.

Yet, for me, this favorite comes from my first ascension into Spaceship Earth. The smell comes with the lines, “But those same roads were turned against Rome by invaders whose destruction left ages of knowledge and wisdom in the ashes that would become the Dark Ages.” Are you with me here? The smell of Rome burning!

It is the first really remembered aroma that I have from any Disney experience and it became, not only a lasting memory, but it was for me, a Wow moment! It was another one of the times in life and in my Disney experience when I could only interpret what had just happened as, well, as magic.

Eric – Out of the myriad of smells you run across at WDW one that came to mind was the odor found in the queue of Splash Mountain. There is a portion of the queue, right near the staircase down to the load area, which has a subtle and memorable smell.

As you move down towards that staircase the heavily air conditioned queue air meets the outside air. That mixes with the odor of the water in the attraction itself. It isn’t exactly a musty smell but it is distinctive. Perhaps owing to the load area being exposed to the outside air it is a different smell than you encounter in other water-based rides in WDW such as Pirates or Small World.

Elizabeth – Okay, can I give you two? No? Well, too bad. You're getting two. Tied for favorite smell that brings back WDW memories are (drum roll, please) oranges and H2O Brand Shampoo. Not combined, of course, but that wouldn't be bad either, probably. The oranges are, of course, from my favorite ride -- Soarin'. Every time I smell an orange, I am transported to my hang-glider, sailing over the orange fields of California. If you ride the attraction with me, you will notice that I always take a DEEP breath when the oranges kick in. The second smell is one I've been able to bring home with me. If I open a bottle of H2O Shampoo (that I PURCHASED in the resort GIFT SHOP, of course! Not that I'd steal shampoo from my room or anything... ) I am able to think of nothing else but Disney World. It's the perfect start to a day at home midway between trips, just to make me feel like Disney isn't so far away.

Tony – The smell that reminds me most of Walt Disney World has changed a bit over the years.

As I begin to write this, I am sure that I will live to regret it. I will, undoubtedly, be marked as an even bigger freak than that which I am already viewed as, by those who know me.

As a die-hard WDW Resort visitor, I remember the days of "Cashmire Bouquet", which was the brand of soap that they used at the resorts for, what I believe, was over 20 years.

I remember that smell as if it were yesterday...taking me right back to the resorts I loved. As a kid, I remeber my excitement when my Mom discovered this brand for sale at the local Supermarket and first brought this little "scent" of the World home for us to enjoy.

On a less, BIZARRE, note...the current smell from Walt Disney World that brings me back has to be the smell of Main Street USA.

A wonderful mixture of hot buttered popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, Casey's hotdogs and HOT BUTTERED POPCORN (did I mention the popcorn?) Every time I step out from under the railroad station and catch a whiff of it...I know I am home!!!

While I realize that it may not be a smell easily found outside of the park, it is, none the less, my absolute favorite smell in all of The World.

Ryan – I spent a lot of my youth at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center, and I have fond memories of the oranges (excuse me, loranges) from Horizons, the smell of Rome burning (which I still believe smells like grilled hot dogs) in Spaceship Earth, and the smell of roasting meats in Frontierland, but none of these are the smell that most often pulls me back to those early years at Walt Disney World. For me, the scent of the Meadow Trading Post is the one that keeps calling to me.

If the smell of the hewn logs and the frontier is this sweet yet spicy concoction, then I was born in the wrong time and place. However, since I will never live in the original time of Davy Crockett and the Old West, then this is what my frontier, and childhood, will always smell like. In fact, if I shut my eyes tightly that scent may just carry me back there right now.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I have to go with Fiona and others who mentioned ... Popcorn! As you come through the tunnel (for some reason we ALWAYS go through the tunnel on the left) the first smell you seem to get when you are greeted with the wonderful vista of Main Street USA is from the popcorn cart stationed right there. I don't always associate the smell of popcorn with WDW, but when I think about the smell of WDW, that's the first thing that comes to mind...