Being that it the time of many winter holidays, I thought it would be a fitting end to this year’s edition of the Gazette Roundtable to talk about what we are thankful for, within the realm of Walt Disney World, of course. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts, and what you would like to see over the course of next year’s roundtable.Roundtable Topic: What one thing are you thankful for at Walt Disney World, and why?
Roundtable Guests: Fiona Doyle (
Fiona – There are so many things that I am thankful for at Walt Disney World, it is hard to narrow it down to one. So many attractions, parades, fireworks, experiences all make me thankful for the parks' existence! That being said, I think that, for me, the one 'thing' I am thankful for at Walt Disney World isn't a ride or a tangible place. It is the fact that I can go to Walt Disney World with my entire family.
Going back to one of Walt's quotes on Disneyland, "We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun - together". I think this is the one thing I am thankful for. I have had many holidays at Walt Disney World with my family, that it holds so many memories and enjoyable experiences for us all. It is a place where we can all feel young again, and where we can go on Dumbo without feeling silly, or queue for (what feels like) hours just to fly over London with Peter Pan...no matter how old we are, or who we are with.
It could be said that there are many other 'theme parks' where parents and children can ride together, but no one does it in such a way like Disney. I have been to several 'other' theme parks with my family, and nowhere did we all get to enjoy the same experiences better than Walt Disney World (and the other Disney parks). And it is because of Walt's original idea that I have so many great memories of times with my parents where we all got to experience the same, youthful feeling!
Chris – I'm thankful that the Powers That Be have continued their recent history of refurbishing/refreshing classic attractions at Walt Disney World. Pirates of the Caribbean was an obvious choice, but to follow that up with the Haunted Mansion, Bear Band, Spaceship Earth, and Space Mountain continues to put a smile on my face. The thing that really drives this home for me is that these updates were done in a way that respects the original experience. It's obvious that these projects were done by people who love these attractions as much as the rest of us, and have given us all new chances to "relive fond memories of the past" while also letting us "savor the challenge and promise of the future".
Lori – I am thankful to Walt Disney World for all the friends it has given me. I know that sounds funny but if I didn't have this great love of Disney I wouldn't have met so many wonderful people. Many of my closest friends I've met at either WDW or at Disney events. When you meet someone at a Disney park or event you automatically bond with each other. Some of the friends I've only known for a short amount of time, but yet, I feel like I've known them my whole life. We talk every day whether it's on Facebook, email, text message or the phone. I think I talk to my Disney friends more than my friends that I've known for 20 years.
There is just something about WDW that brings people closer together. We tend to extend a helping hand out to one another even though we've only known them for a short amount of time. And some people you only see once a year or less but when you do see them again it's like you just saw them yesterday. So during this holiday season I just want to tell all my "Disney" friends, thank you! Thank you for making my life more than special than it ever was before. I love you guys!!
Tony – The thing that I am most thankful for at Walt Disney World during the holidays would have to be the atmosphere.
I am sure that many will call this a "cop out", because I suppose that I am not actually choosing any single "item", but there is no other way to describe what I love so much about this season.
Decorations abound, the air is filled with the music of the holidays and cast members (while always friendly and courtious) are exceedingly so during the holidays, even under the added stress of crowds and extended working hours.
In my opinion, there is no better time to be in The World.
Spending the hoildays in Walt DIsney World with my family has always been, and will always be, a very special experience.
I find that during this time of year we spend far less time riding attractions and more time enjoying each other's company in the festive surroundings.
One of our favorite activities this time of year is "Resort Hopping"...and it is something we have taken to a whole new level. While during a typical vacation we will visit many of the resorts, either after a morning at a park or perhaps to grab a meal before an evening of attractions and fireworks, during the holidays we spend entire days strolling the grounds of different resorts.
Many resorts have special hoilday offering which make them a destination unto themselves.
Slowing down, looking around, breathing it all in (especially the smell of Gingerbread)...that is what I am most thankful for this time of year in The World.
Ryan – There are hewn-logs split to make authentic fences, there are fireworks that put tears in my eyes, and there are rides that make my heart flutter no matter how many times I approach them. But the one thing that makes my experiences so magical are the people.
Cast Members work tirelessly, often times for a wage below their potential, at creating special memories for each and every guest that crosses their path. Even correcting a child who has crossed over a wall can be left with a warm feeling, not realizing that they have been corrected. From sweeping the streets and keeping them safe, to feeding and entertaining the masses, the Cast Members are where the memories and magic begins and ends.
However, the Cast Members aren’t the only people who make Walt Disney World so special. There are family and friends that mean more than any Fastpass. As a friend of my has said, and I am fond of quoting, it is never a ride or fireworks show that I remember the most, often times it is sitting down to a good meal with wonderful friends. The company you keep, and the friends you make, in Walt Disney World makes all the difference.
I hope each and every one of you find something special, both in and outside of Walt Disney World, to celebrate this season!