Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Disney Bucket List

A few years ago, I was planning for one of my annual trips to WDW, and realized that I'd gotten pretty stuck in my Disney-touring ways. It'd been a long time since I'd taking the opportunity to truly experience something new. So, before the term "bucket list" become part of the common vernacular, I made just that: my Disney bucket list.
Because my budget doesn't allow me to live at any of the Disney parks, I have to space my visits out, planning carefully what I'm going to do each time. Below is my Disney bucket list, something I think carefully about as I start planning each trip.

Thanks to Tom Bricker for giving me the idea to lay this out in order of attainability (and for giving me some ideas to add to this list)!!

Note: I'm including several things that were on the original list, even though I've since completed them.

Easily Attainable:

Four parks in one day - I've done two parks in a day. You know, hit DHS during EMH for ToT and RnRC, jump over to Animal Kingdom for the rest of the day. Hit a park for the biggies, then spend the rest of the day someplace else. But until recently, I never thought to actually try and hit every park in one day. I find the thought very entertaining. I can see this happen in the next year (or so).

Attend Magic Kingdom Opening Show - The MK has an amazing opening show each morning, but I'm notorious for visiting during low attendance times, and taking advantage of that to get some extra sleep. All I need to do is get up a little earlier, and get to the park 30 minutes early. I took my mom to MK in November 2011, and we made a point to be there for the opening show. It was magical, and from here on out, I will never miss that show!

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon - as much as I love the water, I'm not big about water parks. I'm a certified open water diver and an avid swimmer, so give me a pool or beach, and I'm perfectly content. But something tells me that a water park at Disney is a whole different ballgame. Over Labor Day weekend 2016, a friend and I escaped the rigors of university campus life (where I am a staff member and she was a PhD student just finishing her prelims) for a weekend at WDW. As both of us are water babies at heart, it didn't take much to convince her that we needed to spend a day at a water park. Typhoon Lagoon might have one of my favorite lazy rivers - ever!

Attend Braves Spring Training game at Champion Stadium - I've been a diehard Braves fan since shortly after birth. Growing up just outside of Atlanta, I went to several games every year. The Braves AT DISNEY?!!? Yes. Yes, please! On our annual spring trip in 2008, my mom and I saw the Braves take on the Tigers during the opening week of spring training. I hope, soon, to make this an annual part of the trip.

Attend Old Spice Classic at WWOS - the only sporting obsession that rivals that of my Braves obsession is my obsession with college basketball (specifically, the Indiana Hoosiers, but I'll watch it all). The tournament was first held in 2006, a mere year after my father's death, and neither my younger brother nor I were emotionally ready to begin attending basketball games (let alone days-long tourneys) without the man who was responsible for our love of the game. But one day.... Thanksgiving weekend 2011, my younger brother and I sat in on every single game of the tournament. I think we were about the only ones there that attended every game. While I don't see this becoming an annual thing (we skipped our family's annual camping trip to attend this tourney), we both have interest in occasional attendance.

Fantasia Gardens mini-golf - as a child, it seemed like a vacation wasn't a vacation if my family didn't play some mini-golf. And while this continued well into adulthood, somehow we never played at Disney.

Participate in a runDisney event - I almost put this in my next group, but the truth is, the only thing that makes this less-than-easily attainable is my own attitude and determination. At my current weight, I know that I need to do something to get in shape, before my health begins to take a downhill turn. And truthfully, I hate running. I was on my high school track team for two years, and spent practices inventing ways to avoid the running (ok, I threw discus, so it wasn't like I had to run to compete). But there's something intriguing about running at Disney. I ran the Frozen 5K during Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2015. Not only was it my first runDisney event, I spent the week with my lifelong best friend and his family - our first vacation together, and the first time I'd seen him in over 10 years (thanks to a career in the Air Force, and more years than he wants to remember stationed in North Dakota).

Drinking around the World - a beer (or mixed drink) at every country in World Showcase? Yes, please, where do I sign up?

Epcot's DiveQuest - as a certified scuba diver, diving at a Disney facility (especially my favorite pavilion at Epcot) is a no-brainer.

Monorail Pub Crawl - it's exactly what it sounds like: a pub crawl by Monorail, with stops at each resort on the line. Stopping at Magic Kingdom along the way is optional (but highly encouraged).

Moderately Difficult to Attain (truth: most of these are modestly difficult only due to the availability of finances to support them):

Disneyland/Disney California Adventure - to be fair, I've been to Disneyland. It was a belated graduation gift in 1997, the year after I graduated high school. I remember very little about that visit, other than visiting on the hottest day of the year, and what turned out to be one of the hottest days they'd had over several previous years. As for DCA, I don't think they'd even broken ground at that point.

Stay on property at Disneyland Resort - you'd think that if I were to make the long trip to the other side of the country to visit Disneyland, I'd be sure to stay in one of the on-property hotels, but I grew up in a household that always went for the cheapest rooming options available (Motel 6 by Angels stadium in 1997). This one will taking planning.

Disney Cruise Line - it's hard to justify a trip on the DCL when I can take a longer trip for less money on my old standby, Royal Caribbean. But the Aqua Duck (and the Aqua Dunk) looks like so much fun!!!

Stay in all Value Resorts at WDW - I've stayed at Fort Wilderness, the All-Star Music Resort, and Pop Century. It's a start. (Update: As of 2017, I've added All-Star Sports and All-Star Movies to this list. The only remaining resort to check out is Art of Animation)

Attend all character meals at WDW - I've attended the breakfast aboard the Empress Lilly several times. What? There's no Empress Lilly? Sure there is! Only, now it's called Fulton's Crab Shack, and they no longer offer character meals. (Since originally writing this, I've gone to Chef Mickey's for dinner, Hollywood & Vine for breakfast, and Crystal Palace for dinner.)

Take 10 Disney Tours - as in, Disney's Keys to the Kingdom, Behind the Seeds, The UnDISCOVERed Future World, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, etc. (As of 2015, I've done Behind the Seeds)

Visit all 4 WDW parks in one trip - no, not in one day. I want to spend one full day at each park, in the course of one vacation. I've done three parks in one trip, by park-hopping, but never more than two parks when focusing an entire day on each one. (Since posting, I've done 3 parks in one trip - see upcoming Sep 2013 trip report)

Take a family on their First Visit - I've always wanted to take a child to a Disney resort, and see their face as they experience the magic and pixie dust for the first time. But lately, I've had the urge to take a family. I've been visiting WDW since 1979. I can't imagine being an adult, and truly not knowing about the magic of Disney. Now, to find a family... (FYI, stay tuned. Something might be in the works) In September 2013, I took my cousins and their two boys (yes, my Bug and the Peanut) to WDW for the first time. Stay tuned for a detailed trip report.

Very Difficult to Attain:

Disney Vacation Club membership - this appeals to me on so many levels, but it doesn't seem cost-effective. A) I have plenty of free places to stay when I visit WDW (I'm originally from FL, with lots of family still down in the Orlando and Tampa areas), and B) as I'm single, with no kids, I'm looking at prices v. perks for one person. I just can't make it compute in my favor, not with my current salary and budget.

Stay in all Moderate Resorts at WDW - there are several resorts that I plan on staying in over the next couple of years, but as the price level increases, the likelihood of staying there decreases. I'm a State employee, people.

WDW and Disneyland in one day - oh, this would be so much fun! And if I actually lived in/near Orlando or Anaheim, I can see this as substantially easier to do. But since I live on the northern GA/SC line, well, not so easy.

Work as a Cast Member (again) - my plan, my entire life, was always to finish school, get a good job, save money, and one day move back to FL and go back and work for the Mouse (I was once a Disney Store Cast Member). But in recent years, my cousins have provided me with the love of my life in the form of a Bug, and I find myself making plans to move closer to him (which, sadly, is further AWAY from FL). I'll have to revisit this plan once Bug is in his 20s.

Unattainable (given the cost of each of these, I don't think any explanation is needed as to why I've listed them as unattainable):

Stay in all Deluxe Resorts at WDW

Visit Disneyland Resort Paris

Visit Tokyo Disney Resort

Visit Hong Kong Disneyland

Visit Shanghai Disney

Be part of the Opening Family at the MK Opening Show - this is listed as unattainable for two reasons: 1) I'm not likely to get chosen if I don't have children with me, and I tend to travel alone or with adults, and 2) being chosen is entirely up to the whim of a CM. No amount of money or flirtation can get one family chosen over another. I just have to hope that, if I ever go down with kids, we get there early enough and talk to the right CM. As there is no longer an MK opening show of this type, this will remain unattainable...forever.