This has been done before. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably made this list before. Heck, even I’ve made this list before (or started it, anyway), in the comments of Tom Bricker’s column on the same subject.
This is The List. Your Disney life list. Your personal running scavenger hunt of Disney experiences. The “Disney Bucket List”, if you will, although I’m not calling it that because I hope I complete my list much sooner than I do my life. Most of what I’d like to accomplish is fairly attainable. It doesn’t include things that are left only to chance and famous millionaires like staying in the Cinderella Castle Suite. My list is filled entirely with things that I can personally make happen, so it really shouldn’t take me all that long. That said, it’s easy to sink in to the same old habits, travel annually at the same time of year, and see and do your favorite things over and over rather than trying new experiences.
I’m putting it all out here because if I publish it, I have to do it, right?
As I said, most of the list is pretty attainable. In fact, much of it will happen in Walt Disney World on our upcoming wedding and honeymoon vacation this November. Some other things may take us a few years to see through. I’ll start with the small stuff that we’ll be crossing off in 2013.
• Get Married at Walt Disney World
Obviously we’ll be crossing this one off the list, with the help of the Swan hotel and Just Events! There will be posts here soon detailing our (mis)adventures as we navigate planning a destination wedding at Walt Disney World. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and we’re very excited about hosting such a special event for those nearest to us.
• Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
We usually visit Walt Disney World in late October or early November This year, however, we’re taking a longer vacation for our honeymoon. Since our stay will extend in to mid-November, we’re finally able to attend this special, hard-ticketed event inside the Magic Kingdom. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the party, but I’ll never be satisfied until I see it for myself.
• Complete a runDisney Event
Having just completed my first local race, and with a couple more scheduled for this year, I’m very excited to sign up for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k in Animal Kingdom this year. I’ve been working on improving my pace so that I can be sure to take breaks for character photos, and I’m so excited for the race that I’m already trying to plan my outfit! Now, how to combine Christmas and animal prints in a comfortable activewear ensemble?
• Dine at Victoria and Albert’s
We just made our reservation for this Michelin-rated restaurant this week! We’ll be capping off our honeymoon with Disney’s finest dining experience, and we couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip. I’ve never seen a bad review for V&A, and we think that as a couple of theme park “foodies”, it’s high time we cross this must-do off our list.
The rest of this list are things that won’t be happening right away, but that I hope we can do in the next few years. Some I think we can tackle pretty quickly, but others will take more time, planning and patience. For instance, we have to wait for Shanghai Disneyland to open.
• Attend a Party for the Senses
As much as I had hoped this one would be in the cards for our honeymoon, it’s not. There are only so many hard-ticketed parties we can attend in one vacation. Instead of the Party for the Senses, we’ll be there for the Finish Line Party that happens after the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Maybe next year!
• Run the Princess Half Marathon
The Jingle Jungle 5k is only a warm-up for me. I have my eye on the prize, and for me that’s the Princess Half Marathon. I look forward to experiencing the camaraderie, athleticism, and femininity of running in a tutu and tiara with such a large group of women. Running 13.1 miles is well out of my physical abilities right now, but training for and ultimately completing this race will be a great triumph for me.
• Tour the Lasseter Family Winery
This one is not strictly Disney, but I think it deserves a spot on the list anyway. On our last visit to the Sonoma Valley, we had the opportunity to chat with a friend of John Lasseter, who told us some stories of the man, the making of Cars, and even drove us by the Lasseter vineyard. All this did was whet our appetites for a tour of the winery itself. It was undergoing renovations during our visit, but I hope that we’ll be able to see (and taste!) up close on our next trip to wine country.
• Skip the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival … and go to Disneyland instead.
This one is really tough! We missed the Festival in 2009, and pined for it while it was going on. We said then that we didn’t want to EVER miss the Food & Wine Festival again. But the Festival happens in autumn, and we really want to see Disneyland during its special Halloween events. Since we don’t usually visit both parks on back-to-back trips, this will mean that if we ever want to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday, we’ll have to forgo our favorite time of year in the Most Magical Place on Earth.
• Stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
We’ve stayed at many of our favorite Disney resorts, and are crossing another one off the list this year in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. One that keeps eluding us is the Grand Californian. More economical options in Anaheim that are still well within walking distance keep tempting us away, but it’s still my goal to stay at this Arts & Crafts Era-styled gem one day, and with any luck, it will be in a room with a spectacular view of Disney California Adventure Park or Downtown Disney.
• Join the Disney Vacation Club
Purchasing a DVC contract is something that we’ve been mulling over for a while. At first, we thought that we might tire of visiting so often, and that it wouldn’t be a good use to us a few years down the line. Now, a few years have passed and we know that our vacationing habits aren’t likely to change any time soon. Buying a small contract on the resale market wouldn’t be much of a stretch for us. If the unthinkable happens and we do begin to take less frequent Disney vacations, we can always sell it the same way.
• Tour the Ghibli Museum
This is another item that may be stretching the Disney theme, despite Walt Disney Pictures being the USA distributor for Ghibli films. Nevertheless, there is no denying the brilliance and masterful artistry of Hayao Miyazaki and his team. We’ve been able to see some pretty amazing collections of film and animation history, but visiting the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo would be a real treat for animation aficionados like us.
• Visit all the Disney Theme Parks Worldwide
I think this one is self-explanatory, and falls last on my list because it will be the one that takes the most time to attain. We’ve visited all of the Disney parks in the USA, and have also been able to see some other interesting Disney-esque sites like the Disney Family Museum. Next comes international travel. I hope we can start soon with a vacation to London and Paris, which would of course mean a convenient side trip to Disneyland Paris. The three parks in Asia will be a bit more difficult to obtain. I know that Tokyo Disney and the Ghibli Museum are only two of many things drawing us to Japan, but it’s not in our immediate travel plans. The parks in Hong Kong and mainland China are even more pie-in-the-sky planning at this point in time. Some day! I guess we’ll have to start our own version of a “Paradise Falls” jar.
What do you think of our goals? We’d love to hear feedback from those that have experienced some of the events we’re striving for. We’re also looking for ideas to keep this list growing. What is on your Disney scavenger list?