6 Ways to Survive Your Last Day of a Walt Disney World Vacation

The dread begins sometime around Day 3. “Halfway” is approaching. The train is cresting the mountain. Sharp rocks lie at the bottom. And then you are barreling towards it, unable to apply the brakes.

Soon it will all be over except the screaming and the credit card bills. Not necessarily in that order.

The very last day of a Walt Disney World Vacation is always the worst. Your fate is inescapable. Depression sets in. By this time tomorrow, you will be back at work.

Just chew on that for a moment. Those gray cubicle walls. Those droning bosses. Those unhappy, inarticulate morons you work with who have no appreciation for your ability to pick the shortest bag check line. The clock resets on your life and you are back to square zero.

This is your life. It didn’t go anywhere while you were on vacation. It just hid under the bed until you wandered back into the house, tan and overstuffed from the free dining promotion.

Then it popped out at you like an 80s slasher movie to remind you that the lawn is overgrown, the cat threw up all over the carpet, and somebody left the milk out all week.

I hate that day.

"Yes, I know about the selfie-stick policy. But this sticks other people."

“Yes, I know about the selfie-stick policy. But this is for sticking other people.”

For my wife, it is different. The woman begins every vacation with a total meltdown of logic that will not subside until we are safely inside the hotel room, with the 21-point room inspection completed and all bags unpacked.

In the hours leading up to leaving the house, she is not only afraid that we will miss our flight, she is actually convinced that they are already boarding the plane. This in spite of the fact that we have never missed a flight in nearly 20 years of marriage. Since we have not left the house the requisite 15 hours in advance, that flight is gone, baby.

And whose fault is it? Mine, because I did not think to charge the kindle before going to bed.

And we still need to write a note to the pet sitter and the car is out of gas and oh no we did not check-in for the Southwest seat assignments at precisely 10:22 pm and the whole world will come to an end!

As I write this from my new permanent home that is called the couch, let me also admit that once we get there, she’s fine. She settles into vacation mode no problem. I’m the one who feels stress on the last day of vacation.

So as the victim of too many of these horrible End Times, let me offer you some ways in which to cope.

Ride the Train a lot

I go hard at the parks when I am on vacation. Open to close, every day. Early entry, extra magic—I am bringing the heat. I will see every freaking ride and show on property.

And I will do it efficiently, mind you.

By the last day of vacation, I can barely walk. I totter around like Mr. Glass in Unbreakable. The thought of standing in line for Splash Mountain is enough to shatter my bones.

This is the perfect time to plunk yourself down on the Walt Disney World Railroad and ride that mother three or four times full-circle.

Mr. Glass from Unbreakable

Did someone say something about trains? Because I have an idea…

I’m a self-respecting park maniac. I am not going to waste my last day at the hotel pool or shopping at Downtown Disney. No, I’m going to sit my butt down and not move while increasing my ride count.

They let you stay on, guys. You don’t have to get off.

Watch the Clock

During the week, I can’t help but keep count.

“Only 5 days left.”

“Wednesday, still not halfway.”

“Three more full-service meal vouchers with dessert and I never want to see a cheesecake again.”

But on the very last day, you can trick yourself again by switching to hours.

“It’s only 10am. I still have another 14 hours before I have to go home.”

“Lunchtime. I still have a whole ‘nuther cheescake left.“

“Parks are closed, but I can still watch the Tip of the Day on the resort channel one more time.”

Everywhere I look, there are crazy bearded homeless Cast Members standing with signboards that say “The End is Near” but I don’t have to believe them. Denial is a viable coping mechanism. Embrace it.

Pack the Bags

This may not seem therapeutic, but it is a critical step in survival. It is the reality gut-punch to get you up and moving when you’d just rather lie down on the spongy water play area and bleed to death.

It is also an exercise in space-bending physics, because somehow—impossibly so—the laws of the universe have multiplied your belongings such that the same clothes you brought down on vacation no longer fit in the exact same geometric volume.

Wrinkled, wadded up socks and underwear should theoretically fit better into the suitcase’s negative space, but instead, the stupid thing won’t zip up and the front flap has an unnatural lump the size of George Lucas’s neck.

You are also forced to examine your own character flaws, because there was no way you should have bought both the ceramic Figment mug and the spinny light-up Mike Wazowski. Also does the R2-D2 popcorn bucket count as a carry-on?

And do you really need to take home every little Downtown Disney brochure and Hollywood Studios Times Guide that you’ve somehow managed to keep in pristine condition as a memento of this blessed family trip? The amount of useless crap that is accumulated during the average Walt Disney World vacation could complete another landfill for Tokyo’s third gate:

  • Splotchy paper tickets to blizzard beach.
  • Assorted plastic Disney shopping bags because won’t the niece back home love them?
  • That map of the resort that you looked at once and remarked “Hey, here’s the jogging trail I plan to use this week” and then promptly shoved aside to make room for the pizza box.

Yet somehow you will make it all work. You will borrow a bulldozer from Avatarland, just so that you can pull the suitcase zipper closed while little Johnny stands on top. And you will utter several prayers that the TSA people at the airport will not attempt to visually inspect the contents of your bag.

In the end you will feel satisfied that at least this little task is out of the way and now you can go enjoy the resort pool one last time.

But wait, where did I put the swimsuits?… oh crap.

Buy a New Outfit

If you are like me, finding a clean outfit for that last day of vacation is like finding a same-day FastPass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There is a mathematical law, which states that the Sum of All T-Shirts Needed for a Walt Disney World Vacation is Equal to the Total of All Shirts Packed Minus One.

My wife constantly mocks me for this. She knows that by the end of the week, I have fewer shirts than Hulk Hogan at a Steroid Convention. Every time we go on vacation, she reminds me to pack more shirts.

Welcome aboard the Hulkaminjaro Safari, brutha!

Welcome aboard the Hulkaminjaro Safari, brutha!

But what she does not understand is that if I pack 7 shirts, I will need 8. If I pack 8, the vacation will simply require 9. I could pack 43 shirts for a week at Walt Disney World, and come Friday, there I’d be, wondering how the heck I managed to melt 43 Mickey bars on myself.

This means that I am good for a last-minute impulse t-shirt purchase. I always have grand visions of finding that cool, park-specific t-shirt that I will wear proudly to work, church, and other places of high fashion.

It is not until I get home that I remember that Disney t-shirts are the rare clothing exception that will balloon to the size of Dreamfinder’s blimp in the dryer, and that when I’m back in the normal world, I will be too embarrassed to wear a bright red shirt of a Carnotaurus chasing a cartoon mouse.

Look forward to Pets

If you are fortunate enough to have pets, you can feel good about yourself on the last day of vacation by imagining how benevolent you will appear when you walk through the door of your home and restore peace and order to your poor animal subjects.

Like a king bestowing gifts upon his fawning peasants, you will parade through your house, kindly scratching an ear here, topping off a water dish there. And oh! Imagine the look of delight on their toothy drooling faces when you deign to kneel beside them and rub their belly.

These sniveling, groveling mendicants will swoon at your very presence and make you feel very amazing indeed.

I waited faithfully for you, my master. Come see what I did on the bathroom floor.

I waited faithfully for you, my master. Come see what I did on the bathroom floor.

Yeah, sorry, I moved on.

Yeah, sorry, I’ve moved on.

Re-evaluate your Life

More than any other time save New Years Eve, the last day of vacation is perfect for reflecting on what has gone off the rails in your life, and how you can set everything right…

…If you will just commit to a few resolutions.

Not looking forward to going back to work? Time to work on that resumé! You know exactly what skills you will highlight. Flashes of inspiration will come to you. Maybe you should even jot it down… But no, you’ll remember when you get home, plus you don’t have your laptop, so it’s just easier that way.

Maybe it’s time to really start exercising. Being in a bathing suit reminds you that everything is just not as perfect as it could be. You still have that treadmill-slash-clothesline you bought a couple years ago. You can power that up first thing tomorrow, be looking good in time for the next vacation.

For me, as a writer, I get my best story ideas on vacation. Taut thrillers, hilarious comedies, amazing action adventure. These ideas pop fully formed into my head from the awakened corners of my imagination. They practically write themselves.

And I’ll work on them just as soon as I finish this Dole Whip.

 

Four Forgotten Disney Attractions (Which Still Exist)

We all have one. The ride we don’t ride. The ride we avoid. The ride we forget.

You’d think that since I live here, it would be nothing but Soarin’ and Space Mountain all the time, but it’s fairly obvious why I don’t hit those rides much. Wait times.

I always make it a point to see the new stuff at least once (even the Frozen Sing-a-long), but I tend to stick with something that is A) Good and B) Available.

It took me almost two years as a local before I finally checked off every single attraction. The guy who was obsessed with seeing everything when I came on vacation turned into a very discriminate tourist when I actually moved down.

When teams try to complete WDW46, there are a surprising number of occasions where teams are riding a ride for the first time (usually the Main Street Vehicles or Tom Sawyer Island).

It got me to thinking about my frequent ridership, and what are my least-visited attractions in the parks. I wonder how would compare to folks who come on vacation, or other locals. I expect the mileage will vary, but I’m certain these forgotten Disney attractions are on everyone’s lowball list.

Magic Kingdom

Of all the parks, I have probably managed to spread the wealth around the most at Magic Kingdom. I rode Mansion a ton when I first moved down, but Pirates is probably the current winner. It tends to eat lines better than Mansion lately (thanks for nothing, FastPass+). The PeopleMover is also very high on the list.

But there is one attraction I avoid like the plague. It takes a great movie, and then chucks that greatness out the window for a chance to allow kids to tell grade-school jokes via the magic of text.

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.

I have probably seen this a grand total of 3 times in the ten years I have lived here. The jokes are forced, the theming is out of place, and with all the great Monsters Inc. material to choose from, they latched on to a Mike Wazowski burp joke that appears just before the credits.

Whenever I walk through Tomorrowland, this attraction might as well be an empty warehouse for all the attention I give it.

As a footnote, the AstroOrbitor is probably a very close second. I have zero tolerance for the wait time. I’m sure I’ve ridden it five times or less since moving down.

Yes, that means the Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery is higher on the list.

Here is a picture of the Laugh Floor from AstroOrbitor, which is a rare combination of forgottenness

Here is a picture of the Laugh Floor from AstroOrbitor, which is a rare combination of forgottenness

Animal Kingdom

The most frequent ride for me is far and away the Safari, which is odd, since it usually has some of the longer lines in the park. But it was a good FastPass deal (old FastPass), and usually a walk-on in the evenings when we are most likely to visit.

Kali would be on the lower end of the spectrum because wet underwear in a theme park is not fun. But the champ is Primeval Whirl.

This unthemed rattling monstrosity is basically a Grand Inquisition torture machine, but without any of the redeeming qualities that Grand Inquisition torture machines typically have.

Unlike Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, I am always very aware of Primeval Whirl when I’m in the park. Usually it’s because I can’t hear myself think, and also because there is a sense of abject evil emanating from it, the way pea-soup vomit emanates from Linda Blair’s head.

Side note: With it’s limited show times, I have seen Flights of Wonder about the same number of times that I have ridden Primeval Whirl. But Flights of Wonder never crawled out of a sewer and ate my dog, so Primeval Whirl is the winner.

If Dante wrote a sequel to the Inferno, this would be its title.

If Dante wrote a sequel to the Inferno, this would be its title.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Tours is running away with the popularity award. Like the Safari at Animal Kingdom, we always seem to end up on Star Tours during an evening at the Studios.

On the low-end of the spectrum, I am surprisingly light on Toy Story Mania. That killer, killer line is a real turn-off. Somewhere between 5 and 10 times.

But nothing can hold a candle to Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. I’ve seen this a whopping two times in 10 years. The first time was simply to cross it off the list as the very last attraction I experienced as a local.

The second time was to let my son see it, because he had been bad that day and needed to be punished.

Okay, I’m being harsh. Beauty and the Beast is no Primeval Whirl, since the first time you see it it is tolerable and does not cause zombie snakes to infest your home. But subsequent viewings are just intolerable. The theater is hot and miserable, the characters are expressionless in their foam heads, and everything about it exudes blandness.

I don't have any pictures of the actual show, so here is a picture of a static Beast statue. It has approximately the same quality of performance.

I don’t have any pictures of the actual show, so here is a picture of a static Beast statue. It has approximately the same quality of performance.

Epcot

Spaceship Earth and Nemo lead the popularity contest here. I’m also good for a turn on Living with the Land.

The movie presentations fare the worst. O Canada, Impressions de France, and Circle of Life are probably between 3-5 times each. American Adventure is about 5 times as well (awkward show times and length).

I assume we’re not going to count Innoventions. I don’t go out of my way to experience every little corporate slideshow. I’ll usually do an exhibit once, but I don’t often repeat it. Playing the Playstations for five minutes counts as “doing something” right?

Your Epcot grand winner? Wonders of China.

forgotten_china

Up until last month, I had seen it only once, and actually made a special trip to see it again, just so that it wouldn’t be rated worse than Beauty and the Beast. It’s my least favorite of the World Showcase attractions, probably because it does not show one of the Three Amigos lacking self-awareness at how unfunny he has become.

But come on. It’s not worse than Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.

What Are Your Forgotten Disney Attractions?

So I’m curious… whether you’re an infrequent visitor or if you go all the time—what wins the prize for your most Forgotten Disney Attraction?

 

Finding Disney’s Top 10 Animated Feature Films in the Parks

Back in the days of War and Depression (pre-television), the children of the world had only two doorways to Fantasyland.

The first was through the magic of the movies on the silver screen.

The second was by being named Diane or Sharon Disney.

It was not until Disneyland that kids could actually step through Alice’s Looking Glass without slicing their feet to ribbons. And sometimes the Other Side can be a pretty strange place. If you really could journey to Neverland, what sort of world would you find there?

Answer: A Weird Pop Star, Bubbles the Chimp, and a Pirates of the Caribbean Bedroom

Answer: Bubbles the Chimp and a Pirates of the Caribbean Bedroom

Parkeology has spent months examining every animated feature film in the vault. We have distilled the essence, coalesced the vapors, and arrived at the most basic theme park components for each film.

In case you missed them, here are Parts I – IV:

There has been a lot of good.

There has been some bad.

There has also been Chicken Little, but we are trying to forget that.

Now we are down to the final ten. The oldest films in the library. The venerable, aptly-named classics. These movies all pre-date Disneyland, and have had the most opportunity for exploitation. That makes them the best, right?

Don’t hold your breath.

#10 – Melody Time

What the…? Huh? What is this movie?

What true-blooded Disney fan does not remember this beloved anthology classic from 1948? This film is at the tail end of a very bizarre stretch for feature animation. While Walt’s first handful of films were high-powered artistic masterpieces, that changed quickly when most of them failed to turn a profit.

As a stopgap, they started bundling short films into an anthology feature with a very loose through-line. For instance, the through-line to Melody Time was that all the stories had some music in them, and music has melodies. That is literally the only thing that Johnny Appleseed has in common with a tugboat named Little Toot.

We start at Storybook Circus in Florida, where they slapped the name “Melody Time” on some sort of weird pipe organ thing outside of Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Pipe organs have music. Hence, melody.

Most of the film’s individual segments have literally no attachment to the parks. You’re not going to find an E-ticket based on a reading of the Joyce Kilmer poem “Trees.”

The film is half-heartedly bailed out by having a Donald Duck/Jose Carioca short, and both of those characters have appeared in the parks (as we will see later). But listing them here is cheating.

Johnny Appleseed, the film’s best segment, has an obscure reference in a Frontierland restaurant at best.

Breathtaking.

Breathtaking.

Fortunately, the last segment of Melody Time is about Pecos Bill, a cowboy who has his own Tall Tale Cafe in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom.

Of even more importance, Slue-Foot Sue (Pecos’s girlfriend) emceed the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Disneyland for decades, where she and her dancing girls would entertain travelers in Frontierland. Pecos Bill would interrupt the shoe show whenever it was time to sing some melodies.

A similar version was performed at Walt Disney World’s Diamond Horseshoe, which also would lower a movie screen in this authentic Western dance hall to show the full-color sound cartoon.

#9 – Fun and Fancy Free

This anthology is another weird one. It consists of one segment you’ve heard of, one you haven’t, and some interstitials starring Jiminy Cricket and some creepy ventriloquist dolls.

Jiminy is everywhere in the parks, but again, it’s cheating to use him from this movie. The ventriloquist dolls are nowhere, thankfully.

The film’s first segment is about Bongo the Circus Bear. Bongo is persona non grata in the parks. When Storybook Circus opened at the Magic Kingdom, they elected to use a national park bear named Humphrey as their ursine circus performer instead of Bongo. Famed Naturalist John Muir would not be pleased.

The second segment, however, is the classic story of Mickey and the Beanstalk. It features three anthropomorphic talking animals in the form of a dog, a mouse, and a duck, but the main draw is Willie the Giant and his beanstalk hideaway.

Sir Mickey’s at the Magic Kingdom is bursting at the seams with references to this movie.

#8 – Make Mine Music

Good grief. It’s bad enough that Disney used the tenuous plot line of “something with music” even once, let alone recycled it twice in the span of 3 movies.

There are no less than 10 segments in this anthology, and most of them are utterly forgettable.

Willie, the Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met, is one of the better ones. He gets his own poster in the queue area for Mickey’s Philharmagic. And yes, this means Disney had back-to-back movies with gigantic characters named “Willie.” They made up for this lack of creativity by including an evil music professor named Tetti-Tatti. His parents must have been cruel, cruel people.

I think this will be my next cosplay.

I think this will be my next cosplay.

And yet we find a real inside-the-park home run buried among the wreckage of this movie. Casey at the Bat’s titular hero has his own hot dog shop on Main Street, and it is home to the best dogs around.

As befits a sports star of his caliber, Casey also has his own midway game at Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure.

Not bad for a guy who choked away more championships than Pete Carroll and Chris Webber combined.

#7 – The Three Caballeros

To get away from an ugly Studio strike, Walt and El Grupo went on a goodwill tour of South America. This anthology starring Donald, Jose, and Panchito is one of the results.

The Three Caballeros got their own Three Caballeros ride at Epcot, with the succinct title of Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.

While that ride is the best representation of The Three Caballeros in the parks, there are others as well.

The Three Caballeros still do character appearances as well, and they also have their own Three Caballeros poster in Philharmagic. They hang out at the Three Caballeros pool at the All-Star Music Resort, and even before that they were salsa dancing in full audio-animatronic form during the Three Caballeros segment of the Mickey Mouse Revue. Disneyland has also added the Three Caballeros to It’s a Small World.

But my favorite reference to the Three Caballeros is at Coronado Springs, which manages a Three Caballeros link without showing even a single Caballero.

Burrito, the donkey from the Flying Gauchito short in this movie, is happily carting some merchandise in the souvenir shop over there.

The cutest store display on property.

The cutest store display on property.

#6 – Saludos Amigos

So there was another South American package feature. This one not so good.

The Studio’s star power is on display to help this movie across the finish line. Both Donald and Goofy show up, and this film was actually the debut of Jose Carioca (Two Caballeros?).

The film is ridiculously short at 42 minutes, and finding park material here is a chore. Fortunately, Parkeology already did a write-up on the best link to this movie.

Thrill to the discovery of Pedro the airplane as he appears on a gas can!

#5 – Bambi

Finally. The Final Five. And thankfully, they are all great films.

These are the ones you have known about ever since you could talk. Chances are these are some of the first movies you have ever watched. When the “Greatest Animated Feature Films of All Time” are discussed, these next five movies can’t help but make the list.

Surely Disney has exploited these to the hilt. So let’s see… Bambi…

Crap.

There’s nothing.

You gotcha Thumper foam head. You gotcha Flower foam head. You gotcha Bambi topiary at Flower and Garden Festival. That’s kind of it.

Here they are in the temporary Epcot butterfly tent. Because the film is a classic.

Here they are in the temporary Epcot butterfly tent. Because the film is a classic.

Disney has an entire theme park devoted to animals, and unless he’s part of the decorating in Gaston’s Tavern, Bambi has precious little.

A brief clip of this worthless deer and the bum rabbit can be seen in Fantasmic, in spectacular water-screen BlurryVision.

#4 – Dumbo

I’m sure if we all think really hard, we can come up with a ride based on this movie.

Ha! say the Disneylanders. We can think of two.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant appears at every Disney park on the planet, and also at several Six Flags, and sometimes Gatorland. Florida loves him so much they built two.

The Eighth Wonder of the World

The Eighth Wonder of the World

They also build an entire mini-land called Storybook Circus, which is really mostly about Dumbo, who never actually appeared in a traditional storybook. It has a Casey Junior Splash Zone, as well as a Big Top Toddler Energy Sucker, where your little one can blow off steam while waiting for the Dueling Dumbos.

Not to be outdone, Disneyland has featured Casey Junior as an actual ride since Day One, as has Disneyland Paris.

And Dumbo joined Tinker Bell and Jack Skellington’s dog Zero as the only character to fly around Sleeping Beauty Castle during the fireworks.

Last but not least, Dumbo got his own booth at Paradise Pier’s Games of the Boardwalk—and he had an original Dumbo fire-fighting game at DisneyQuest, which disappeared sometime after DisneyQuest stopped being relevant.

#3 – Fantasia

Since the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is one of the segments of Fantasia (the original anthology feature!), one could go mad trying to catalog all the potential references in the parks. Sorcerer Mickey in Fantasmic, Sorcerer Mickey backstage on Main Street, Sorcerer Mickey in the Great Movie Ride, Sorcerer Mickey in SpectroMagic, Sorcerer Mickey destroying beautiful sightlines of the Chinese Theater. The list is endless.

Prefer a side of dancing hippos and crocodiles with your Fantasia entree? Take your pick from any parade float around.

And if you want a sampling of Pastoral Symphony, look no further than Storybookland at Disneyland Paris.

Maybe the Rite of Spring dinosaurs are more your thing. One of the most cleverly concealed references can be found in the Primeval Diorama at Disneyland or in Ellen’s Energy Adventure at Epcot.

And let’s not forget Chernabog, who joins in any time there’s a Villain Party, whether it’s Night on Bald Mountain music during the HalloWishes fireworks or hijacking Disneyland during Fantasmic. The crazy demon was famous for popping out of his own float on SpectroMagic.

The Contemporary Resort has both a Fantasia Market and a Fantasia Ballroom. And those two-handed broomsticks show up at the Fantasia pool at the All Star Movies Resort. The brooms have also been featured as outdoor garden gnomes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and they get their own segment during Mickey’s Philharmagic.

For that matter, the sorcerer’s hat is the main plot device in that film.

But we never got that full-on Fantasia ride. No boat ride through the Pastoral Symphony or a track-less Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. We got something better.

We got mini-golf.

Eighteen Holes of Pure Fantasia Bliss at the Fantasia Gardens right across the street from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This course is actually a gold mine for obscure Fantasia references. Water-spouting brooms are de rigueur of course, but the Gardens also has time to set up the under-represented parts of the movie, such as the abstract Toccata and Fugue segment. It even gives Fantasia names such as Ave Maria and Yen Sid to its un-themed Fairways course.

And one of the picnic pavilions is named Dancing Hippo. Which sounds like a nice place to eat.

#2 – Pinocchio

Pinocchio is one of the most featured animated films in the parks. You have the walkarounds—Pinocchio, Gepetto, Jiminy, Foulfellow, and Gideon. Stromboli and Lampwick have also appeared at various times, and the Blue Fairy gets to kick off SpectroMagic and Wishes.

Jiminy Cricket is everywhere, from fireworks hosting duties, to environmental buttons at Animal Kingdom, to those little reminders in your hotel room not to waste money on towels.

At Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, Pinocchio gets his own Fantasyland restaurant, while in Tokyo the goldfish Cleo somehow gets a snack stand.

Figaro the cat appears as an animatronic at Fantasy Faire at Disneyland. He is also a popular merchandise item.

Gepetto’s village shows up in Storybookland at Disneyland, but of course the big attraction is Monstro the Whale, who literally swallows your boat to begin the ride.

Unlike the movie, Disney will personally sue you if you try to set a fire to make Monstro sneeze.

Unlike the movie, Disney will personally sue you if you try to set a fire to make Monstro sneeze.

And while not renowned as the greatest of the Fantasyland dark rides, Pinocchio does manage to get his own attraction in California, Paris, and Tokyo.

But I admit I have a soft spot for one very special part of Pinocchio, that has permeated the parks and left its mark everywhere. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the theme parks without this.

When You Wish Upon a Star is the most beautiful anthem a theme park could hope for. Ever since it was used in the opening credits for the Disneyland TV show, the song has been a theme park mainstay, performed by marching bands, fireworks arrangements, and even tooted out of the smokestacks of the Disney Cruise Line.

It may not have been written for the theme parks, but it is my favorite theme park song.

#1 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The one that started it all…

Snow White is nearly 80 years old, but that hasn’t stopped Disney from opening a brand new family rollercoaster in Florida based on this story—where it consistently draws the biggest lines in the park. Not bad for an octogenarian.

The story is simple. A damsel in distress. A hideous witch. And seven lovable bachelors. Before their Mine Train became the hottest ticket in Orlando, the seven dwarfs had their own diamond mine shop in Fantasyland. And they are a real crowd pleaser during parades, especially in their illuminated Main Street Electrical Parade get-up, with Dopey driving a serpentine mine train.

If the witch is more your thing, you can find the old hag everywhere. She’s a key figure during Fantasmic, obviously, and she towers over visitors to the Candy Cauldron at Downtown Disney Springs.

Even corporate drones get in on the act. Outside of Team Disney in Orlando, the Seven Dwarfs can be seen in abstract cut-out form, along with the phrase “Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go…”

The Snow White Grotto at Disneyland (and later Tokyo and Hong Kong) forms the basis for a nice bit of company lore. The statues were donated anonymously—and Snow White is the same height as the dwarfs.

The new Mine Train ride is nice for what it is, but it cannot compare to the classic dark ride attraction Snow White’s Adventures (or occasionally Snow White’s Scary Adventures). I have grown very fond of this attraction in recent years, especially since its passing at Walt Disney World. Those Fantasyland dark rides are the perfect middle-ground Disney attraction, and Snow White is right up there with Toad, Alice, Pooh, and Ariel.

A bittersweet ending to this series.

A bittersweet ending to this series.

Conclusion

So now we’ve come to the end of this series, maneuvering our way through every nook and cranny to track down the best use of the animated feature films. Looking back through the list at all the references, it’s exhausting just thinking about it.

So before we decide to do a series about every Apple Dumpling Gang movie or something, tell me… what did we miss?