Since the COVID-19 quarantine started, I have been asked one question by almost everyone I know-- "What are you most excited to do after quarantine ends?" Every time, Disney comes to the forefront of my mind. While it has been nice that Disney+ has released movies and TV shows early for Disney fans to binge, I find that I miss the magic that comes with meeting characters and interacting with the many attractions Disney World has to offer. Slowly but surely, Disney is starting to open its gates, starting with Disney Springs, after the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. This announcement has sparked a new hope in the diehard Disney fans, like me, who are awaiting the arrival of a new and better normal.
That being said, here are 5 things that give me hope as I wait for the end of this season of quarantine.
5. Pineapple Dole Whip
As any true Disney fan knows, pineapple Dole Whip is a staple of Disney that must be enjoyed when visiting the parks. Whenever my friends and I set foot in the Magic Kingdom, we always make it a point to purchase Dole Whip (normally to share because, let's face it, we college students are broke). If you aren't a huge pineapple fan, Disney has also started manufacturing other flavors like orange and strawberry at some stands. Out of all the foods Disney serves, Dole Whip is the most refreshing and magical in my opinion.
To get me through, a friend of mine bought me a car air freshener that smells like pineapple Dole Whip. Now, every time I get in my car, I am transported to the Magic Kingdom where the Dole Whip waits to be enjoyed once more by the Disney guests.
4. Character Meet and Greets
There is something special about meeting your favorite childhood characters. While some people would rather not wait in lines to take photos with people dressed in Disney costumes, I believe that this aspect of Disney World is the most magical! I know that there's a person under that Winnie the Pooh costume, but the five-year-old girl decked out in an Elsa outfit firmly believes that she's meeting that cute bear who loves honey more than anything.
Seeing the looks on kids' faces when they meet characters is more fun than meeting them myself. I feel like being there makes me part of the magic that a child experiences while at the parks. That is exactly why I meet characters with the most energy and excitement possible. You never know which kids are watching.
3. The Frozen Sing-Along Show
This attraction can be found in Disney's Hollywood Studios. It is a show that goes through the entire Frozen movie, and the audience is encouraged to sing along as the show goes on. Most people see this as an attraction that gives parents a break from walking and time to take a power nap. While this might seem like an odd attraction to be excited about, let me just paint a picture for you.
Imagine you're sitting in a huge theater, surrounded by little girls in Elsa and Anna outfits. You have strategically placed yourself in the front row so that the performers can see your passion for "Frozen." Even though you're 21 years old with college classes to worry about and bills to pay, you're given the chance to be a little kid for that 30-minute long show.
Almost all the time, I am pretty self-conscious; however, whenever I attend that show, all my insecurities seem to melt (haha get it?) away as I embrace that goofy little girl that belts "Let It Go" at the top of her lungs. Don't even get me started when it "snows" at the end of the show. Being from New Jersey and living in Florida, any mention or imitation of snow is a total game changer!
2. Galaxy's Edge Rise of the Resistance
Galaxy's Edge, for those who don't know, is the new Star Wars land that recently opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here, you can immerse yourself in the world of Star Wars, and it is by far one of my favorite lands to go to. This land is probably the most authentic to the movies that we all know and love, and there is always something new to do and experience. Before Galaxy's Edge was built, I was not a big Star Wars fan, and I still was able to enjoy everything that the park had to offer. So, if you aren't a Star Wars nerd, don't sweat it! I guarantee you will still have an amazing time.
Rise of the Resistance was recently opened in 2019, and it is probably the best attraction in all of Disney World. It is a 30-minute experience that transports you through the Imperial ship and eventually, the participants are rescued by some of the Resistance crew. To enjoy this ride, though, you have to be inside Hollywood Studios by 8 am, which can be a struggle when you don't live 5 minutes away from Disney. My friend, Alexa, and I love going that early because by the time you're done with everything, it is still early in the day, and you feel so much more productive than if you get to the parks by noon and stay until closing. Once this quarantine ends, I cannot wait to go and experience all of the Star Wars attractions again, but for now, watching the movies and TV shows on Disney+ will have to do.
1. Animal Kingdom's Banshee's Flight Attraction
This ride, by far, is something I miss the most. However, it isn't for the reason you think. The ride is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but all my hardcore Disney fans know the REAL reason we like the ride-- the smell. Those of you that just tilted your head in confusion, hear me out. Banshee's Flight is an attraction that simulates riding a banshee through the world the Avatar people live in. Disney does a great job of simulating this with the wind, mist, and other factors that go into making this ride realistic. I don't know if they meant to make the ride smell the way that it does, but it is something that is so hard to describe. You just have to go and experience it for yourself.
The same friend that purchased the Dole Whip air freshener for me also purchased me an essential oil called Banshee's Flight, which smells exactly like the ride. As I type this, I have that essential oil in my diffuser, and I am in heaven! If there is an essential oil named after this ride, then you know I'm not crazy. Or maybe I am, but that's okay too :)
I'll give anything to get back to Disney's Animal Kingdom to ride this attraction again. I hope that once our new and better normal happens that you'll be able to experience all of my favorite things about Disney. But until then, all we can do is take on this new hope that everything will get back to normal soon. I know it's been a long and hard journey being quarantined from everything, but hopefully, you are able to find the good moments amongst the bad.
Stay healthy, friends! See ya real soon!