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A Disney World Bucket List

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Non-Disney loving people that I know are always asking me the same tired question… “You’re going to Disney World… again?” Yeah, I am. I always am and I always will be going again. The follow-up questions seem to be pretty consistant too. “Don’t you ever get sick of it? Haven’t you done everything there is to do?

Obviously, those of us that know the parks well are aware that it’s virtually impossible to do every single thing at Disney World. The resort is always changing and evolving. New things are getting added all the time. Traveling with new people and at different times of the year makes each and every trip to Disney World unique and interesting. A while ago, I decided that I needed a way to ensure that I was experiencing something new every trip. That’s when I started my bucket list.

In case you don’t know, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” Throughout the past couple of years I’ve actually gotten to cross off many things from my list. I finally rode the teacups (which I survived) and eventually I sat through Country Bear Jamboree. Staying at the Polynesian Resort was always a dream of mine since childhood and back in 2010 I crossed that off of my list.

I have a feeling that some of these experiences are going to be pretty easy to accomplish while other tasks are going to require a miracle or a small fortune. That’s why it’s a bucket list! I may not get to everything but it’s fun to imagine actually accomplishing things I’ve dreamt of doing at Disney World.

1. See the Osborne Lights – Yeah! Believe it or not, I haven’t been to Disney World during the holiday season since I was 9 years old. While I never tire of looking at photos of the Osborne Lights, I sure would like to see it for myself.

2. Be in A Disney parade – It would be so fun to be one of the people chosen to sit on a float and wave to the crowd. If I had my choice, I’d like to be in Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade because it’s my favorite and I know all of the words.

3. Stay at the Boardwalk Resort – I don’t want to just stay at the Boardwalk. I want to stay in one of the rooms that overlooks Crescent Lake. That view is amazing!

4. Eat at California Grill – Here’s another thing that I can’t believe I haven’t done. I have a crazy love for sushi that is verging on a lustful obsession. Someday, I want to fill my belly with sushi and then watch Wishes from the top of the Contemporary Resort.

5. Ride on a trolley on Main Street U.S.A. – Here’s something that doesn’t cost a dime, doesn’t take a lot of time, and I still haven’t done it. The trolley is just so iconic and is quintisential Disney.

6. Walk hand in hand with Mickey Mouse on Main Street U.S.A. – Okay, I know this is a little far fetched since Mickey would clearly be mobbed if he ever actually set foot on Main Street. Nevertheless, I’m still holding out hope for a miracle. I’m pretty sure I’d feel like I was filming a cheesy Disney commercial if this ever happened.

7. Meet the cast of “Hercules” – If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me gab about my insane love for the Disney movie, “Hercules.” Well, Disney, for some dumb reason, must hate bringing out the cast of Hercules because the only place I’ve ever seen them is during performances of Fantasmic. My absolute favorite villian is Hades and I do believe that if I ever met him I would probably pass out from utter joy.

8. Complete an Ultimate Touring Plan – I’ve wanted to do this for the longest time but it requires some dedication and planning to make it happen. Whenever I do accomplish this, I’ll be sure to do a full report.

Whether you’re on your 5th Disney World trip or your 50th, everyone can find something that they’ve always wanted to do but haven’t. I challenge you to make your very own Disney World bucket list. In fact, sit down with your family and have everyone come up with a list then share them. Make it a priority to cross one thing off with every trip to Disney World.

Let me know what is on your Disney bucket list in the comment section!

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Stacey Lantz

Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, Stacey believes she lives far too many miles away from Walt Disney World. In her spare time she enjoys singing/dancing, spending time with her nieces, and of course, talking about Walt Disney World to anyone that is willing to listen. She's been blogging about all things Disney since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @Stacey87.

56 thoughts on “A Disney World Bucket List

  • 1. Spend a night in Cinderalla’s Castle -DONE
    2. Eat in every restuarant around the world in EPCOT- DONE
    3. Stay at the Grand Floridian – WILL BE DOING IN TWO MONTHS
    4. Eat at Victoria & Alberts -WILL BE DOING IN TWO MONTHS
    5. See the Utilidors of Magic Kingdom -DONE

    • How did you spend the night in the castle?

      • Hi Rach

        My friend is a cast member and she won a competition to spend the night with 5 friends last year. It was an amazing experience, didn’t sleep all night as I was to busy taking it all in. It is great to say that I’m one of a couple of Australian’s if not the only Australian that has stayed the night in Cinderella’s Castle.

  • This is making me think of my own Disney bucket list. Happily, I think I’m going to be able to do quite a few during this trip.

  • You can see Hades, Pain and Panic at the play “Villains Tonight” on the Dream and Fantasy. Sad, but when Pain and Panic wandered through the crowd just before the play started, I was one of teh few who knew who they were.

    • We just saw “Villains Tonight” on the Magic 8-day cruise to the Bahamas out of NYC. It was a great show! Really funny!

  • Hi! Loved this article! I’m actually in Disney World right now and I was just saying how I really, really want to stay at the Poly sometime. There is just something really special about that resort. I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing your list!

  • Stacey, you really need to make it so see the Osborne Lights. We’ve seen them twice, and to be honest, it may have been the highlight of both of those trips. Make no mistake, it’s crowded. You can hardly move without bumping into someone, BUT seeing that look of child-like awe and joy on my wife’s face is worth it. Without closing my eyes, I can clearly see the expression on my wife’s face as we round the corner to Streets of America and see the lights, hear music, and feel the “snow” falling. She’s six again…and I love it. We’ve been married for nearly 18 years, and I’ve never seen anything bring her back to that place of innocent joy so quickly.

  • If you have sushi at California Grill, skip the assorted sushi entree. As a sushi lover, I was very disappointed by the quality of the nigiri. That being said, the rolls are AMAZING. Get the tuna trio, and a selection of rolls.

  • Hard to believe I’ve been to Disneyland dozens of times and WDW six times and I still have like a million things on the bucket list! I have managed to cross off a few: I attended rope drop at every park in DLR and WDW; I have stayed at all 3 DLR hotels; I saw WDW at Christmas time; and I rode Splash Mountain three times in a row without getting off.

    The biggest ones I think I have a chance of accomplishing include staying at the Poly, playing golf at WDW, eating at Jiko, and working for Disney when I retire from teaching. On the not-likely-but-still-hoping list are staying in the castle, eating at Club 33, and having an enormous shopping budget at the parks. Hey, a girl can dream :).

  • You can always see Hades on the Disney Dream during the Villains show.

  • Great blog article Stacey!

    Here are a few I want to cross off:

    1. Stay at the Poly
    2. Attend a WDW Today/TouringPlans/AllEars Reunion or Meet & Greet
    3. Run the WDW Marathon and/or Goofy (I’ve done the Half twice)
    4. Attend rope drop at EP & AK (I’ve done MK and DHS)
    5. Dinner at Jiko
    6. Dinner at Victoria & Albert’s
    7. Stay at the Wilderness Lodge
    8. Stay at the Boardwalk
    9. Attend all 4 parks in the same day
    10. Walk through every resort on property (never even seen the value resorts)
    11. Take my son to WDW (he’s only 14 weeks old so we have a little while)
    12. Take a segway tour.
    13. Go on a Disney Cruise.
    14. Go on a MK tour.
    15. Go on an EP tour (done Behind the Seeds already)
    16. Eat breakfast at Crystal Palace

    I’m sure there are more that I am forgetting. Biggest thing is just getting back down there so I can start crossing some of these off!

    • Brandon, I love your #9. I added it to my Disney bucket list. Thanks for the idea 🙂

  • Great article. Ooh I have lots too:

    1) Stay at the Polynesian on the ground floor with a Magic Kingdom view
    2) Stay at the Contenmporary Resort with a Magic Kingdom view
    3) Meet Len Testa
    4) go to Disney World at Christmas time
    5) Stay at Wilderness Lodge
    6) Take an Adventures by Disney trip
    7) Eat at Victoria & Alberts – with wine pairings
    8) Beat my husband on Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin (probably the least likely to achieve)
    9) Beat my husband on Toy Story Mania (I am pants at these rides!)
    10) Ride every permutation and combination of Star Tours II
    11) Swim with a Manatee at The Seas (they don’t offer this so not sure how)
    12) Complete an ultimate touring plan of Magic Kingdom
    13) Go to House of Blues and have the white chocolate bread pudding
    14) Introduce my toy Snuffleupagus to the anteater at Animal Kingdom
    15) Get accepted on the Mickey Mom’s panel
    16) Work for TouringPlans.com
    17) Be in a parade
    18) Have breakfast with Stitch at ‘Ohana
    19) Pet an Okapi
    20) Run in one of the Disney World races (I entered the ‘Race for the Taste’ one year but didn’t train or lose weight and it wouldn’t killed me!)

    Hope to tick a couple off when we visit in October 8:o)

    • I mean ‘would’ve killed me’…

  • Wow I love everyone’s ideas. My number one is to see WDW decorated for the holidays. Hoping to do this in 2013:)

  • I’m not sure if this show is still running, but I recall being on the Disney Wonder and they had a Hercules show. IIRC, they had some of the Hercules characters walking around the audience before the show started.

  • I love your bucket list. AS I got to do California Grill on my last trip I can tell you that the sushi is amazing. I created a bucket list for my website at http://www.agoofyidea.com. It included doing several tours including Africa Trek and the Segway tour around World showcase. I hope everyone gets to finish their bucket list and add new items to it.

  • This is great idea. Though we have intineraries for each day of each trip, we have yet to create a bucket list. I will say that there are some experiences that takes a seasoned WDW fan or ‘Unofficial Guide’ reader to know about.

    One we got to experience on our last trip was raising the flag at Wilderness Lodge (i could live there) and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. There was also a tour and history of the resort. It was such a great experience for our daughter and the whole family.

  • Stacey: Congrats on another “A” post. I think you forgot to add: “trying one of everything at La Cava del Tequila”. I am betting you have tried most of them, however 😉

    • Haha! Margaraita wise, I think I’ve tried them all except for the Cucumber Margarita because I hate cucumber. Their tequila list is so expansive that I don’t think I’ll EVER get through it!

  • Thanks for sharing your bucket list. I have begun one and got some more ideas from your article as well as the comments. Here is mine thus far:
    1. Take the “Magic Behind our Steam Trains” Tour
    2. Watch a movie under the stars
    3. Go on a Disney Cruise
    4. Go on an Adventures By Disney
    5. Visit Disneyland
    6. Ride Characters in Flight in Downtown Disney
    7. Take the Treasures of Morocco Tour
    8. Stay in a cabin at Fort Wilderness
    9. Beat Greg at Toy Story Mania
    10. Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian
    11. Witness the torch-lighting ceremony at the Polynesian Resort
    12. Stay at the Polynesian Resort
    13. Purchase a piece of sea life art from the gallery at the Polynesian Resort
    14. Have a drink at every lounge on WDW property
    15. Go on the Behind the Seeds Tour at EPCOT
    16. Participate in a Candy Walk at EPCOT
    17. Sit outside, in the evening, while dining at Paradiso 37
    18. Attend the House of Blues’ Sunday Brunch
    19. Visit each resort at WDW
    20. Eat breakfast at Trail’s End
    21. Go to the Yehaa Bob show at Port Orleans Riverside
    22. Enjoy a drink at the Belle Vue Lounge (Boardwalk) during the holidays to catch the 1940’s radio Christmas shows in the background.
    23. Eat every cupcake in the Disney Food Blog’s Cupcake Crawl
    24. Take the Haunted Carriage Ride through Fort Wilderness at Halloween
    25. Visit Fort Wilderness at Christmas to see the decorated RV’s and meet some of the people behind them
    26. Visit Fort Wilderness at Halloween to see the decorated RV’s and meet some of the people behind them
    27. Eat a Dole Whip
    28. Search for Hidden Mickeys with the help of Steven Barrett’s book, Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets
    29. Play mini golf at Winter Summerland, choosing the summer option
    30. Eat at Sanaa in Kidani Village
    31. Eat at Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge
    32. Eat a BBQ Slaw Dog at Casey’s Corner
    33. Participate in Agent P in EPCOT
    34. Visit Disney’s Wilderness Preserve
    35. Work as a Cast Member at Frontierland Trading Post
    36. Eat a caramel apple in Germany
    37. Eat a slice of Tie-Dye Cheesecake at Pop Century Resort
    38. Stay at the Contemporary Resort in a main building guest room
    39. Stay at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
    40. See the Parasol Parade at the Grand Floridian
    41. Dine with an Imagineer at the Hollywood Brown Derby
    42. See “The Magic, the Memories, and You” show at Cinderella Castle
    43. Go parasailing over Bay Lake
    44. Take a tour of Wilderness Lodge Resort
    45. Spend an evening at Animal Kingdom Lodge listening to African folktales and learning from the cast members
    46. Watch Wishes from the Polynesian Resort beach
    47. Take the Ferry Boat to the Magic Kingdom
    48. Celebrate Mardi Gras at Port Orleans and see the cast member golf cart float parade
    49. Enjoy live music at Raglan Road
    50. Play the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game
    51. Attend a fireside activity
    52. Purchase a hand carved skeleton from Mexico
    53. Watch a dolphin show at The Seas
    54. Eat at Restaurant Marrakesh while watching the belly dancer
    55. Watch The Hat Lady at the Rose & Crown Pub
    56. Eat at the Coral Reef at a table next to the tank
    57. Order the filet and macaroni and cheese at Jiko
    58. Have the last reservation at Tokyo Dining and take a leisurely walk out of Epcot after officially closing
    59. Eat at and watch Wishes from The California Grill
    60. Enjoy and take pictures of an empty Main Street while walking to breakfast at the Crystal Palace
    61. Take a Segway Tour before park opening at EPCOT
    62. Ride a trolley on Main Street U.S.A
    63. Complete and Ultimate Touring Plan
    64. Have an alcoholic beverage from every country in Epcot
    65. Meet Lou Mongello
    66. Meet Len Testa
    67. Meet Matt Hochberg
    68. Meet Mike Scopa
    69. Meet Mike Newell
    70. Meet Mike Rahlmann
    71. Meet AJ Wolfe
    72. Meet Jennifer Marx
    73. Meet Sara Varney
    74. Attend a WDW Today event
    75. Take a Disney Cruise
    76. Attend a WDW Radio event
    77. Become a Disney Travel Agent
    78. Swim in Stormalong Bay

    • Wow! Erica I am stealing your list, though I have met most of the WDW today folks….you left out Annette, the best part 🙂

      • Holy cow, Erica! You’ve thought of everything! That’s seriously an awesome list. Though, you’re missing “Meet Stacey Lantz” on your list! Ha!

    • 79. Meet Annette Owens
      80. ***MEET STACY LANTZ***

    • Wait – me?! That is so sweet! -Sara (Former host of Disney Every Week with the PassPorter Moms!)

  • Hi Stacey,
    I love your blogs and have thought of a bucket list too… just need to get to it. We visit often and we don’t even live in the US and get the same questions asked of why are we going back again… but we never get tired of WDW! My question to you is: how do you get so much vacation time to be able to do all these trips? or is the blog your full time job? 🙂

    • Thanks so much!

      Well, I don’t actually have a TON of vacation time. To be honest, I get 16 days a year and I use them in conjunction with weekends to maximize my days in the parks. In the past, I’ve done one trip a year. For the past few years, it’s been 2 trips a year. And now, I’m approaching my 3rd trip this year in September for a long weekend. It may not always be this way but right now, it works. For my full time job I’m a Customer Service Rep at a bank. It’s definitely boring and lifeless compared to my fun side job of blogging for TouringPlans.com.

      • you’re a good writer!
        we do one or two trips a year, next one will be a cruise. I used to think my friend was crazy doing 3-4 trips a year but now I understand her!!

  • I love this and your list. Being the nerd I am, I also have a Disney Bucket List. Here are a few of the things on it.

    1. Eat at Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table. Will need a second job.
    2. Stay at the Grand Floridian in a room facing Cinderella Castle. (See #1)
    3. Ride the Peoplemover while Space Mountain is down. In other words, I want to see Space Mountain with the lights on.
    4. Get stuck in the Haunted Mansion where we have to walk through it to get out (preferably through the graveyard).
    5. Take the Keys to the Kingdom tour. I really want to see the Utilidors.
    6. Be the last person to leave a park on a given day. Don’t care which park.

    I guess I’ll stop there. There are several more, but those are the biggies.

    Thanks for sharing your article! Great job!

    • I’ve done your #3! Except, Space Mountain was getting work done so the lights were on but it wasn’t running. Still, it was really cool.

      I too have always wanted to stay at the Grand Floridian after seeing the Disney episodes of Full House as a kid. Even just walking around in there, I feel like I’m IN the episode!

    • We were once the last people to leave Animal Kingdom. We were the last one’s out of Yak and Yeti and my kids really had to use the bathroom at the last minute (which lasted a lot longer than a minute). There were tons of cast members guiding us to the exit when we finally headed out. Once we got through the gates, there was a single Disney bus waiting. The driver asked “Where are you headed?” and whisked us straight back to the Contemporary. I’ll never forget it.

    • We’ve been the last ones to leave the park at both AK & EP. At AK, an entire crew of cast members followed us all the way out from Yak & Yeti’s too. At EP after our Le Cellier dinner, no one seemed to care that we stopped to take pictures all the way out the park. Both times it was neat but also a bit eerie.

  • My daughter walked hand in hand with Mickey at HongKong Disney. It was magical! She was only 7 at the time and I don’t think has ever appreciated how special that was. He took her from Dumbo to the meet and greet area.

  • The first 15 I can think of are:

    1. Ultimate Touring Plan (I really want to do that)
    2. Drink ALL the way around the world
    3. Stay 1 night at the Grand Floridian
    4. Dine at Victoria and Albert’s
    5. Attend a Meet of some kind with the Touring Plans team
    6. Do a Segway tour
    7. Get 999,999 on Buzz
    8. Go to Stormalong Bay
    9. Do DisneyQuest
    10. Have a cupcake at Babycakes
    11. Have a Mac & Cheese hotdog at the studios
    12. Do the Very Merry Christmas Party
    13. Spend Canada Day (our equivalent to July 4th) at Epcot
    14. Spend a night in a DVC Grand Villa
    15. Do the Shark Tank at Typhoon Lagoon

    • I want to spend Canada Day in Epcot too! I am obsessed with the Canada Pavilion. I’ve also accepted that I really suck at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and if I ever got 999,999 points, I’d think my gun broke and I didn’t get the points fairly. Haha!

  • We were there in October 2011 and will be going again in November of this year. I haven’t told many people, because I just don’t want to get the whole “you’re doing Disney, again?!” speech. As you say, there’s SO much to see and do, you couldn’t possibly get it all done in one visit! When my husband suggested the trip (I almost fell over and wondered if someone had overtaken his body, he likes Disney but can take it or leave it), I was totally against it (something I thought I would never hear myself, a Disney lover since I was very young, say). He won a golf trip and suggested we meet him after for a few days at Disney….during Thanksgiving week. I don’t do crowds well and it just didn’t interest me at all to go until a friend suggested that it doesn’t have to be all about the parks. After that revelation, I thought of all we could do that we haven’t done before that I have always wanted to do. If we followed Touring Plans for the two days that we will be in the parks : ) we could still have a great time! So, on our next trip I will be able to cross off Osborne lights (so excited to see the Christmas decorations, another first!), a game of miniature golf, The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream, and watching the fireworks on the Poly Beach after our first ever dinner at ‘Ohana. Hoping to also get a reservation for the Tomorrowland Dessert Party. This trip is about doing things we’ve never done before and I’m very excited now to be going despite the crowds!

    A tip for you if you ever get the chance in October, we ate at California Grill last year (first time!) on a night when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party fireworks were scheduled. Not only are they AMAZING to watch on the ground at the party but FANTASTICALLY AMAZING to watch on the observation deck!!!! : )

    • Aww! That’s such an awesome story!

      Thanks for the great tip! I’m sure that was really memorable to see.

  • Ever try for Hades during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? They tend to bust out a lot of villains for that and even if it’s not an actual “meeting” you may get to see him up close in the parade.

    • I did Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party back in 2008 or 2009 and he wasn’t there. I did hear that in 2010 he made an appearance one night. Hopefully I will get lucky someday.

  • Go through all shows and or movies etc and eat in every country in world showcase

  • Take my son diving in The Living Seas. My husband and I have done it, and I want to take him when he gets old enough.

  • I crossed off one item on my bucket list last year which was to golf at Disney. It was just as I imagined. Immaculate greens gorgeous landscapes and excellent service. On the 2nd fairway I noticed that the sole of my right golf shoe was coming lose. (I hadn’t golfed in over a year and had them rotting away in the garage). Then the other shoe started coming lose. Well before I got to the 3rd tee one of the rangers had already brought me a pair of golf shoes with the Mickey icon. I ofcourse had a horrible round, but didnt matter. I felt like Tiger out there.

    • How cool is that!? Disney is pretty grade A in customer service.

  • I would love for our family to get chosen to be ‘family of the day’ at MK!
    PS: Yay Hercules! ‘I won’t say I’m in Love’ is my fav!

    • My husband and I ended up being chosen on our honeymoon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios back when they still did a big opening ceremony there. It was honestly one of the most memorable things I’ve ever experienced at the parks. I really hope you get chosen someday!

      All this Hercules love is making me so happy!

    • Lisa – we got picked to be the opening family at the MK. It was our first trip and the word magical doesn’t begin to describe how wonderful it was! The photos we have from the photographer are real treasures — except for the one of us throwing confetti, taken from behind! (Who knew that a khaki skort would be so very, very unflattering?) 🙂

  • To perform at Disney World! Headed to the parade auditions in a few weeks! Even if I don’t get the job I would still live to be in a parade there one day. The Move It Shake It Parade is my favorite! 🙂

    • Ahhh! Yes! I kept my list very park centric but if I hadn’t, being a performer would be at the top of my list. You should DEFINITELY report back here after your audition because I’m dying to know how it goes! Break a leg!

  • One of the things on my list is to stay at all the resorts on WDW property at least once. I’m a picky eater, so I probably won’t put all the restaurants on my list. Instead I will put all the character dining, all the dinner shows & at least one signature restaurant. I would also like to visit WDW for each major holiday.

    • You should definitely do Jiko for your signature restaurant! It’s my personal favorite!

  • My add to bucket list is to spend a night at Cinderella’s castle!

    • Staying in Cinderella’s Castle was on my bucket list but when I was last there a friend (cast member) won a nights stay in the castle. Dream of a lifetime to be able to step foot in a place where very few get to go or even stay.

  • I knew there had to be other Hercules fans out there!

    • Hooray! I LOVE seeing Hercules fans! That movie is insanely underrated and underused in the parks. I flip out every time I see Hades during Fantasmic!

      • It would be awesome if the under-loved movies had scheduled events now and then. Personally, I’m a Bolt fan.

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