Disney Bucket List

We started a Disney Bucket List as a way to ensure that we embraced new experiences in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and it’s expanded into motivation for traveling to new locations and trying new things. We think a Bucket List (Disney or otherwise) is a great thing to have as it helps you give you focus. Sometimes, the best way to accomplish your goals is to set them out on a tangible list, and to cross items off as you achieve them (or, in our case, to publish your list on a blog for all of the world to see!). The tangible list serves as a constant reminder of your goals and helps you avoid returning to the comfortable and familiar.

This last part, avoiding the comfortable and familiar, is especially important for us and became very clear in 2010 when we visited Disneyland for the first time, without a whole lot of excitement for the trip (which was a stop on the way to a wedding in SoCal). We had traveled to Walt Disney World before that twice a year because it was familiar, comfortable, and obviously we enjoyed it. There’s an old adage that is (something to this effect…I couldn’t find the adage via Google, so perhaps I made it up) that the man who eats dog food on a daily basis declines when offered filet mignon for the first time because he’s familiar with dog food, and enjoys it. He doesn’t know how good filet mignon is because he’s never tried it.

Before you send in hate mail, I’m not contending that Walt Disney World is dog food and Disneyland is filet mignon, I’m just trying to illustrate a point: we were reluctant to try something new because we liked our familiar Disney vacation. It turned out that we had an amazing time at Disneyland, and since then, we’ve made a point of experiencing new things whenever possible, even when in familiar locations like Walt Disney World.

This has led us adding every international Disney theme park to our Disney Bucket List to be experienced as part of longer international travels. Since we realize that these trips are pretty ambitious, we decided to add other experiences to our Disney Bucket List to keep us motivated to follow the list. Plus, after all, they say the best way to get over the bar is to lower the bar so much that you accidentally trip over it. (The lowest tier of our list isn’t quite that easy to accomplish!)

With keeping ourselves motivated and always focused on fresh experiences in mind, we made several different tiers for our list.

UPDATE: Since posting this list, we’ve already crossed a few items off of it! See strike-throughs below.

Easily Attainable

“Suit Up” Monorail Lounge Crawl – I haven’t settled on the particulars regarding which resort lounges this would include, but it would likely be more than just the three resorts on the monorail loop. It’s something we’ve wanted to do since before doing the “Suit Up” Disneyland Resort Lounge Crawl, but our plans have just never worked out for it yet. Why suits? Because suits can make anything more awesome.

Four Parks in a Day – We’ve done three parks in one day a number of times, but have never hit four parks in a single day. Transportation time makes it something that isn’t really pragmatic in most circumstances, but I could still see it being fun to do for the sake of saying you’ve done it. My ideal schedule would be Animal Kingdom Morning Extra Magic Hours > bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios > Walk to Epcot > Monorail to Magic Kingdom for Evening Extra Magic Hours. It seems like that would be a reasonable way to tackle the challenge while maximizing park time and not wasting too much time in transit. Check.

Eat at Every Walt Disney World Restaurant – We are well on our way to accomplishing this, and although I don’t have an exact completion percentage, I think we’re at around 75% (we haven’t reviewed every restaurant at which we’ve eaten…not even close). Most of the remaining restaurants are in resorts or are places that don’t really appeal to us, but at some point we’ll likely give them a try because we’re completionists. We make it a goal to dine at one new restaurant per trip, at least. It is worth noting that any third party restaurants at Downtown Disney are not included on our list. This might seem a bit arbitrary since several in-park restaurants are also third party restaurants and we are including them on the list, but the difference (I think) is that the Downtown Disney restaurants are often “Orlando” locations of real world chains. If you don’t find that persuasive…it’s my list, so I can make arbitrary distinctions if I feel like it!

Finish a runDisney Event – Back early in 2012, I wrote this ambitious article about getting fit for a Disney trip. Shortly after that, we registered for the Tower of Terror 10-miler. Shortly after that, we stopped training completely. With just over a month to go until the race, we’re in terrible shape (unless eating ice cream and sitting on the couch are a solid training regimen) with no signs of improvement on the horizon. Perhaps I’m being a bit overly optimistic by placing this on the easily attainable list! If we do, somehow, manage to complete the race, this item is being replaced on my Disney Bucket List with the “Coast-to-Coast medal.” What’s a good Bucket List if it’s not a constantly moving target as you cross things off?! Check.


Do Every World Showcase Attraction in a Day – The biggest obstacle to this one is Sarah, who isn’t a fan of the many films in the World Showcase. I love most of them, and would really like to do every World Showcase attraction in one day. By every attraction, I’m using my own definition of attraction, not Disney’s, so things like the paining areas for kids would not be included in this quest. Although those might be something interesting to add to a Drinking Around the World attempt! 😉

Modestly Ambitious

Take 5 Disney Tours – By Disney tours, I mean in-park tours, not Adventures by Disney tours. I think the latter is an over-priced way for Disney to cash in on its name, and I can’t see us ever doing one of those trips (you never know, though). I don’t know how many in-park Disney tours I actually want to take, but five seems like a good starting point. Even though our number is relatively low, this will likely take a while to complete because I cringe at the tour prices. I don’t necessary think they’re overpriced, but they seem really expensive. We’ve already done the Behind the Seeds at Epcot Tour and the Holiday Time at Disneyland Tour, so we only have 3 to go!

Cruise on the Disney Cruise Line – This is one that Sarah really wants to do, and because of that, I suspect we’ll do it in the near future. Disney Cruises look fun, but there are a lot of places in the world that I’d like to see, so I’m not sure we’ll make it a regular thing. It would be nice to see Castaway Cay! Crossing this one off opened up a new can of worms.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World on the Same Day – This would be very easy for anyone who lives in Florida. Just enter one of the parks before flying to Disneyland. Thanks to time zones, that makes it relatively easy. However, we don’t live in Florida, and I can’t think of many reasons why we’d take a single trip that involved stops in both Florida and California. This is far from the top of my list as it’s something that I think would mostly be cool to say you did (and not actually all that cool to do), but I’m throwing it on here anyway.

Eat at Every Chef’s Table in US Disney Restaurants – Several restaurants at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World have Chef’s Tables, and we think it would be a lot of fun to experience all of these. As our palates become more refined, we find ourselves wanting to experience more restaurants that offer an interactive component with the chefs so that we can learn about what we’re eating. I am still pretty inept when it comes to cooking just about anything, but I enjoy learning new things, and these meals are great for that!

Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum – I often preach that any Disney fan owes it to themselves to visit Disneyland because of the history and significance of the original park. Likewise, I suspect the Walt Disney Family Museum is a must-visit because it offers insight into Walt Disney, the person, and likely will lead to a greater appreciation of the parks. After touring the Walt Disney Studios (and crossing that off our list!), we want to tour the WDFM even more.

Very Ambitious

Stay in Every US Disney Resort-Hotel – This one pretty much speaks for itself. We’re already really close to accomplishing this, nightly rates at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian will likely prevent us from crossing it off the list in the immediate future. It’s tough to justify those rates!

Tour Walt Disney’s Apartment Above the Disneyland Firehouse – Walt Disney’s Apartment is closed to the general public, but it’s my understanding that a few tours go up there, and you can get up there if you know the right people. “Right people” if you’re out there reading this, let me know! 😉

Visit Tokyo Disney Resort – We came really close to crossing this off our Bucket List this year–so close that we even had a hotel room booked at the Hilton Tokyo Bay–but ultimately cancelled because a Spring 2013 trip works better for our friends with whom we’d travel. We didn’t mind too much, as fall airfare to Tokyo is ridiculous. Thanks to Tokyo DisneySea and a clean design-aesthetic in Tomorrowland, Tokyo Disney Resort is my #1 international Disney destination. Check.

Visit Disneyland Resort Paris – Taking Tokyo’s spot for this fall is Disneyland Paris. We’re excited to see London, Paris, and the beauty of Disneyland Paris all decked out for the holidays. Disney Dreams, the 20th Anniversary Celebration, and dinner at Walt’s are all anticipated highlights of the Disney leg of the trip! Check.

Visit Hong Kong Disneyland – Once the third phase of expansion, Mystic Point, is complete at Hong Kong Disneyland, it should be one of the better Magic Kingdom-style parks. We think it would be awesome to visit Hong Kong Disneyland in Spring 2013 for the opening of Mystic Point, but that might be a little ambitious and difficult to time. We may try to tack it on to our Tokyo trip, as that presents the most immediate opportunity for us to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Done–that’s every Disney resort worldwide that’s presently open!

Relatively Unattainable

Opening Day, Shanghai Disneyland – Who among us doesn’t wish that we could say we were there for Disneyland’s opening day? While I realize there’s a bit of a difference between Walt Disney’s Original Magic Kingdom and the sixth Magic Kingdom park, I really think Shanghai Disneyland is going to be something special as it’s breaking the mold on Magic Kingdom style parks, and I want to be there for opening day. I don’t think it will be the last Disney theme park to open in my lifetime, but it could be the biggest. While money is an obstacle here, so too is planning a difficult international trip with an opening date that may either be somewhat fluid or not set sufficiently far in advance to plan the trip. We are going to do everything in our power to cross this one off our list, though!

Shanghai Disneyland Concept Art – ©Disney

Stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite or Cinderella Castle Suite – We’ve toured the Cinderella Castle Suite twice, but we think it would be pretty awesome to stay there (or in the Disneyland Dream Suite) for a night. Disney wisely doesn’t rent this out to the general public, so it seems like our options at this point are winning a contest, becoming high-level Disney executives, or infiltrating the Church of Scientology and using connections there to make me a famous Hollywood actor who will be offered a stay in the Suites. Hmmm…sounds like the last one there is the easiest route! 😉

Photograph the Sunrise in Epcot – I have this listed under “Relatively Unattainable” because right now, park hours are such that it’s impossible to ever be in Epcot for sunrise. Even around New Year’s Eve when the days are shorter and park hours are longer, the earliest Epcot has opened in recent history is 8 am and sunrise is around 7:18 am. Despite this obstacle and my classification, I am convinced that someday I will have the opportunity to photograph the sunrise in Epcot. I don’t know how or why, but I think the opportunity will be there, and when it is, I plan on jumping on it! Check.


Ride Ear Force One, Zip-A-Dee-Doo Duck, or Spaceship Earth Balloon – I don’t know if any of these “vintage” balloons are even still in use, but I would love to fly above the Magic Kingdom in one of them. If that’s not possible, I’d love to fly above anything in one. If that’s not possible, I’d settle for just photographing the things (ideally photographing them above the parks, since I’ve made a big compromise by not getting to fly in it myself ;)).

Your Thoughts…

That’s our Disney Bucket List! What does your Disney Bucket List include? Give us some ideas of things to add to ours, or let us know what’s on yours in the comments!

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78 Responses to “Disney Bucket List”

  1. Mark Roman says:

    Tom, my brother just did all ‘ride’ attractions from all four parks in a day, last Friday. He started at 8 and finished at midnight in the Magic Kingdom. I believe there were total of 41 total attractions.

  2. Amanda Susan says:

    On the last day of an 8 day trip I did all the parks. EPCOT to MK to AK and finally HS for EMH. Wasn’t really that difficult or time consuming.

    A thought for photographing a sunrise at EPCOT. I know you can get early access for either a dining reservation or tour. For the EPCOT tours I’ve done, aside from Behind the Seeds, I was in the park at least 15 minutes before it opened. Not sure how early they let you in.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. Whenever I’ve been in the parks early for a tour or meal, they haven’t allowed much in the way of photography. I’d like some serious time to go around photographing the sunrise!

    • Allison says:

      Try participating in a runDisney event! They often start before sunrise and go through the parks.
      If you’re a walker, a runner not concerned about your run time, or are participating in a run that’s not timed, there are lots of chances to stop and photograph the parks.

  3. Steph says:

    Many of the things that you list here are things that I would like to do. I guess the first thing on my list should be Disneyland, but, as you guys once were, I’m very stuck in my WDW ways. Planning a trip for next summer but want to go back to WDW because of the new Fantasyland. I’m trying to cut myself off now from any pics and things so that it’s a complete surprise. But, I digress.

    I would love to visit the resorts over seas. I’m extremely jealous that you guys are doing Paris this year! I was in Paris, twice, but never had the opportunity to get there. Can’t wait to see the pics and hear stories!

    I also just discovered the chef’s tables and think that would be a great thing to experience. Unfortunately, the price tags on those are keeping me away for now.

    Great list! Definitely a few I’d like to do!

    • Artie says:

      We “drank around the world” for my son’s 21st birthday trip. We celebrated his actual birthday at Victoria & Alberts, always a good choice.

    • Yuliya says:

      I lived in Paris for a few years and was able to visit Disneyland Paris. While not WDW, it was certainly impressive.

      My next international Disney park is Tokyo Disney but that’s a year or two off unfortunately. Have fun!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I can understand being stuck in your ways. Just look at it this way: as cool as New Fantasyland will be…it won’t be as impressive as Cars Land!

      The chef’s tables are going to take us a while, too!

  4. Brie says:

    RunDisney events are great and I wouldn’t worry too much about your lack of training. I ran the Princess Half last year (recap in my blog sidebar, if you’re interested), and lots and lots of people walk the whole thing and spend plenty of time waiting in line for character pictures, etc. The experience is just wonderful–lots of great sights to see along the route and fun, friendly people to chat with as the miles go by. And wear a costume!

  5. Mike says:

    DEFINITELY make time for a Disney Cruise! Just booked our third cruise for next fall – this time on the Fantasy. After that, we’ll only need to sail the Dream to have been on all four. Perhaps I should add “sail all four Disney ships” to my bucket list as an easy one to cross off!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Nice! Who knows, maybe once I take that first cruise I’ll be hooked. They look fun, but I’m not overly excited yet. I’d rather do the international parks first.

  6. Linda says:

    Tom, have you looked at any of the fishing excursions? I know that sometimes they take you into World Showcase Lagoon and they are pretty early in the morning, you may be able to hit sunrise that way.

    We have done a modification of the drink around the monorail

    1. We started at the Grand Floridian, Mizner’s Lounge, just for a cocktail

    2. We took the monorail over to the Polynesian where we had a drink and appetizers at the Tambu Lounge.

    3. We took the monorail over to the California Grill where we had a drink and dinner at the bar

    4. We took the boat from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lounge for dessert and cordials at the little bar near Artist Point

    We had to start pretty early to comfortably fit all this in, but we really enjoyed it! We could have finished off by taking the boat to Fort Wilderness for a drink, but we were pretty done at this point.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s probably how we’d modify the “Suit Up” Monorail Crawl. That, or add Epcot resorts to it (after taking the monorail to Epcot, walking through, and making a stop or two in World Showcase!).

  7. DRToohey says:

    Great list! A lot of these on on my own list…and it seems I’ll finally be able to check off two in the next year (going to San Fran for Thanksgiving and have registered for the Tinkerbell half).

    For Walt’s Main Street apartment: D23 had a “behind the scenes” Disneyland tour last year. It sold out incredibly quickly…but I think that means they’ll probably do an encore at some point. I wasn’t able to get tickets but I’m 99% sure it included Walt’s Apartment (along with a meal at Club 33). So in short…it’s possible and maybe not even as tough as you think (though it would mean planning an extra Disneyland trip).

    As for tours, I’d strongly recommend Disneyland’s “Cultivating the Magic” Tour. I originally only did it because my mom was in town and Walk in Walt’s Footsteps was booked already. However, it blew me away. Like you, I’m a huge fan of the small details and some of the ones they do with plants are phenomenal. Also, it’ll have you noticing ways the “stories” are told through plants – even in ways they didn’t tell you – as you walk around the parks afterwards (e.g. the flowers by Paradise Bay are long, tubular and blue…so they look just like the World of Color Jets).

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Cultivating the Magic sounds like an AWESOME tour! They had just started it when we last went to DLR, and the timing didn’t work for us. I really hope to do it soon. Glad that you liked it–really good to hear that!

      • Melanie says:

        We’ve done Keys to the Kingdom. It was pretty good and they point out a lot of details. But of course, like all tours, it depends on the tour guide and we were lucky to have a good one! In October we’re doing the Wild Africa tour in AK. It’s dang expensive, but it was the incentive for my sister (she loves giraffes) to not make all of us take a day off to go to Harry Potter at Universal.

  8. Tyler says:

    How about taking backstage tours of some classic rides? I would “kill” to take a tour of Haunted Mansion…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That would be awesome. I hear they’re sometimes offered to Cast Members…so maybe become a CM? :)

      • Krista says:

        This is true. During my DCP in 2011 we were offered tours of Dinosaur, Haunted Mansion, and Spaceship Earth. I did all three, of course, and I would have to say that Spaceship Earth was my favorite. You don’t really notice how large it is and how much there is going on until they turn the lights on and you walk through.

        However, I worked at Peter Pan’s Flight and Small World and you are supposed to do walk throughs at night and in the morning. These are what I miss most about my program. A walk through of Peter Pan simply can’t be beat.

    • Jennifer says:

      If you do the Keys to the Kingdom Tour (at least back in ’05 when I did it), you get an “insiders” tour of Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Both were very cool.

  9. Samantha W says:

    Ive been to the Walt Disney family museum, it’s wonderful! Really immerses you in everything Walt. There’s a really cool model of Disneyland that I couldn’t stop staring at. Plus San Fran is amazing! It’s a must!

    • daffystardust says:

      I completely agree.
      Put San Francisco way near the top of your vacation wish list and give yourself at least half a day to see the Walt Disney Family Museum. It was so much greater than any of the reviews I’d read on line indicated.
      Check out my review as part of our SF trip over at Lebeau’s Le Blog in “San Francisco, Day 6: The Rock and a Hidden Gem.”

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Do you have a link to that TR installment? I’d love to photograph San Fran, and luckily I think we’ll be out there for a wedding next year!

  10. Cait says:

    I absolutely love the list, what a great idea! I definitely will be trying the Suit Up Bar Crawl in the future on one of my trips. Because let’s face it, everything is more fun when suited up. I can tell you that the Disney Cruise is a ton of fun. It is expensive, but there is plenty to do and Castaway Cay is beautiful. Same goes for Disneyland Paris: expensive, but a beautiful, beautiful place. As for the Disney Dream Suite, I recommend impersonating Tom Cruise. He seems to get anything he wants, right? =)

    • Cait says:

      Also, I’ve done the Keys to the Kingdom tour and it was wonderful. I was afraid I would know most of the things discussed on the tour, but it was actually ridiculously informative and everything explored offered a new and unique experience. That alone justified the cost for me!

  11. Bridget says:

    i’m not certain on this because i just saw it at a glance, but Disneyland announced they were changing the walk in walt’s footsteps tour. i’m pretty sure they said it would now include a tour of walt’s apartment. sounds pretty neat =)

  12. Sara B says:

    Great list. Regarding the tours: I’ve done the Keys to the Kingdom tour three times over the course of 10+ years (I kept having different people I wanted that I wanted to share it with). It is really, really cool, even for a hard-core Disney fan. I’ve also been to Disneyland Paris just for a day, but I really enjoyed it. I loved seeing the similarities and differences compared to WDW and Disneyland.

    Personally, my list is little more modest for practical reasons, but I’d say: Stay at a deluxe WDW resort, eat at Victoria and Alberts, Run the Princess half marathon, renew wedding vows somewhere on WDW property.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Admittedly, our list is a bit extravagant, but with the exception of the international parks one, this is going to take us YEARS to complete. The only reason we’re going to be doing the international resorts with more urgency is because I just can’t see us making these trips for a long time once we have kids. So we need to get them out of the way ASAP!

  13. Scott Sanders says:

    I would love to visit Toykyo DisneySea! It just looks cool! I really want to take advantage of the special Tables in Wonderland events, especially the dinner at The Great Movie Tide.

    Cruising is addictive! Have you considered a 3-Night on the Dream at the beginning or end of your next trip to WDW.

  14. Laura B says:

    On the last day of our recent trip my husband and I did all four parks. We started with DHS so we could ride Toy Story, then to AK, MK and monorail to Epcot for EMH. Last ride was Spaceship Earth. It was a great way to end the trip.

    I live in San Francisco, so every time someone comes to visit me I always take them to the Walt Disney Family Museum. I always find something new each time. Definitely a must do for Disney fan!

    On my Disney Bucket List:

    50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom: I went to Disneyland during the 50th anniversary and I’m already planning for 2021!

    Visit Tokyo Disney: for all the reasons you stated above

    See Carsland: Going to be checked off as of Sept 7!

    I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll stop now.

  15. Melissa says:

    Yours is a good list! You and Sarah will especially enjoy the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Napa Rose chef’s counter. For now, mine is less ambitious.

    • Visit all the Disney resorts worldwide. 2 down, 4 to go!
    • Get married at Walt Disney World. We’re taking care of that one next year.
    • Have dinner at Victoria & Albert’s.
    • Attend a Party for the Senses during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
    • Run the Princess Half Marathon.
    • Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
    • Take a break from Food & Wine one year so that we can go to Anaheim for Halloween.
    • If I can steal one from you, I love the idea of a “suit up” pub crawl.
    • This last one is less Disney related, but I’d also like to tour the Lasseter Family winery. We drove by the last time we were in the Sonoma area, but I want to go in, see and taste!

  16. Jasmine says:

    Tom, I think you may be in luck. Starting September 9th (I think), the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour at Disneyland will include Walt’s apartment in the tour. I don’t know if you’ll be able to tour the entire thing but they will for sure let you get a peek. So you’d be able to cross two things off your list at the same time:D

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Funny, I saw that posted elsewhere after I posted this list! We may have to give that a try, although I’d much rather have a proper tour of the Apartment.

  17. Adam says:

    Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps

    There will be a few changes to this tour beginning September 9th. The biggest of which is that the tour will now feature an exclusive look at Walt Disney’s private apartment.  The price of the tour will increase to $109 (with discounts still available) and the tour will move to 9:30am daily.  The new tour is already available for booking.

    • Angie says:

      Planning a trip to DL in 2015. I am a WDW goer myself. I will have to put this on my list to do. Thanks for the info.

  18. Jennifer says:

    photographing the sunrise in Epcot isn’t as unattainable as you would think, it’ll just be expensive. you can do a Vow Renewal with Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and schedule your ceremony for one of the countries. The ceremony’s are usually scheduled at 8 or 9am and as the groom, you would be there early. Granted…..you would probably be very busy that morning and wouldn’t have time to devote to a lot of photography, but atleast you would see it!

    Or a cheaper option…..be a GUEST at a Disney Wedding in Epcot.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s all we have to do?! Sounds really easy! Only have to spend a few thousand dollars…no big deal! 😉

      • MichelleD says:

        There is two-for-one way to achieve photographing the sunrise. I have actually been at all four WDW parks before sunrise (which I am realizing now for the first time) and that was achieved by doing a park tour.

        Magic Kingdom – Keys to the Kingdom
        DHS – Toy Story tour (this might only be for Cast Members)
        DAk – Ok, I worked there at the time (CP and then seasonal), but their breakfast times work for this.
        EPCOT – when I was a CP my parents came to visit and we took the Christmas decorations tour (it has been renamed a few time). Pro tip : we were staying at Beach Club so we had to be let in, and this was three days before the winter solstice, from the other gate way early so we could walk through the park and out the front to meet up at EPCOT GR by 8am.

    • Chris McKnett says:

      I think they changed the route of the marathon but signing up for that would have gotten you into EPCOT before sunrise- cheaper, but not as nice as a vow renewal. Speaking of the marathon, we ran past the Spaceship Earth balloon during the 2011 race.

  19. GuySelga says:

    I’ve done WDW and DL in one day twice now and it is a lot of fun but it’s also exhausting. My wife and I started out with a lot of energy at MK but then after sitting on a stuffy Delta airplane for 5 hours really drains me. It also didn’t help that I left Florida in the afternoon. We landed in LAX at 10 PM, drove home to drop off our luggage, and got to the Disneyland main gait at 10:45.

  20. Michael says:

    Tom, if you’re looking for tours, I highly recommend the Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour. It is a wonderful mix of Disney history, park history and information about the steam trains. You also usually have a couple of minutes to take photos of an empty Main Street in early morning light before you board the train to go back to the roundhouse.

    If the reservations folks happen to tell you that no photography is allowed, ignore them and bring your camera anyway. Photography is allowed on the tour, even backstage with the exception of the area between the park and the roundhouse. The reservations folks always mess that up and there is usually at least one person on the tour who is upset when they find out that photography is allowed.

  21. Amy Daniels says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’ve just noticed on the DIS forum that the “walk in walt’s footsteps tour will offer the chance to go to Walt’s apartment.

    Will be available from Sept.

    Hope this helps!

    Great blog as usual! Gonna start our own disney bucket list. One of the challenges is move to the USA so we’re much closer to the Magic. We live in the UK so usually only get to visit once a year :(




  22. Keith LeLievre says:

    For photographing Epcot sunrise, wouldn’t doing the Disney half marathon get you in Epcot around sunrise?

  23. Casey says:

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this, but they usually have the Spaceship Earth ballon out during the Marathon.

  24. Anni says:

    The husband and I did all 4 parks in a day and got engaged somewhere in between. He planned the entire trip by studying flow charts and graphs (I promise we have a life..he’s just a little OCD.). We finished the vacation with a 4 day Disney Cruise to the Bahamas on The Wonder.

    A year and a half later, we did our Honeymoon on the Fantasy this year and finished the trip with four parks in four days (nicer pace…). Please consider blogging about the cruise! Nobody does it like Disney! From Palos’s to the Pirates in the Caribean fireworks – you will not be disappointed!

    PS- first time reader- been up an extra hour I’m hooked!

  25. Nicole says:

    Thank you for sharing your bucket list. Some of your items have just made my own list. I really want to take my children to the opening day celebrations in Shanghai. My mom went to Disneyland’s opening day and remembers seeing Mr. Disney. It sure would be a special treat to continue the magic with her grandkids.

  26. Brian Eberhardt says:

    The Seg-Way tour of Epcot is in the morning before the park opens; this maybe a way to cross off 2 things at the same time.
    My wife & I did this; & it was immense fun.

  27. C-J. says:

    We are headed to Disneyland Paris for my 40th birthday in a couple of year years so look forward to your trip reports! BTW – they just celebrated their 20th Anniversary this year, not their 30th as stated above.

  28. Jason says:

    Great article – I really like how it’s organized by how attainable the list item is…
    Since moving to within an hour of Disney World, we made a bucket list of our own to enhance the fun factor. Take a look here: http://thefloridafamily.com/2012/08/29/my-disney-bucket-list/

  29. Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

    I just re-found this site after a considerable absence, so I’m really late to this thread. My family took me to Victoria and Alberts for my 40th birthday, and all of us dressed well that evening. Because it was my birthday, dammit, we did a suited-up monorail crawl before and after. Tambu Lounge and Mizner’s before hand, dinner with wine pairings, the 11:00 Main Street Electrical Parade, then a quick jaunt to make it just under the wire for last call at Top of the World (we all stayed at Bay Lake Tower that trip).

    It was a wonderfully boozy evening and we all had a tremendous time. The best side benefit was the way five well-dressed people, with everyone but my too-cool-for-school brother wearing mouse ears, fried the circuits of absolutely every guest on the monorail and in the Magic Kingdom that night. It was during the week of Independence Day (albeit an unusually cool and overcast day), so even long pants were an exception.

    The cast members, on the other hand, were totally awesome about it.

  30. Hayley says:

    My friend won a competition to spend the night in cinderellas castle all I can say is wow. 6 girls having a dream slumber party. It was the best experience of my life and feel so honoured to have that opportunity and tick it off my bucket list.

  31. Aly says:

    1. My parents did Keys to the Kingdom and LOVED it. I’d really recommend it, especially for all the little details.

    2. Disney cruises are the best. If you’ve never been on a cruise before you might not notice, but they do everything about 10 times better (bigger rooms, better detail, great food…). It does come with a bigger price tag, but really, the cruises are excellent. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Plus, they’re going to some really cool places these days, so maybe you could do an Alaskan cruise? They’re really awesome. (We went in August and it was extra warm — I’m talking 80 degrees walking around and you could still see glaciers in the distance. It was bizarre to say the least.)

    3. A recommendation: Maybe you could put the links to your accomplished items once you’ve crossed them off? I’ve read quite a bit of your blog, but it’d be nice to click through to a report (if you’ve written it) of you guys completing it so we can read along.

    Yay bucket lists! :) I’ll definitely have to add some of these to mine…

  32. Mitch says:

    How’s it going with your goal to stay at every U.S Disney resort? If you haven’t stayed at the Grand Floridian yet I must say- I’ve visited the place many times but had never stayed until last week. We stayed two nights and had a view of the contemporary, poly, and magic kingdom in a room located on the back of the boca chica building. The experience staying there is absolutely out of this world amazing- they treat you like royalty, it’s endlessly photogenic, and the rooms are huge by Disney standards. I was very skeptical of the grand floridian but I am total convert now- by far the best hotel on Disney property and we have stayed at wilderness lodge, boardwalk inn with a boardwalk view room, contemporary, poly, port orleans, swan, and all star music.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The only remaining hotels on our “list” at the Polynesian and French Quarter.

      Stayed at the Grand Floridian last fall. It was okay, but overpriced.

  33. Krista says:

    What about Club 33? I can’t help but be a bit obsessed with it.

  34. Melissa says:

    “Because suits can make anything more awesome.”

    Are you trying to be Barney Stinson?

  35. Lori says:

    Definitely take an Alaskan cruise. Just got back a couple of weeks ago and had the most wonderful time on the Disney Wonder. This was our second cruise, our first being a 4 night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream. We are from the panhandle of Florida and have some of the most beautiful beaches on our doorstep so wanted to try something different. Wow! Just wow! The pictures you could take! Just sayin! :)

  36. Lindsey says:

    Great post!! I was also hesitant to do DCL but we took our first cruise on the Dream in March of 2012 and we were hooked. Castaway Cay is perfection and everything from the food to the boat to the rooms is first class! I would move that one up to your number 1 and get it done! You will love it!! Start out with a shorter cruise (we did the 5 day, 4 night Dream) to see if you will like it. You won’t be disappointed!!

  37. Marissa says:

    During our latest trip to WDW last April/May, the night before our last day I recommended we tried to get to all 4 parks the next day. We still had a few things at each of the parks that we wanted to see/do and it would make for some pretty awesome memories and photo ops. Needless to say, we made it to the last park, MK, around 8pm when it was dark and pouring – but it was such an awesome day and we did in fact come out of it with some kick ass pictures! I would do it again in a heartbeat!

  38. Brandi Bondoc says:

    Disneyland now includes Walt’s apartment in Town Square as a part of the “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” tour!!


    • Tom Bricker says:

      I noticed that, but I’m pretty sure that the photography allowed up there (based on reports I’ve heard) is very limited. I’d like a chance to go up there, take my time, and photograph the apartment. I’m still hopeful it’ll happen at some point!

  39. Ellen Hillery says:

    We visited California in August. Started with 4 days at DL and DCA. Picked up a car at Alamo in DTD on our last day and drove up the CA coast for a week, ending in SF. The Walt Disney Family Museum is amazing. The location at The Presidio is breathtaking. The museum is sparkling and fascinating. We arrived at opening, caught Bambi in the gorgeous theatre, and spent the entire day engrossed in the museum exhibits. Highly recommend visiting. If I lived in CA, I would become a member!

  40. Great list! And I definitely recommend the Walt Disney Family Museum 😀

  41. Riley says:

    I’ve been to 7 Disney parks in 1 day; Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney Quest and Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom

  42. Kaylee T says:

    I know this is an older post but do you have or do you know where to find a list or spreadsheet of all the restaurants at Disney World? We have made that one of our Disney Bucket List items and I have been looking for one. Thanks!

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