That moment when you get to introduce your young family member to their favorite Disney character live, in person. The look on their face when they get to meet Mickey Mouse, Winnie The Pooh, Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear, Anna and Elsa, Moana, Darth Vader, Spider-Man, Phineas and Ferb or another popular character is just amazing.
Fireworks shows and nighttime spectaculars.
How about this story? After the September 11th attacks, all of the Walt Disney World theme parks and activities were closed for the day. However, when it seemed that nothing would go on, they surprisingly ran the Electrical Water Pageant that night, with one small change...they kept the American flag floats lit during the entire trip around the lake.
On a slightly similar note, when the parks closed that day the character actors were given the choice to go home and be with their families. Many went home but some elected to stay. They were shuttled to the nearby Disney resorts and proceeded to do meet-and-greet sets for upwards of ten hours for the guests who suddenly had nowhere to go. The parents were numb with shock and the children didn't understand what was going on, but in the midst of their own fear the characters were there to offer hugs and a reminder that the world wasn't completely dark.
Seeing the Flag Retreat at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom. It reminds you that Disneyland is (in Walt's words) "a tribute to the ideals which have shaped America."
It's a Genius Bonus / All There in the Manual one, but when Mission: SPACE opened, it featured several plaques in the outside queue area with quotes on them from famous people related to space travel, one of them being from Christa McAuliffe, the woman who was supposed to have become the first teacher in space, but who died in the Challenger disaster. The woman who was the runner-up, Barbara Morgan, overcame her friend's loss, entered regular astronaut training, and flew on the shuttle after all, twenty years later. Morgan was invited to dedicate a plaque of her own on that wall at Mission: SPACE... and it's right next to McAuliffe's.
In the queue for Soarin' Over California, there are images and artifacts from every era of aerospace, including a photo of the Space Shuttle Columbia, dedicated to the memory of the crew.
The Partners Statue, Showing Walt And Mickey holding hands.
One version of the story behind the statue from sculptor Blaine Gibson is that Walt is pointing down Main Street and saying to Mickey, "Look at all the people who came to see us today!"
A companion statue, Storytellers, has been installed in California Adventure depicting a young Walt Disney fresh off the train in Burbank with the earlier pie-eyed Mickey sitting on his luggage. And unlike Partners, you can stand next to it for photos!
At Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the Friends Statue, which features Roy O. Disney (Walt's brother and business partner) and Minnie Mouse on a bench with Roy holding Minnie's hand warmly just as Roy guided Walt throughout the years and guided the completion of Walt Disney World right after Walt's death in 1966. It's the heartwarming tribute to the big brother who supported his little brother's dreams all those years and then postponed his retirement just to see his brother's last dream to completion.
It's called The Happiest Place on Earth for a reason. Try not to be in a good mood from the instant you walk in; there's something intangible about the parks that make you warm and happy the second you're in. And kids doubly so.
The return of Captain EO to Epcot in 2010, after Michael Jackson's untimely death. While its initial popularity didn't last (it closed in January 2014), the comeback was welcomed by fans.
"To all who come to this happy place...welcome."
The construction of Walt Disney World itself. After Walt died in 1966, his older brother Roy, who was just about to retire, took complete hold of the Florida project to see that his brother's dream became a reality. It's pretty much summed up in the dedication plaque.
"Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney. And to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place: a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together."
The day before the Disney World version of Snow White's Scary Adventures closed, an autistic fan of the attraction received permission from Cast Members to ride as many times as he wanted, until he could truthfully proclaim that the number of times he rode it during all his trips to Disney World totals 3,500. Snow White even briefly accompanied him.
The part of California Adventure that Ariel's Undersea Adventure currently resides in used to have a theater playing a documentary titled, Golden Dreams. Whoopi Goldberg portrayed the mythical Queen Califia, who took guests through the history of the state named after her, while occasionally providing encouragement to Californians in need. Eventually, she encounters a young Steve Jobs expressing his dream of selling personal computers to everyone in the world. Steve Wozniak retorts, "Dream on, Steve." Califia chimes in, "Keep dreaming. Trust me on this one", then bites from a red apple.
Remember the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse? It's Tarzan's treehouse these days, and at the end of the tour, tourists now land in Jane's camp, complete with a phonograph. A phonograph playing the song the Swiss Family Robinson danced to. Even when the park changes with the times, Disney still remembers its past.
Look hard enough in the caverns near Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid at Disney World, and you'll find a carving of the Nautilus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. That movie's ride closed almost 20 years before New Fantasyland first opened, on top of the submarines' lagoon, yet Disney still bothered including a nod.
Doubly sweet? They've put a little knot in the Pooh-themed area that resembles the Nautilus.
This◊ story◊. A parkgoer's wheelchair broke down, and her cell phone was not getting any reception, leaving her unable to call her aide. She was rescued by Peter Pan, who enlisted other parkgoers to move the wheelchair into the shade, chased off people who tried to take pictures rather than help, got someone to lend a working phone, and stayed with her until her aide arrived -staying in character the whole time.
The aftermath of Mickey's fight against the villains in Fantasmic! has everything go dark. Suddenly, Tinker Bell emergpes, waving her wand. Following her comes the Steamboat Willie incarnation of Mickey, driving a boat with various Disney-owned protagonists.note Disneyland uses the Mark Twain, while Walt Disney World features a replica of the Steamboat Willie boat. Most of them come from the Disney Animated Canon, of course, but Mickey's friends and even sometimes a few live-action or Pixar characters, such as Mary Poppins and Buzz Lightyear, join the ride. The passengers wave ribbons at the viewers, while the chorus reinforces the power of imagination and dreams.
The 20th Anniversary performance at Disneyland worked in appearances by characters whose presence at the theme parks had reduced drastically since the show's 1992 premiere, such as Roger Rabbit, Brer Rabbit, and the Three Little Pigs.
There's something about the voices used in Carousel of Progress that just feels very homey.
In 2003, the Negativland sound collage radio show Over the Edge did a show on Eminem at his most uncensored, vile and hateful. Producer Don Joyce subsequently apologized to listeners for a "toxic" show. His (mostly) non-ironic antidote was "A Nice Trip to Disneyland", using music, sound effects and voice acting (including outtakes) from classic rides and shows including the entire Carousel of Progress.
There's a reason Horizons is still one of the most missed Disney rides, even 14 years after it closed. There was something about the ride that just made you feel so good after you rode it.
The anthem of Walt Disney World's 25th anniversary, "Remember the Magic", can evoke fond memories of good times spent with loved ones anywhere, not just at Walt Disney World.
The finale of It's a Small World has children from all over the world gather in one place to sing about how even though their cultures and lifestyles can seem very different, they can find unity in acknowledging things they do share, such as hopes and fears.
ThisCracked article, written by a Disney World cast member, lists several reasons why working at the park is hard. It concludes by saying that despite everything, the people working there wouldn't take any other job because they truly believe in Walt's mission of making great memories for families.
The entire "Share a Dream Come True Parade" which debuted in Walt Disney World in 2001 as part of an event called "100 Years of Magic" made in honor of Walt Disney's 100th birthday. All the floats (with the exception of the final float which features Peter Pan, Minnie, Donald and Goofy) had giant snow globes with characters inside.◊ The parade previously had a show mode, where the parade would stop and have the guests join the parade for a few minutes. But before the parade would stop, each character would have a wish and tell the audience to have Tinker Bell fly across all the floats. Which then would cause the characters inside each snow globe to have their wishes granted, and cause pixie dust to fly around the characters inside them as well causing the float to spin around. For example, the "Wish Upon a Star" float◊ would cause Pinocchio to turn into a real boy, and Aladdin's would make the flying carpet fly. The soundtrack for the entire parade is very sweet, depending on what float would come by. The parade lasted until fall 2006, when it got replaced by "Disney Dreams Come True Parade".
At the Frozen-themed Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome show in Disney Hollywood Studios, the ambassador of the Studios offers to welcome the two sisters by leading guests in a sing-along of "Let it Go". Anna admits that this will mark her first time hearing the song, since Elsa performed it in seclusion. After the sing-along finishes, Anna exclaims, "Oh, you were all so adorable! I love that song!"
The scene in the 3D movie "Mickey's Philharmagic" where Donald goes after the Sorcerer's hat on a Magic Carpet in Agrebah while Aladdin and Jasmine sing "A Whole New World". At the end of the song, Jasmine notices Donald reaching for the hat on their carpet so she responds by picking it up and placing it on his head. Donald's delighted reaction, and the fact that Jasmine was the only one on the film who actually helped Donald get the hat back, are both really heartwarming.
In Mystic Manor from Hong Kong Disneyland, Lord Henry Mystic keeps the monkey he rescued from the spider web earlier as a pet and names him after his favorite Uncle, Albert.
The page image, which was taken at the France Pavilion at Epcot in 2011, shows an anonymous young girl dressed as Marie complete with her holding a bear (Possibly Duffy) taking a walk with Marie herself and both holding hands. This image might also make some viewers tear up due to how sweet this is.
Soarin' Over California. In addition to that picture of the Columbia astronauts mentioned earlier, there's all those images of California from above set to tear-jerkingly epic music. It serves as a reminder that the world is such a magnificent place, and you've barely seen any of it.
This video of Baymax walking backwards, taken at the (sadly now discontinued) Big Hero 6 meet and greet at Disneyland.
Really, anyone meeting and hugging Baymax at Hollywood Studios. It really is like hugging a giant marshmallow!
In June of 2016, a group of fans started to organize an event for the Saturday night’s “Kiss Goodnight” at the Magic Kingdom, to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando Pulse Club shootings. Disney, despite not being the ones to organize or sponsor the event, allowed the event to continue, which they didn’t have to, and allowed Cast Members to attend. During the event, at least 800 guests and Cast Members held up their phones or glow sticks in tribute during the Kiss Goodnight show, which they repeated twice. Afterwards, as the guests were leaving, Cast Members gave guests free Rainbow Pattern Mickey Mouse and Hand Heart pins.
The Mickey's Toontown area at Disneyland usually opens about an hour later than the rest of the park. On at least one occasion when the gates opened, Mickey and Minnie came out to greet the guests. Mickey leaned down to hug a few children, and then took two of them by the hand and led them into his neighborhood like old friends. That moment will be with those kids for life.
Just about everything done in conjunction with Disneyland's 60th Anniversary. This includes the visually stunning firework and projection show "Disneyland Forever" and a special version of World of Color involving Walt's plans for Disneyland and his older work in general. They also got a port of Hong Kong's nighttime parade, "Paint The Night", their first LED light-using parade, in which you can even interact with the lights at one point.
Special mention goes to the last part of both World Of Color Celebrate and Disneyland Forever where you can see Mickey and Walt holding hands and walking (Forming the Walt Statue).
One of the exit songs playing after World of Color: Celebrate is a cover of the song Disneyland from the musical Smile, written by Disney Legend Howard Ashman (who wrote the lyrics to the songs in The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin) prior to his work with Disney. The original song was sung by Disney Legend Jodi Benson (also before she took on the role of Ariel).
Many people propose at the parks, like here. It is adorable.
The area music heard in Tommorowland is largely comprised of electronic rearrangements of Disney songs. In particular, the medley for Carousel Of Progress ("Now Is The Time", "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow") and "If You Had Wings" can be very sweet to listen to.
This spot for Tokyo Disneyland centering on a little girl's experience at the park as she grows older; also a very, very happy Tear Jerker.
While the Spectromen from Spectromagic can be viewed as creepy for some, they actually have a cute backstory on how they met Mickey and why they only show up at night. Yes, even the Spectromen have their own heartwarming moment. Here's the story of the Spectromen and Mickey in question:
"The Spectromen are keepers of light. They hold the parades magical light and transform it for you in the midst of the night. They come from a land called Light Spriation where everything is filled with rays of light and magical bursts of color. They were always afraid to come out of hiding and share their magical light, until one day, Mickey, the Spectromen King, asked if they would join him in a nighttime festival of magic and light, and come and bring the magical light for everyone to see. Scared to confront people, they hesitated. After much consideration, the Spectro Men agreed. They brought along their magical Spectro Balls and Light-Trumpets to spread the joy of their magical light to everyone. Mickey controls the light they magically create and powers the parade through his Electro-ball, changing it from night to day, or crystal to multi-color."
One of the Spectromen, Hyper-Chic, is heard giggling at one point when he/she sees one of the guests. You can tell the Spectromen really love the guests.
What's more heartwarming is that, as Cracked.com found out, even though those outfits are uncomfortable as heck, they're willing to wear it to see the joy on children's faces.
Hong Kong Disneyland's "Mickey and the Wondrous Book" is pretty much a CMOA for the entire park, but several moments stand out:
The fact that Mickey and Goofy are willing to search for Arendelle through a massive book of every Disney-created story ever to get Olaf back home.
Near the end, Olaf introducing the duo to Anna as his two new best friends.
Elsa not being only willing to greet Mickey and Goofy, but deciding to sing her signature song for them.
The ending montage, with live-action and various Disney and Pixar characters portraying some of the nicest happy endings in Disney history. It ranges from Cinderella heading to the ball in her signature movie to Woody and Buzz shaking hands in Andy's bedroom at the end of Toy Story 3.
Older tropers may recall the story of Suzy Dewey, aged six, a leukemia patient from Grand Rapids. She'd been in the papers a few times in 1965 for kindhearted folks' various pre-Make A Wish type actions to fulfill her simple desires (a dollhouse, a wig when her hair fell out). In December 1966, the family was invited to Disneyland by a man claiming to work for Jerry Lewis. The invitation was a hoax. Cue outraged national headlines: "Meanest Man Has Laugh at Dying Child's Expense." Two days later, an anonymous woman millionaire financed the trip and sent gifts for the Dewey girls. On December 28, 1966, two months before her death, Suzy Dewey arrived in the Magic Kingdom.
Much of the upcoming Animal Kingdom show Rivers of Light can not only come across as totally awesome, but also pretty cute to look at during certain scenes, as this early preview event shows.
At Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, there is a restaurant called Trader Sam's Grog Grotto that features the animatronic figure of the tiki god Uh Oa, who was featured in the infamous Under New Management version of the Enchanted Tiki Room. Whenever someone orders a special drink named after her, she comes to life and bellows a line from that version of the show. Doubling as Visual Effects of Awesome, the fact that this figure is even featured there at the restaurant is heartwarming in that while the Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management was controversial, it shows Disney is still willing to acknowledge even some of its more negatively received attractions as part of Disney World's history and pay tribute to it accordingly.
This story from a former employee's Reddit AMA tells of two young girls - traumatized at witnessing the death of their parents - suddenly being enveloped in all the love and care the performers had to offer, culminating in a visit with Mickey that they would never forget.
This 2017 commercial explores the notion of Disneyland attractions and landmarks having a place to stay after disappearing from the park. A female Cast Member makes her way through warehouse #64658note the zip code of Walt Disney's childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, passing Disneyland historical relics of all shapes and sizes, including some still-functional rides and Audio-Animatronics. When she finds some dimmed Main Street Electrical Parade floats, she re-activates them with a new light, allowing the Parade to make a temporary return "home" to Disneyland.
A Disney commercial from the 1990s involving a man gets a call from his son, telling him that he's a grandpa (for the first time, probably). Grandpa has a brief Imagine Spot of a boy at Disney World running towards him yelling "Grandpa, Grandpa!" Then the grandpa hears what the son is naming his new grandkid: Maggie. Another Imagine Spot appears, this time featuring a girl at Disney World running towards him yelling "Grandpa, Grandpa!"