Heartwarming: Disney Theme Parks

  • 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 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, warmed this troper's heart up, and was his favorite part of Disney World.
    • 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.
  • Mickey Mouse is able to talk to visitors at Disneyland. However, it was a temporarily attraction. But it's a very magical moment for visitors to meet Mickey when he's able to talk.
  • One for fans of WDW as it was back in the 1980's and early 1990's. As a special treat for the park's 40th anniversary in 2011, they arranged for Dreamfinder from the old Journey Into Imagination to make a surprise appearance at D23 after a 15-year absence from Walt Disney World. Seeing Dreamfinder singing "Just One Spark" again after all these years might bring back memories to the older fans of Journey Into Imagination.
  • 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.
    • Even more sweet? The submarine came back in Epcot for a while, and they released pins. This goes to show how many people loved Verne's novel, the 1954 movie and the ride itself, which was pretty much Scenery Porn on the whole.
  • Disney imagineers reading off Twas The Night Before Christmas. Truly heart warming, and it doubles as a nice eCard!
  • 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  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.
  • 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.
  • This Cracked article, written by a Disney World cast member, lists several reasons why working at the park is hard. Then concludes it 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.
  • Any video featuring guests (especially children) meeting Marie. It's just so cute to watch children giving hugs and interacting with Marie, who is considered by quite a few viewers to be one of the cutest Disney characters next to Figaro, Chip N Dale, Olaf and Baymax.
  • 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.
  • The Mickey's Toontown area at Disneyland (which as of late 2014 has been rumored to be replaced with a Star Wars Land) 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.
    • The anthem/theme song for the park's 60th year, called "Forever Young", also counts as a Tear Jerker (it can be heard during the aforementioned "World Of Color Celebrate"). Richard Sherman also composed another anthem, for the "Disneyland Forever" projection show, called "A Kiss Goodnight".
    • 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).
  • This video of a Marine father surprising their daughters at "Snow White's Wishing Well" in Disneyland.
  • At Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris before the parks close. Mickey Mouse can sometimes be seen waving goodbye to guests or wishing people goodnight. This also doubles as a Tear Jerker, especially for people leaving the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
  • Many people propose at the parks, like here. It is adorable.
  • The area music heard in Tommorowland not only has awesome electronic versions of various Disney sings. But the medley for Carousel Of Progress (Now Is The Time, It's A Great Big Beautiful Tommorow) and a "If You Had Wings" can be very sweet to lesson to.