Walt Disney World Hooks: The Reaction Part II

This is the second installment of emails I have received in regards to my feature in the AllEars® newsletter about “Walt Disney World Hooks.”

I hope you enjoy them.


Andy Flexon writes:

I will keep this short because I am sure there will be many replies, but here are my Disney hooks:

Hollywood Studios: At Fantasmic! when you here the one of a kind music and Mickey triumphantly appears. That first line of music lets me know I am submerged into Disney magic.

Animal Kingdom: You know you’re in Disney when the bugs have priority of leaving the theatre, then you actually feel them leaving the theatre.

Magic Kingdom: Combination of Tinkerbell flying and the kids singing the line, “All your wishes, will come true” at Wishes.

Epcot: The instant before you hit the crash test dummy wall.
Pre Disney: Taking the monorail in Orlando International Airport is definitely the commencement moment where I think, “My Disney trip has just officially begun.”


Sara Sunshine take on WDW hooks sounds familiar:

For me, the hook of WDW is the freedom it gives me to believe. At Disney elephants fly, aliens love Elvis, the world of tomorrow is just around the bend, and Main St’s ice cream can cure any problem you have.

I arrive at Disney a burned out, cynical, single mom and within moments I believe in fairies, cheering for parades, and happily ever after. There are no real surprises at WDW but there is tons of delight, hope, and magic. They give me the safety to believe and let go and for that, Disney will always have my heart and gratitude.


Dara Ross gives us WDW hooks we experience with our noses and our eyes:

I wanted to comment on the Hooks blog. I have two very specific hooks… I want to experience them again. The first one is olfactory: when you come around the corner to the burning of the library at Alexandria, I can smell the burning books. This brings an image to my mind of great amounts of knowledge lost, human history stunted, and ideas lost forever. I am a curious person, and the thought of those answers lost had a significant impact on me.

The second hook is auditory. In the Electromagic parade, there are two or three guys with antennae that are “driving” round spinning globes with argyle patterns of light. When they pass by, you can hear a distinct “singing”. It makes me think of how people in the ’60’s must have imagined that music would sound in the far future.

These two things HOOKED me. I can’t wait to experience them again!


From Jennifer Richards:

I know the subject doesn’t reflect what I would like to comment on. I want to comment on Mike Scopa’s “Walt Disney World Hooks”.
My “Hook” and I am pretty sure it is my brother’s also is at the beginning of “Illuminations” when the narrator blows out the torches and the drums start.

The other is of course, “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantanganse alejado de las puertas”.

Loved the article.


From Kylie Lacey:

Mike Scopa asked his readers for their “Disney Hooks.” So many instances jump to my mind– but what follows are the moments that truly tell me I am in my happy place.

– When I wait at my resort bus stop for the first time and see a park bus pull up

– When I ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, enter the building, and see the wonderful animatronic Buzz talking to us guests.

– When my wonderfully dour Cast Member closes my doom buggy on the Haunted Mansion for the first time.

– My first Dole Whip of the trip

– Entering my Test Track vehicle, strapping in, and rounding that first corner!


From Angelique Williams:

For a while now, I haven’t ever found the time to sit and get a chance to read the articles at the beginning of the newsletters, so this is new to me. But Mike Scopa’s article about ‘Disney Hooks’ got my wheels turning. I was interested. I wanted to know what it was myself. At first, I thought of simple things like the feeling you get when you’re leaving the Magic Kingdom, right after the fireworks. The kids are sleepy and drifting off listening to the music on the bus. You can’t help but smile.

But then he asked me to dig a little deeper…and after much smoke escaped my ears…haha…it came to me! I was raised in Florida, and now reside over 1,000 miles away. But the one thing, that ONE thing that brings it all home to me, the thing that says to me I’m REALLY here is the same thing that I remember from coming to WDW with my parents as a child. It’s when I walk through Liberty Square and hear that long, low whistle of the Liberty Bell. It’s like…there it is! I AM here! I really am! And I’m glad to have been able to share that with my own children now. Thank you Mike for helping me find that hook. I don’t know if I would’ve ever sat down and thought about it before, but it is a very special feeling to me. A goose bumps kind of feeling.


Here’s another auditory hook…this time from Claudia Callinan:


I love reading your newsletter, especially Mike Scopa’s articles. I found his article on Walt Disney World Hooks to be particularly interesting. I ,like Mike, have many “hooks”. However my number one hook is when I board the monorail headed for the Magic Kingdom and hear the monorail spiel. “Welcome aboard the highway in the sky” and “Please stand clear of the doors”. It gets me every time!


Carolyn Zhiss shares a very nice hook with us:

I really enjoyed your last issue, #568, from Mike’s feature article to the information on D23. Thank you.

To answer Mike’s question on my WDW/DLR “hook” I would have to say the reflections of the fireworks in my children’s faces. Standing in the parks with my three almost grown sons and experiencing something we all can share brings tears to my eyes – every time!

Since my youngest is also a monorail fan, viewing the monorail in person or even in a photo brings back a flood of memories from our various trips to WDW.

Keep the great work on the weekly newsletter and your wonderful web site. It’s my “go to” site when I want to check accommodations, park menus or just take a peek at the photo of the week.


Now here’s a hook from Kristi that many of us can relate to:

In response to Mike’s question about hooks, I immediately thought of mine:

My parents have been DVC members since 1992 (I was just 12) and we have gone back (almost) every summer since. For me, it’s the moment that the light turns green on the door to our Old Key West room. I know that when we open the door, a flood of cold air will await us in the two bedroom villa and my brother and I will still race to see who gets which bed. We’ve stayed at lots of resorts around the World, but it’s the seconds that we step up to the OKW room that I can recall all the past vacations I had growing up.


Sometimes it’s the personal touch that hits us as hooks. Take for instance John Kutey’s hook:

One of our personal Walt Disney World Hooks would be when we arrive at the main entrance to our resort (Wilderness Lodge). We drive up to the guard shack as we arrive for check-in. We hand the guard our reservation information. He turns to us and says, “Welcome Home!”


Holly shares a a couple of hooks:

I just read Mike Scopa’s article about Disney “hooks” (August 10th #568) and wanted share some with you.

1) Biggest hook for me that tells me more than anything that I’m in Disney is the felling I get walking under the railroad tracks of the Magic Kingdom and unto Main Street USA. I just love that felling it is a welcome home hug. The true felling of “yes, now I am officially in Disney”.
2) Eating my first Mickey bar of the vacation.
3) Hearing the opening bars for the Main Street Electrical Parade (so glad it is back). I love this so much more than SpecroMagic and the music is a big part. When I hear the synthesizer voice “Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls” I just get goose bumps – hey momma’s home.


Patricia Jean Buffers says the following does not qualify as a hook but I think it does:

I know this statement doesn’t qualify because it does not involve entering a Disney Park but each time I step out of the car at the Yacht Club and into the lobby I tingle with excitement of things to come. It has become a familiar sight, sounds and scents to my family and me as we stay there on every trip. I cry with happiness just thinking about it. Thanks for listening Pat


Finally, to end this group of WDW hooks, Steve Gitler shares a number of hooks we all can relate to:

Hi All Ears Crew,

I had to write in response to Mike Scopa’s article about WDW Hooks. As a veteran of 27 visits (and leaving in 2 days for my 28th), I know exactly what he means – those quintessential Disney World moments that simply can’t be experienced anywhere else. Mike actually touched on what I would list as my #1 hook: the Golden Dreams video montage at American Adventure, and even for some of the very same reasons.

We were also at WDW just after JFK Jr. was killed. That scene had always touched a nerve but at that moment, it took on a whole new level of emotion. Ryan White, the young boy who died of AIDS years ago, is another one who has always brought a tear to my eye.

Earlier in that show, I love the “Two Brothers” song during the Civil War segment. I know it by heart and always sing along. The show is loud enough that nobody around me ever seems to mind.

Needless to say, American Adventure has been my favorite Disney World attraction since it opened in 1982.

Other WDW Hooks for me?

The first time we board the monorail and hear, “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor, mantenganse alejado de las puertes.”

The first lick of Dole Whip (and the brain freeze that often comes with it).

The part of Big Thunder Mountain when you crest the hill and see the animatronic mountain goats moving on the mountainside. When I was in high school, I used to visit Disney with my best friend and his family and we had a tradition of screaming out in our best hillbilly drawl,

“Them critters is moving!” as we reached that point.

I’m sure there are lots more. I’ll let you know next week when I’m there experiencing them all over again. Thanks for the great article.


Again, my thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send me a note with their own personal hooks.

Between now and the end of the month I intend to share every piece of email I receive on WDW hooks with all of you.

I will be co-hosting an AllEars Meet ‘n’ Greet with fellow AllEars colleagues Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Mike Bachand, and Steve Barrett on Sunday, Aug. 22nd @2PM at Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle. Please stop by and say hello.

I’ll be tweeting and sending updates on Facebook.

Back to reading mail.


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6 Replies to “Walt Disney World Hooks: The Reaction Part II”

  1. I think I must have the oddest “hook” you’ve gotten yet! The moment that I realize I’m really, truly in Disney is the moment I smell the water … I know this sounds wierd, but Disney water smells different. Not just the fountains/display waterfalls etc but all the water. I assume it is heavily chlorinated or treated somehow & that is what I’m sensing. Anyway, on our last trip we arrived in the lobby of Pop Century with our sons, ages 6 & 10, and our brand new daughter, age 3 months. The second I smelled that distinctive Disney water I burst into tears! My sons thought I’d lost it! But I was so happy to be back. Can’t wait for next time!!

  2. I am remembering something called Magic Journeys what was that ? Was it in a ride?
    Also there was something that you saw these clips from Kodak and at the end Smile for the Birdie we were all standing like it was before a ride or something can yo help with this?

  3. What a wonderful article! The hook that keeps me coming all the way back to WDW from the UK for over 20 years is this :-

    I am standing just at the bottom of Main Street, and the trolley bus pulls up. Off jumps a bunch of guys and gals and they begin to sing and dance. When they sing the line, “I’m standing right in the middle of Main Street, USA” I burst into tears, because this is the song I have had playing on my MP3 player for the last 1-2 years, or however long it has been since my last trip to the World.

    Thank you Walt Disney – you will never know how happy you have made many, many people.

  4. Mike: What a treat! I had such fun reading these. Even though I had responded to your request, after reading some of these, I thought, “Oh yeah, that is a hook.” Most notably was the one about the civil war song in the American Adventure–gets me every time, too. I start to tear up. What a divided time in our country. Hope to never see that again. Thanks for thinking of this, Mike.

  5. Mike,
    I have a couple of “hooks” that just do it everytime for me.
    1. First and most important, is walking out from under the Railroad station at MK, and seeing the Main Street of a century ago. It is the only place on Earth where I instantly start smiling just because I’m there.
    2. Hering Paul Frees’ wonderful voice as the “Ghost Host” on the Haunted Mansion.
    3. Eating at the Columbia House, which reminds me of my first trip to Disney in 1983.
    And Lastly,
    4. Seeing that great big beautiful giant “golf ball” at the opening of EPCOT.
    I would love to take a walk with Walt Disney to see what he would say about his “Florida Project” and what his “hooks” would be.
    Thanks for you talents and efforts,
    Greg Monroe

  6. My comment is for the Mike Scopa article on WDW Hooks. My first hook has to be the sound of my ticket going into the slot when I am about to enter the park as well as the feel of the turnstile once the ticket has gone through, at that moment I realize I’ve arrived.

    The first park that my group always tends to visit when we get there is Epcot and as much as I thoroughly enjoy Soarin’, Test Track, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth my Epcot hook arrives from arguably every bodies least favorite ride at Epcot, Journey into Imagination with Figment. The moment the “new” version of “One Little Spark” comes on I am blasted back to a time when this was one of the more imaginative and enjoyable rides at Epcot and Walt Disney World(the keyword here is imaginative) and the nostalgia factor ratchets all the way up to 10 as my earliest memory of the World was riding the original Journey into Imagination.

    Finally, the biggest WDW Hook for me is the moment when we as guests are corralled into a room in the Haunted Mansion and we hear “Welcome foolish mortals” it is at that moment that I forget all my cares and prepare myself for another memory.

    As I come to the end of my post, I realize that all my “hooks” were auditory. So, I decided to throw an extra one in there (just for you Mr. Scopa)and that is enjoying a deliciously refreshing Dole Whip…It gets me everytime