Walt Disney World Hooks: The Reaction Part III

This is the third 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.


First up are Linda and Joe LaMonda who write:

What grabbed me was when my husband and myself who are both 60 years of age decided to go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner.

Our wait time was approx. 30 min. so we decided to take a look around the Lodge, as we had never seen it. It was approaching dusk and we were looking at all the animals outside walking around when I turned to go back into the Lodge and looked up at the windows facing the Animal Kingdom and saw all the young children looking out their windows jumping up and own and laughing at all the animals walking around practically in their own backyard. The looks on all the children’s faces said it all. Disney has the magic!

We can’t wait to go back with our grandchildren so that we can experience the magic with them.


Next is Trish Santana who tells us:

My family of five has many Disney “Hooks”! And I love the term. It fits perfectly. One of our hooks is when we travel through the Walt Disney World tollbooth with the sign overhead! That’s when we get the tingles all over, and can only dream about what family memories lie ahead for us!

Another “Hook” is when we stay at the Polynesian, as soon as you arrive, you walk straight through the hotel to the “back” doors (pool entrance), and stop short when you see Cinderella’s Castle across Seven Seas Lagoon. It takes your breath away, and that’s when you know you’re “hooked”.


Brenda Thompson’s hooks hit home to most of us when she says:

One of my many Walt Disney World Hooks is wandering behind the Polynesian Resort on our first night and watching the boat parade. Having relentlessly studied and researched Walt Disney World prior to our first family trip in 2000 (with a family of 6, we wanted to be prepared for everything and not miss anything), this was the first “attractions” we hit on our first night. The fragrant breeze, people talking about what’s to come, everyone scattering to get the “best seat” – then the music starts. My hook isn’t necessarily the parade (which I do love); rather, the smells, the chit-chat amongst the viewers – and the patriotic music at the end. Even if you don’t have loved ones who serve in the armed services, nothing can take your breath away quicker than listening to that music – and, of course, no one does anything quite like Disney.


Curtis Roe talks of a hook that makes us all think. Curtis writes:

The “hook” which confirms in my heart & mind that “I’m back” inside the magic of Walt Disney World is the (One Little) Spark which goes thru me when I experience Figment at EPCOT Imagination! It makes me thankful & sense-full of the special creativity around me.


Mary Beth Pohlmeier has many hooks to share and tells us of a few:

There are so many “hooks” for me … here are a few of my favorites that always make my Disney vacation extra magical.

Magic Kingdom – Has to be the Donald Duck and Ariel scene in Mickey’s PhilharMagic!

Epcot – The Seas with Nemo & friends. This one because a few years ago, I took a behind the scenes tour and saw the clam-mobiles being built. When I ride, I often wonder if it might be one I saw in progress. 🙂

Hollywood Studios – The Streetmosphere performers … love them.
Animal Kingdom – The Big Blue World song during Finding Nemo – The Musical. Happy tears every time.

A big one for me, being the Disney person that I am, is when we are driving into the “world” and I catch a glimpse of the monorail track… and then see the monorail … I know then that the magic is REALLY close!



David Magruder points out a special hook for him when he says:

Mike Scopa’s recent article on WDW hooks requested readers to submit their own WDW hooks. My WDW hook occurs at one of my favorite places in Disney World – Epcot’s Impressions de France. As soon as the lights dim, the music begins, and the film starts, I know I’m in WDW again. I know I’m in the one place on earth that will always make me feel like a kid again.


Janet McCormick talks of a hook I would have never imagined:

Hope this is the correct way to respond to the featured article on Disney World Hooks!

For me, the “hook” comes during the Magical Express ride to our resort. We’ve completed the three-hour plane ride, boarded the Magical Express, started driving, and then it happens… Disney’s welcome video starts playing on the monitors of the bus. All our classic Mickey characters start greeting us, I don’t have to think about airplane boarding passes, snacks for the plane trip, packing suitcases. I sit in my bus seat & get that childlike feeling of excitement… I realize we’ve done it & we’re back… there’s no place like Walt Disney World!


Elizabeth Howard shares some attraction hooks with us and writes:

Dear Mike,

I loved your article on WDW Hooks, as I too have many.

1) The moment before the doors open and you drop on the Tower of Terror, you can feel the heat from outside. I know this well because the first few times I rode it, I couldn’t make myself open my eyes. After the first ride I braced for the fall when I felt the heat from the outside world, just before the doors opened, and the delightfully terrifying drops ensued! I can now of course keep my eyes open for most of the ride. But I intentionally close them for this moment, so that I can once again feel the heat and the delicious dread before the drop.

2) The distinct whine as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster launches. Waiting in line for the first time, I heard it long before I realized what it was. Now, waiting in line, that sound adds to the whole riding experience. As I inch closer, that whine gets louder, and I am reminded that soon, I’ll be rocketing through L.A. upside down. For me, that’s Disney!
I have many more. I’ll write as I have time.

Thanks for prompting me to relive so many wonderful memories.


Finally, I’d like to end this installment with a special note from Shawna Mott who says:

I look forward to my AllEars® newsletter each week, but it’s extra special when the feature article is by Mike Scopa! I just love how he shares his Disney fascination with us!

I especially appreciated this week’s article on Walt Disney World Hooks. Our family had not given it a name, but we’ve been talking about those moments for the past year or so. There are many moments for us, but one just gets me every time.

I have taken several trips with just my father, as big a Disney nut as me. When we first enter the Magic Kingdom, and cross under the railroad tracks, I just watch his face. He hears the train whistle blow or sees a character interact with a child or listens to a first timer say ‘Wow’, and then it happens – it’s that smile. The smile that says, “We’re here, and it’s gonna be great.” I love these memories with my father and look forward to many more trips with him.

Thank you, Mike, for making me think of this today!

Thank you Shawna and everyone so far for sharing these memories.
I intend to share all your letters with everyone because I know for all of us these hooks really hit home with us.

Oops”¦ just looked at my inbox and it’s calling me again.

See you next time!


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

  1. I start getting ansy when I see the exits off of I-4, and once I see the main gate, I feel my brain go into the seagull’s dialogue from “Finding Nemo”… “Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine…mineminemine”.

    But, when I see the monorail, I turn 6 all over again, and I remain that way for the rest of my visit.

    This my sound strange to some, but probably my absolute FAVORITE part of the vacation is first thing in the morning, going out on my balcony at the Wilderness Lodge, when hardly anyone is up and out. All you hear is the distant sounds of the boat whistles. There’s that newness on everything. Everything is quiet and clean and fresh.

    And, the World feels like it really does belong to me.

  2. My hooks would be first, the smells of Disney from Main Street to the entrance of the Land in EPCOT. As a matter of fact as I was driving to work the one morning this past week, I was taken back to walking into the Land with my wife to enjoy a pork chop at Sunshine Seasons,by the aroma of a nearby restaurant. Or hooked by the popcorn smell from Main Street.

    Second, the feeling of anticipation and excitement, like a kid in a new candy store, seeing the Magic Kingdom Train Station while walking the “red” carpet, because I know at that time I do not have a care in the world.AAAAAHHHHHH. Can not wait to go back real soon.

  3. Dear Mike,

    What a great idea for an article. I hope I’m not too late to the party. I love Disney World but the Magic Kingdom will always have a special place in my heart. Almost every older ride is a hook for me. Riding the TTA at dusk and watching the sun set over Tomorrowland, riding the Carousel of Progress over and over because there are no people at this attraction and singing It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow with my then 5 year old son as we knew the words by heart and having everyone think we were a little touched, riding the Haunted Mansion at night because our eyes have adjusted to the dark and we can see the interiors better for a scarier experience, riding the Thunder Mountain Railroad and having my son telling me every time we ride it to make sure to cover his ears as we climb that part of the ride where the click clacking of the vehicle is really loud, but the biggest hook for me is Main Street. Growing up in a Chinese family, my family was very conservative and didn’t believe in taking frivilous vacations other than to visit family as it was considered a waste of money. However, we did take one vacation to visit family and made a rare stop at Disney World. We stayed for one day and boy did that day leave an impression on me. I had never known such a place existed and was barely aware of Walt himself. I was determined to return when I grew up. The memory is so powerful that it shaped my tastes and interests and wasn’t just a happy memory. Today I bring my son and we have been here every year since he was 3. I couldn’t wait to share this place with him. We must enter the Magic Kingdom from the right side under the railroad tracks and as soon as we pass out of the tunnel we just stop to look at Main Street (the castle isn’t even in view yet). That’s when I know we have arrived, it’s dark and then it’s light with pastel colors. All the vendors, unique smells, people milling about, beautiful buildings, and the music I love so much that is piped into the air serves to remind me of my favorite and only magical vacation as a child. My son is 14 now and I know one day when he is an adult bringing his children he’ll remember his childhood too. Thank you for letting me share this special childhood memory.


  4. I have read most, if not all, the responses posted thus far to your “Disney Hooks” inquiry, and am surprised not to have seen references to Disney characters. For me, there are many things about WDW that represent its uniqueness and let me know I’m experiencing the magic once again. But one unmistakable sign is the presence of the life-size characters that appear only in Disney parks/properties, and tell me the animated fantasies from the big screen actually “live” here.

    This hook has a lot to do with a visit to WDW in the late 1970s, when my grandmother went along with us. Grandma was a very spunky “kid at heart” type, and she really lit up at the sight of dancing dolls in the Small World attraction, as well as the characters roaming the park. I was recently looking through an old photo album and came across a picture of Grandma being hugged from behind by Baloo; her face was absoutely beaming as her hands grasped his, and it was hard to tell if she were 60 years old or 6!

    Grandma passed away in 1988, but this picture seems to capture the youthful spirit I will always remember. So, to me, the characters at Disney, whether at a meet-and-greet, a planned meal, or a spontaneous encounter, are a “hook” that lets me know I’m at the place — maybe the only place — where everyone can interact with childhood icons and at least for a moment be a child again.

  5. Dear Mike, I love reading the letters you recieved regarding “hooks”. I find just as much satisfaction in reading other responses as I do from being in the parks themselves. With that being said, I had many hooks that came to mind. My personal moment, I like to indulge in privately, each trip. I sneak away to Casey’s Corner, get a hot dog and sit on the bleachers and watch the cartoons for a few minutes. Thanks for writing such a great column. I’m anticipating more responses from you readers.

  6. So great to read about everyone’s different “hooks”. My family and I usually stay at the Polynesian. As much as we enjoy the trip to WDW on Magical Express, and sights/sounds/smells of the Great Ceremonial House, we are truly “at Disney” when we take our first monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom. The familar voice warning us to please stand clear of the doors, followed by the sound of the doors swooshing and clicking into place. A few seconds later we hear “Aloha” and the rest of the spiel. It seems to me that the monorail PA announcements are as comforting to WDW veterans as they are helpful to first time visitors.