Don’t you just love the smell (and smells) of Walt Disney World? You know what I mean. The scents that make you smile or wrinkle your nose every time you encounter them. They are the smells that you may have encountered in some other form in some other place, but still stir up fond memories of previous visits to a Disney park, or allow you to stop, breathe deeply, and truly BE in the moment.
I read not too long ago that there are people who actually go on “smellwalks” around their cities, documenting the odors unique to a particular place, and looking at how those smells evolve as the cities do.
We could do that for the Disney Parks, couldn’t we?
Take the smell of the lobby of Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort. I’m sure someone spent a lot of time deciding on that particular scent — it’s a little floral, a little like powder. I don’t know why, but it makes me relax. I take a deep breath and realize that I am finally on vacation.
Here are some of the other amazing, interesting, overwhelming and subtle scents that I love and will always associate with Disney World:
The Aromas of the Food
First, you have to admit that smells from all the food around the parks is enough to set your mouth to watering:
- the slightly maple-y caramel smell wafting out of the open doors of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Confectionery
- the sticky-sweet smell of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street
- the heavenly smell of fresh-popped popcorn from the popcorn stands scattered around the World
- the smoky, greasy smell of turkey legs (which are harder and harder to find!)
- the combined aroma of burgers, rotisserie chicken and French fries in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland
- the sugary, cinnamony smell of churros, sold in a variety of spots
- the smell of buttery, warm Werther’s caramel wafting from Karamell-Kuche in the Germany pavilion in Epcot
The Smells of the Attractions
Then there are the scents woven into various attractions. Some make you smile, some make you grimace, but all make you sit up and take notice:
- grass and rosewater in Soarin’ Around the World
- sweet apple pie in Mickey’s PhilharMagic! in the Magic Kingdom
- damp earth and flowers in Avatar Flight of Passage
- the smoky smells of Rome burning in Spaceship Earth
- Claire the stinkbug’s gaseous output in It’s Tough to Be A Bug!
- the sharp, pungent skunk odor in Journey into Imagination with Figment
- the almost noxious smell of gasoline at Tomorrowland Speedway
While many of the scents that are evocative of Disney World have (we can guess) been designed to evoke specific responses and emotions, there are also many scents that are created accidentally, either by Mother Nature or practical necessity.
First, there are the myriad natural scents. The shaded pathways of Animal Kingdom and also the Polynesian Village Resort smell green, lush and slightly acidic with freshly laid mulch and decaying leaves; water rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and the Gran Fiesta tour usually smell of algae and wet tourist; the inside of the monorail is slightly musty; and the horse barn at the Fort Wilderness campground smells of the mixed scents of hay, tanned leather and manure.
Then there are the roses. Let’s not forget to stop and smell the beautiful roses! The rose-lined path in Epcot that leads from Future World to the World Showcase is a riot of varied colors and sublime smells. If you can, spare just a few moments and take a detour to smell the Epcot roses.
Other smells that I will forever associate with my Disney visits? The light perfume of “Laila” sold in the Norway pavilion. The aromas of the savory dishes being prepared in Boma and Jiko that waft up to the lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge. The fresh sheets and linens in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin also have a particular smell — in fact, I think I’ve found the starch they use!
There’s no doubt that the sense of smell is powerful. I wonder what you’ll discover on your next “smellwalk” around the Disney Parks?
What are YOUR favorite smells around the Disney Parks? What memories do those smells evoke for you? Let us know in the comments below!