17 Smells Disney World Fanatics Will Recognize Immediately

They say smell is the strongest sense when it comes to memory.

That’s why it comes as no shock to us that there are certain smells that instantly trigger a certain Disney memory.

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The Little Mermaid ©Disney

Here are 17 smells any Disney World fanatic will recognize instantly.


1. The Orange Groves on Soarin’ Over California (or the African Grasses on Soarin’ Around the World)

2. Ice Cream Cones from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor 

3. The Stink Bug in It’s Tough to Be a Bug

4. The Fresh and Fruity Scent of the Polynesian Village Resort

Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

5. Freshly Popped Disney Popcorn

6. The Valley of Mo’ara during Flight of Passage

7. Laila Perfume from Norway

8. The Pie in Mickey’s PhilharMagic

9. The Cannons and Water at Pirates of the Caribbean

Grand Floridian Resort

10. The Welcoming Smell in the Grand Floridian Resort Lobby

11. The Main Street Confectionery

12. The Orange Smell at the end of the old Horizons attractions

13. The dusty smell of the Haunted Mansion 

14. “Rome Burning” in Spaceship Earth 

Journey into Imagination…with Figment

15. The Skunk in Journey to Imagination …. with Figment

16. The Crisp, Fresh Smell of the Lobby at The Beach Club

17. The Gingerbread Cookies from Clarabelle Cow’s Float in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade 

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

What are your favorite Disney World smells? Let us know in the comments!

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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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25 Replies to “17 Smells Disney World Fanatics Will Recognize Immediately”

  1. Disney water for sure! Most of the water rides and fountains smell the same – not quite sure what it is, but it reminds my whole family of Disney!

  2. Totally could smell everything as I was reading! My favorite to date is the GF resort ❤️ I liked it so much I found a copycat scent on Amazon and diffuse the smell in my house everyday!!

  3. Im obsessed with Beach Club Lobby! I use my Scentsy Atlantic Air to get close to it for years, and I can’t WAIT for it to be available through Scentsy with their Resort scents!

  4. I discovered this year when my father got Cliniques ‘Happy’ for men, that it smells EXACTLY like Polynesia from Soarin. Hence me running after him all of Christmas Day going ‘you smell AMAZING’

  5. Animal Kingdom Lodge…. has this cedar/wood-fire smell. I specifically have asked about this scent to cast members and NO ONE could tell me what made it smell like that. It is my favorite smell in WDW and the odd thing is that the scent was there in Winter 2015 but it was disappointingly not there in Fall 2016. Anyway… thanks Molly for all you do! ☺️

  6. The Beach Club USED to have a clean,crisp, Wonderful smell!! Now It’s Just some Generic Sweet Flowery Smell!!!! YUCK!!!!!! Go back to The Old Smell!!!!!!!

  7. The rose-scented “white room” in the original “Journey Into Imagination.” It was the most calming place in all of WDW.

  8. I’m going way back for this long gone smell. In Universe of Energy, moving under the big door into the swamp as the moving theaters lined up, the musty, musky, wet dog, swampy jungle smell would hit you. Add the fog and the increase in temperature and humidity, and you really felt like you were there!

  9. The smell of the sweet roasted nuts from the cart in Hollywood Studios! It’s to the right of the stage, just before you go down the steps towards Little Mermaid. Those candied nuts are awesome!

  10. Years ago we stayed at Wilderness Lodge with a parking lot view room. Our room actually overlooked the smoke houses out back for whispering Canyon. I’m convinced that that same smell is piped into all the parks to make people hungry. My smoker at home has the exact same smell and it makes me think of Disney every time I open it. That and Rome burning which we have a candle for that smells exactly like the ride. My favorite ride on the property btw.