We had already began planning our trip to Walt Disney World for the last week in May when we found out that Dinoland U.S.A. would receive a new theme that would include Donald, Launchpad, and Scrooge McDuck. As soon as the date was announced for the new theme I sent Pirate Steven a message and his response to that news summed up our trip, “That’s the Disney Magic.”
It’s true, any trip to Walt Disney World is a magical one. I first visited the park in 1988, but I have very few memories of my experiences. When my wife and I decided to take our family to WDW in 2015 I wasn’t sure what to expect, but that trip was one of the most memorable vacations we had ever taken. My three and five-year olds described parts of the trip fairly accurately over the past three years.
This year’s trip promised to be just as magical (or even more)! Because we were celebrating a few things my wife’s parents decided to join us, and we were all very excited as we loaded into the vehicle for the long drive from Tennessee to Orlando, FL. This blog isn’t so much about chronicling that trip. It’s actually about one specific magical moment of our visit to Walt Disney World.
Because we wanted to begin in the Magic Kingdom, visit Hollywood Studios during Galactic Nights, and catch the last day of Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival we had to plan our trip to Animal Kingdom for our last day in a park. Honestly, I think we all wanted to visit AK earlier in the week, but it did help us look forward to our last day. Animal Kingdom held many of our favorite magical moments from our 2015 trip, and there was even more to look forward to this year.
We had so many things that we wanted to do at AK that Donald’s Dino-Bash! had to wait for the end of our day. When we strolled over to Dinoland U.S.A. from the bridge to Asia (after our THIRD ride on Expedition Everest!) it was already after 4 pm. We were delighted by the carnival atmosphere, and everyone became excited when we saw Goofy meeting guests behind the games. We had a fun time with the Goof, and even won a few stuffed souvenirs.
It was at this point that I realized we had about an hour before the character meet and greets would be ending! So I hurried our group to find Launchpad and Uncle Scrooge to ensure we at least met our favorites (Sorry Donald, but we had already met you twice….). Meeting Launchpad was a lot of fun! My girls smiled the biggest smiles as they showed off their newly acquired stuffed dino and turtle. The pictures we took with him were a lot of fun. I introduced myself as a big fan, and he was excited to see my McDuck Industries shirt.
While we were waiting in line to meet LP we met a Cast Member named Jeff. We had a lengthy conversation with Jeff about Disney Infinity and our love for DuckTales. Jeff was walking around the Bash! making sure guests were having a good time. His personal touch on the event added a little magic… but we didn’t realize how much Disney Magic we were about to experience.
When we were in line to meet Scrooge one of the Cast Members noticed the girls going through the Sun-Staches. If you haven’t heard us talking about Sun-Staches or caught our Sun-Staches Sunday posts on Twitter, they are a new, fun style of novelty sunglasses. They sent us their new DuckTales line to enjoy on our trip to WDW. I have other Sun-Staches stories to share with you in future blogs. This Cast Member actually remembered seeing a tall guy meeting Scrooge with the Scrooge McDuck glasses earlier that week… no idea who this guy was….
That’s when my girls told the Cast Member about our podcast and fan site. They are much better at promoting DuckTalks than I am. There were so many times at the parks that they would tell people about DuckTalks, and tell people to check it out if they like DuckTales. The Cast Member working the line (I hate that I didn’t catch her name) was excited about our podcast, and the glasses.
That was when another Cast Member named Matthew noticed us. He was Scrooge’s “handler” and he was helping guests. He became very excited to hear that we had a podcast about DuckTales and by the Sun-Staches. Matthew created a very magical moment for our family. He asked the girls to stand behind him and put the glasses on and that they would surprise Scrooge. And boy was he surprised! We had a great time with Scrooge, and probably spent more time with him than we should have, but everyone was having a lot fun including the Cast Members. As we scanned our Magic Bands, Matthew asked us to wait a moment for Scrooge to meet a few more people and he would like to do something special for us.
After Scrooge met a few more guests, Matthew came over and told us that he would like for us to escort Scrooge from his area! Our family was allowed to participate in a mini-parade as the girls walked hand-in-hand with Scrooge McDuck through the Dino-Bash! They were smiling ear to ear as we walked through the crowd. They were waving at everyone and I couldn’t believe what was happening.
When we got to the spot to drop Scrooge off, he spent more time with the girls before leaving. There was a crowd gathering around us as they played together. That was when Jeff appeared again. He was curious as to what was going on, and he was delighted to see our Sun-Staches. Matthew told Jeff about our podcast and that we were HUGE DuckTales fans. Jeff became very excited by our fandom, and asked if we had already visited the rest of the ducks. He then proceeded to escort us around the rest of the Dino-Bash! to meet all of the characters.
After we said goodbye to Jeff we went over to the party truck and enjoyed dancing with Chip and Dale. While the family was enjoying the music I snuck off to thank Matthew. I couldn’t believe the experience we just had, and I wanted to make sure I remembered his name. As I thanked him, he thanked me. He said that it was the fans that allowed them to do things like that, and that they appreciated what we do as fans.
The people working in the Dino-Bash! area are enjoying the new theme, and they want Disney Duck fans to make it a destination for their trip to Animal Kingdom. If you want to see more DuckTales in the parks, visiting this area is the number one way to let them know. If you see Jeff or Matthew let them know the DuckTalks podcast sent you.
I know our experience at Donald’s Dino-Bash! wasn’t the norm for every guest, but I assure you the newly themed area is the perfect place to take your family for a fun time. The music is hopping (including the new DuckTales’ theme), everyone has a smile on their face, and there are eight characters specially dressed for the Bash! It was so much fun, and the most exciting area we experienced during our Walt Disney World trip, it was electric. We’ve heard that Donald’s Dino-Bash! may become a permanent theme for Dinoland U.S.A., and I am glad. I really hope the area includes the Dino-Bash! when we return sometime in the future.
Have you visited Donald’s Dino-Bash!? Have you had any magical Disney moments to share? Join the conversation below or at Twitter @DuckTalks.