/ Monday, April 9th, 2012

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Top Ten WOW Moments in Walt Disney World and Special Announcements!

Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #269 for the week of April 8, 2012.

This week, we’re going to look at some of those moments in Walt Disney World that leave you breathless, speechless, smiling, laughing, or maybe even a little teary-eyed. From the incredible to the amazing to the spectacular to the emotional and memorable, we’re going to explore our Top Ten WOW Moments in Walt Disney World.

I’ll have the answer and winner for last week’s Walt Disney World Trivia Question of the Week, and pose a new one for your chance to win a Disney prize package.

I’ll then share a not one, but a number of announcements about what the future holds for me, WDW Radio… and you!

I’ll then play more of your voicemails at the end of the show. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the WDW Radio Show.

Information and Links from This Week’s Show:

Question for YOU: What is your favorite “WOW” moment in Walt Disney World?

Stay tuned for more information about the WDW Radio E-Ticket Event – “An Evening with the Secret Society of Historical American Adventurers” on Friday, September 28, 2012 at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot and survey about our 2013 WDW Radio Land, Sea and World events!






58 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #269 – Top Ten WOW Moments in Walt Disney World”

  1. Blake says:

    Yes! Magic Kingdom’s welcome show is one of mine as well. My ringtone is Mayor Weaver shouting “The Magic Kingdoooommmmmm!!” from our last trip, it makes me smile every time.

  2. Emma Anderson says:

    The answer to this week’s trivia question “For those of you just walking in, you’re late” – that quote is from Ellen’s Energy Adventure.

  3. kenlocke1 says:

    To go off the mainstream a bit. One of my wow moments is Cirque. The actors and especially the kids in this show are just awesome. I cannot believe the stuff they do in the show. Money well spent.

    Also, Walking through Downtown Disney at night during the Christmas Holidays. The sights, smells, the music and the feelings I get when there just make me never want to leave.

  4. Jennifer Tyson says:

    I can’t believe no one mentioned my biggest WOW moment…seeing, hugging, and photographing with Mickey Mouse!!! No matter my age, or numerous moments with him, I always get teary eyed and so excited every time I see him. It all started with that Mouse!

  5. Shanna says:

    My WOW moment is on the Magical Express bus as you pass under the Walt Disney World sign. I get goose bumps and I know that I am home. Anothe WOW or AWWWW moment is during Wishes.
    I cry everytime ( at MK or even at home) that I hear the kids start to sing “Star light, Star bright…..”. I also kind of had an idea that there was going to be a change with you and Celebrations mag as per Facebook it says that you ended work with them as of 2012.
    Hope that someday I can make it down some time for the October events.

  6. Chris Bowman says:

    Great top 10. I’ve actually done this with my family before. Here are my top 10, 2 at each park and 2 extras:
    MK: 1) Mayor opening main street, 2) “New” Wishes
    HS: 2) Tower of Terror down Sunset Blvd. 2) Dining in Mama Melrose’s
    AK: 1) Expedition Everest, 2) Festival of the Lion King
    EPCOT: 1) Mexico San Angel Inn, 2) Illuminations
    Extras: 1) Monorail, 2) Soarin

  7. Jennifer Archer says:

    my WOW! moment was the first time my husband and I saw the magic,memories,and me castle show. It was just amazing, but for me when I heard Walt’s voice and I saw him on the castle that was it for me. I gasped and I was shooting tears out of my eyes like a cartoon. It was amazing! I love the castle show!

  8. Christa says:

    SO bummed that I’m *just* going to miss this year’s E Ticket Event by one day! 🙁 I know it’s going to be fantastic! I hope I’ll see you around Epcot on 10/1. Maybe a Belgium waffle meetup??! LOL F&W is just around the corner.

  9. Kate says:

    One of my WOW moments is the music associated with the attractions and especially with Wishes; the playing of the Soarin’ music near the end of this week’s how reminded me of how the music helps with the goosebumps factor. I’m not the hugest fan of Soarin’ the ride (I’ve ridden it a few times and am not as impressed as everyone else, I guess haha) but I LOVE the powerful music that goes along with it.

    I also listen to the Wishes soundtrack constantly before my WDW trips and adore listening to the Peter Pan’s Flight queue music when I’m feeling bummed out – it always helps me cheer up a bit.

    I think the music in the attractions facilitates a WOW reaction to the complete immersion of the senses when you are in the park, personally. Now to listen to some WDW music…hmm…

  10. Becca says:

    The Polynesian is my favorite resort – The warm “Aloha” and Welcome Lei ALWAYS makes me tear up. Just the smell walking into the Grand Ceremonial House…it’s my “You’re Home” WOW moment.

  11. robert williams says:

    I went to disney world the first time in 1997. The first fireworks I remember were at epcot and they were beautiful. Sadly my dad passed away the next year so my wow moment is everytime I go back I stand in the exact same spot it makes me feel like for those few minutes he’s back with me.

    I cry from both how beautiful the show is and the memories.

  12. Eric Hoffman says:

    Rounding the corner from Town Square to Main Street – first full frontal view of the castle. Emotion every single time. Always.

  13. michelle says:

    just the thought of being there and the great memories your gonna have

  14. Jay says:

    One of my WOW! moments was at Turtle Talk with Crush. During a fairly quiet moment, my daughter, who was about 2 at the time, let out a whooper of a scream. Not missing a beat, Crush looked across the audience and said “I didn’t know one of you spoke dolphin!” Everybody got a huge laugh and it was one of those rare moments when you don’t cringe when your child screams in an audience.

  15. Paula says:

    My WOW moment always happens while I’m standing under the monorail line as it goes by in front of Magic Kingdom. That “whooshing” sound gets me every time!

  16. Candra says:

    A few of my WOW moments:

    1)taking the Magical Express and arriving AKL. When the automagic doors open to the lobby and the smell of Boma and Jiko fills the air = heaven

    2)The magic,memories and me show at the Magic Kingdom. I saw it for the first time back in Sept. It was my boyfriends first trip to the World and to see Walt Disney pictured on the Castle… a very special moment!

    3) Not sure why these are WOW momenst for me, but taking the steps down into The Land and boarding Living With The Land boat ride/ and being seated at San Angel Inn for lunch along the water and hearing the mariachi band – LOVE LOVE LOVE

  17. Candra says:

    Oh, and of COURSE, Wishes! Can’t get much more Disney than that!

  18. Chris says:

    My WOW moment is everytime I hear “Welcome Home” on one of the Disney buses! I love that. Also the last time we were there, we saw the space shuttle launch over Mission Space. Everyone went WOW! What makes this place so special? I cry when I arrive and cry when I leave….=0)

  19. LeeAnn says:

    My daughter’s WOW moment — character greetings! Her favorite was Belle — LOVE the pics from her autograph moments!

    (Needed to share my WOW moment: walking into Animal Kingdom Lodge! WOW WOW WOW moment!!)

  20. Jim says:

    Aside from those that were already mentioned:

    Some of the better views in the hotels are just heaven on earth. Opening your curtains to your savanna view in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, or looking out over the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Polynesian or Grand Floridian resorts…

    One “OH WOW” moment was at 2000 trip staying at the Wilderness Lodge. We arrived on the last day of a pyrotechnic trade show being held at the convention center at the Contemporary. I guess they didn’t want to take the fireworks home, because they put up a show that left me in similar awe as the 4th of July tag to Illuminations that I saw in 1987.

    A lot of people have experienced “losing themselves” in music or art… the first (and I’m happy to say, not my last) time that I’ve lost myself in the flavors of food was at WDW, specifically a seared pate in Victoria & Albert’s restaurant. We’re talking an eyes rolled back, sinking in to the seat, room spinning euphoria flowing from my palate.

  21. Paul in CT says:

    My favorite WOW moment happened on our first trip to WDW in 1989 on our first day at EPCOT when our seven year old daughter was being pushed aside by older kids while she was trying to get an autograph from Chip and Dale in front of the former Stargate Restaurant. When Dale saw what was happening, he did an “end around” the crowd and grabbed my daughter’s hand and led her to where it was less crowded. He signed her book and posed for pictures with her. It is one of my favorite memories. It’s all about the cast members!!

    Now that the kids are grown and it’s usually just my DW and me, the WOW moments are also about Disney’s use of technology to plus up the parks and attractions. Some recent favorites are the rocket ship effect on the Castle during “Magic, Memories and Me” (You can hear the crowd gasp at that one!) and when they light up Cinderella’s “Ice Castle” during the holidays.

  22. Tim Dawson says:

    My favorite WOW moment is the trumpet fanfare in SpectroMagic. I know the white faces scare some people but the lights and music and anticipation of more to come gives me chills every time!

  23. JamesD says:

    I’ve got a great idea for a west coast “land and sea” adventure for the WDWRadio faithful! First, we could meet at the Disneyland Resort the week in August of 2013, leading up to the D23 Expo. Then, after enjoying the D23 Expo activities and more meets, catch a plane to Vancouver, Canada on Monday, just in time to sail on the Disney Wonder up the Alaskan coast! That would pretty much include the best that Disney has to offer. Of course, we need to start saving NOW!

  24. Michael says:

    My WOW moment was when my wife and I arrived at the Wilderness Lodge for our honeymoon. We got there a little early, and our room wasn’t ready yet. We were jet lagged and tired and not sure what to do until the room was ready. They asked us what our occassion was, and we told them it was our honeymoon. They quickly upgraded our room (at no extra charge), took our baggage up for us, and had flowers, and chocolate champagne glasses, signed by Mickey and Minnie. It was incredibly unexpected and amazing. We’ll never forget it.

  25. Joey H says:

    Last May was our first trip in 10 years and the first day we went to MK and the recording on the bus said “Welcome to…The Magic Kingdom!” I really had to fight the tears then and now as I write this. I just felt like I had returned home for the first time in 10 years!

  26. mary tesch says:

    Heading around the corner on the bus and getting a first glimpse of Spaceship Earth lets me know I’m on vacation. Our children always insist on going to EPCOT first with Spaceship Earth as our first attraction. Just getting that first glimpse of the “big ball” can bring a tear to my eye.

  27. Michelle Tate Young says:

    After a ten hour flight, the plane doors opening and I step out into the Florida sunshine and breath in a lungful of Disney magic.

  28. Jeremy Marx says:

    For me, it’s a two prong “WOW” moment. First is when I get off the tram at the airport, and enter the main terminal. I now know that I’m almost there, and get to feeling really happy. The second part is when I drive onto Disney property. Even if I’m staying off property during a trip, I will make sure I drive around WDW before I head out to my hotel. Doing this completes the moment, and I’m thinking, “Wow, I’m back!”.

  29. Rob says:

    Magic Memories and You, just the entire thing, watching it, realizing that these are pictures of people around you, plus the effects of the projection….just awesome.

    Plus a more specific one, sitting in Tokyo Dining, watching Illuminations, the Japanese Pagoda in the foreground, the fireworks behind it…just awesome.

  30. Alyx Jacobs says:

    For me, it’s the finale of Fantasmic! That moment when the riverboat is exiting off stage right and all of the sudden you hear the key change hit and then *BOOM* Sorecer Mickey is at the top of the mountain commanding all of the show elements, fireworks, water works, lights, and music. It gets me every time

  31. nicholas says:

    my WOW moment is the last time i went to disney world and it was the 1st time i went on tower of terrr. As you see the 5 people dissapearing in the hallway your’e thinking ARE YOU GOING TO DROP NOW? ARE YOU GOING TO DROP NOW? and iv’e been wondering, is celebrations going to be on the nook color? and one last thing, how mutch are tickets for the night at the american adventure pavillion?

  32. Michael says:

    As a former College Programer and current
    Cast Member, I agree with Tim’s first WOW moment completely. I got to watch Illuminations 5 times a week and the Holiday ending always left me mesmerized. No matter what I was doing I would stop and watch. It never got old and I wish I could still see it everyday.

  33. John DeLancey says:

    Our greatest, “WOW,” moment at Disney World has been, without question, what occurred on our anniversary trip last year. We’d been wearing our anniversary buttons the whole trip, so we were used to the, “Happy anniversary’s!” we were getting from everyone.

    Then this happened. We were watching the Main Street Electrical Parade, and Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother were passing. We smiled and waved, and then — just as the float glided past us — the Fairy Godmother turned directly to us, waved her wand, and wished us a heart-felt, “Happy Anniversary!”

    My wife turned to me, tears pooling in both our eyes, and we acknowledged once again just how special Disney World and every cast member is to us.

  34. Jenn says:

    Do you know that moment you ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night, and you’re careening inside the mountain, noticing everything you don’t during the daytime rides, an suddenly you woosh back outside, look up, and notice that sky full of stars? They were there before the ride, of course, but now they’re part of the whole magical story. That’s my wow moment!

  35. Lucille says:

    Hi My “Wow” Moment for me is when I took my now Husband to Disney to Disney for the first time back in 2004. To see his face as he walked into Magic Kingdom and turned onto Main Street, was priceless and the best gift to me ever ever. We are married now and every time we go back which is often that is one of the things I think about! Disney World is the most Magical Place for me. :>)

  36. Wow moment when our son pulled the Sword from the Stone. So much excitement in his face what an amazing time. Thanks Disney for giving us all these magical moments.!

  37. Heidi Summers says:

    Our WOW moment was being chosen to be the family that opens the Magic Kingdom on Thanksgiving Day, 2003.

  38. Jennifer Vincent says:

    My WOW moment was seeing The Osborn Lights for the first time this past January during Marathon Weekend. Between the lights and the snow falling I was in awe! Im from Michigan so I’m very familiar with snow but this was a WOW. Also, just being a part of my first Disney Marathon Weekend and running through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot to finish the half marathon felt like an amazing WOW the whole day!!

  39. Mike says:

    My “WOW” moment will be when we get the updated WDW Radio App for iOS 5! I am on the road a lot and this App keeps me up to date with all the cool things Lou covers about Disney!

  40. Kelly says:

    My best ‘WOW’ moment was actually in the Disney cruise terminal. My daughter walked into the terminal wearing her new Princess Minnie ears. When Minnie Mouse saw her, she ran from where she was (which was a good distance) to my daughter with open arms and then knelt down hugging my daughter for a long time. My daughter was so happy. Naturally I started crying. This may sound silly but I will never forget how magical that moment was. It’s been ten years and it feels like yesterday.

  41. Ben says:

    One of the great WOW moments for me was walking into the Sci Fi Dine In the first time and seeing the “DRIVE IN” set up. You may have walked through the gates of a Walt Disney World theme park but that is definitely NOT where this is. This is a drive-in in Southern California in the 1950’s and it’s great. Moving time and space baby, that’s what is great about THE WORLD!

  42. Ben says:

    One of my other greatest WOW moments was on my last trip to THE WORLD. I was staying at Boardwalk for the first time. As we went to check in, the clerk informed us that we had been upgraded. The cast member then proceeded to take us up to the concierge level and into our massive three bedroom/three bathroom suite. That room was possibly the finest accommodations that I have ever had at any hotel, anywhere. Disney magic lurks around every corner!

  43. Todd says:

    My biggest wow moment is pulling off I4, and driving through the WDW signs. That’s where the vacation begins, that’s where everything on the other side of the sign is perfect and pure magic, and that’s where the invisible shield exists where all your worries and concerns are blocked from coming in and pure family fun can begin.

    I’ve been there at least 30+ times, and each time diving through the sign is the same.

  44. Laura says:

    One of my many WOW moments was on our last trip. We had never been to the
    Osborne Lights before and when the first turned them on, it brought a tear to my eye. WOW!!!

  45. Amy says:

    My Disney WOW moment is spending my 25th birthday in the Magic Kingdom. The cast members made my day so magical. We were taking a picture in front of the castle and a cast member came up beside us and threw confetti into the picture. I wish I could show you the picture because my jaw literally dropped. Little things like that are big WOW moments to me.

  46. Mike says:

    Just returned from a week trip with my 4yr old Autistic boy who, on the plane ride down, started singing “Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, a pirates life for me” causing everyone on the plane to stop what they were doing/talking and listen to him sing a few verses. The power of a child’s imagination to draw in adults….

  47. Paul C says:

    My wife passed away 5 years ago from melanoma when our son was 5 and
    our twin girls were 3. She was the big Disney fan. We had a Disney
    themed wedding, and I even proposed at Beauty and the Beast play while
    in Toronto.
    The last thing she told me was “Don’t take the kids to the cemetary to
    visit me, take them to Walt Disney World, because taht’s where I’m

    I took my kids when my daughters were 5 and my son was 8. The hardest part of nthat
    trip was the disappointment in my daughter Jessica when i ntold her
    she wasn’t going to see Mommy in the airplane. She thought since Mommy
    lived up in the sky that we would see her.

    Our tradion started innocently enough, when Tinker bell in pixie
    Hollow asked where Mommy was. When we said “Up in heaven” Tink
    suggested to give her hugs, and she’d fly up to Heaven to give them to

    On seeing WISHES that night, when my kids saw Tink descending from the
    castle, they all screamed “There’s Tink, Mommy got our hugs”. Jessica
    is convinced that the four heart shaped fireworks in Wishes are hugs
    from Mommy.

    Once we got home, I bought DVC so we could go see Mommy every year.

  48. Christina says:

    My favorite WOW moment was the first trip to WDW with my then-2 year old daughter. We were looking up at the backside of the castle, standing in Fantasyland, when the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella came out on the balcony. We were the only people around (I don’t know how that was even possible!) and they both spoke directly to her as my husband held her up on his shoulders. I even managed to capture it in a photo that I treasure to this day. It was MAGICAL!

  49. Scott says:

    My10, in no particular order:

    1. The ballroom scene in haunted mansion
    2. When a cast member asked my kids if they were pin traders. We told him no, but we had thought about it. He asked how long we were there for, and we told him we were on day 2 of 8. He walked into the back of pizzafari and came out with two loaded lanyards. He handed them to the kids and said you’re pin traders now.
    3. the streets of London in Peter Pan
    4. Floating through the middle of a sea battle on POTC
    5. Taking the monorail from the parking lot to “somewhere else.”
    6. Star tours
    7. Wishes from the California grill or the to of the world lounge
    8. Abraham Lincoln
    9. Osborne lights
    10. An anniversary dinner at a table for 2 right on the rio del tiempo.

  50. Kasey says:

    My biggest wow moment is simple, but no matter how many times you’ve gone, (I live in Michigan and have gone 19 times,) you can never top getting ice cream from the plaza or corn dogs from casey’s, sitting down at a table, and enjoying wishes. You just get that warm feeling inside, knowing you are in the most magical place on earth.

  51. Brian Fleming says:

    My biggest WOW moment is anytime going thru the CONTEMPORARY RESORT on the monorail. Since an early age of getting to stay there, it was always the biggest joy of staying there–THE MONORAIL GOES THRU IT my brother and I always said as if it was the first time, each and every time.

    And now, when eating at CHEF MICKEY or the former CONCOURSE STEAKHOUSE with my kids–they react the same way, and it brings back the WOW for me.

  52. Sarah Cooke says:

    Lou, I can’t stand it. You’re making the tears stream down my face. Here’s my top 10+

    1. So besides the obvious castle reveal, the first time I cried at WDW was when I saw that steam from the train rise from behind the trees, bringing with it magic and surprises that are the very start of your WDW vacation. Also when they say “Have a magical day.” Before you even get to WDW, of course it’s also the highway signs, the welcoming arch, and on my first day at WDW I took the bus and it was raining, but the moment I stepped off the bus into the MK, the rain stopped. It didn’t rain again a single time my whole vacation.

    2. The moment you realize the Tower of Terror is more than just a drop ride.

    3. The seemless transition on Peter Pan where you go from a bedroom to flying high over the street of London.

    4. Wishes, of course Tinkerbell, and just the singing when the ‘star’ shoots by and there’s star-shaped fireworks.

    5. Fantasmic. 2 things. 1. When that first note reverberates and builds slowly before the music kicks in to start the show. 2. When I saw the fire on the water screen and I thought to myself, how great would it be to have just the dragon’s eyes appear behind the fire, and then they did.

    6. Soarin’. When that amazing music kicks in and you smell the orange groves. I have to shed a tear everytime.

    7. Philharmagic. When you put out your hand and Flounder is right there swimming above it. And the smell of pie. It’s the best 3D show. On a side note of the 3D shows, also when you get stung on Tough to be a Bug.

    8. Pretty much every character encounter, the unexpected and the anticipation building ones. My fave princess, Aurora, was in a show behind the castle. My friends and I park hopped from AK to MK just to see her. I assumed she would process down the castle stairs, but instead she appeared out of nowhere right behind me. I met her and Prince Phillip afterwards and told them they were my favorite prince and princess. Also worth mentioning, I met Mary Poppins in Epcot in the morning, then again later that same day in the UK, and she accused me of stalking her.

    9. Shout out to the cast members. I love when they wave with Mickey hands in the AM. On my 25th birthday I went by myself for 2 days. Everyone, even guests, constantly wished me a happy birthday. A jungle cruise cast member even yelled it as he jumped towards me with open arms. When I sadly returned to MCO to go home a stranger walked by me and didn’t wish me a happy birthday. That’s when I realized the magic I had left behind in WDW.

    10. My first night in WDW I saw Spectromagic, and when Mickey passed by he pointed RIGHT AT ME for what seemed like forever. I felt incredibly special.

    Honorable mention, because it didn’t happen at WDW. I was in NYC for the advance screening of Princess and the Frog. After the movie they had an event with the princesses. I walked in, and there were ALL 9 princesses in the same room at the same time. My knees went weak and I almost turned around to go collect myself before entering. Tears streamed down my face. It was one of my most amazing happiest moments.

  53. Disney Eh says:

    A month late to the party, but I had to say that my WOW moment was seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade for the first time! http://disneyeh.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/my-disney-wow-moment/

  54. Mark says:

    To me its three things in this order: 1. Main Street Electrical Parade (and I thought I was too old for it, I was wrong) 2. The Haunted Mansion simply amazed me. Still am amazed. 3. The scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where you go “outside” in the night. I spent the whole time trying to see the ceiling and couldn’t do it. It blew my mind.

  55. Richie says:

    For me as a regular visitor from the UK the whole WDW experience still gets me every time. One of my favourite ‘views/moments’ is Blizzard Beach- Summit Plummet. Two reason why this inspires me are … 1) Why am I doing this, have you seen the sharp deep (so very deep drop!). Only Disney can make you do something out of your comfort zone and still enjoy every moment. However number two is the best. 2) The view. The panoramic view from this point are spectacular. All of WDW is visible, every park, hotel, road and lake is clear to see. It gives you perspective of just how wondrous and big WDW property is, yes you can get these very brief glimpses from various rides ((Mount Everest/ Tower of Terror!); but from here you can really take it in and enjoy what Disney has laid out before you (plus you don’t need to use the hot air balloon at Downtown to see it)

  56. Ricky says:

    For me,the greatest WOW moment of Disney world is the Candlelight Precession at Epcot. I remember the first time I experienced this beautiful show brought a tear to my eyes. Beautiful live music, a mixture of professional and high school student musicians and singers, the story that was told, beautiful.

  57. Chuck Zitta says:

    I’m going to go with the moment we get off the plane at Orlando International Airport, step onto the Magical Express Bus and start on our way to the happiest place on earth. When I’m sitting on the bus with my family, and the video starts playing on the monitors above the bus seats; the euphoric realization that we are on direct route to WDW runs through my mind and body. After all the saving…after all the planning…after all this time…my dream, of enjoying the place I hold so dear in my heart with my family, is about to become reality. Tears of joy. That, is the wow moment I want to share with you.

    Thanks again for another spectacular show, Lou, Tim and Daniel!!!

  58. Daffystardust says:

    I’m way behind here, but I’d like to share my own wow moments.

    1) I’m a big Haunted Mansion fan and the moments as the doombuggy exits the attic window and I begin to hear “Grim Grinning Ghosts” in the distance as sheet ghosts rise into the night sky just always push a personal joy button inside me.

    2) Riding a Main Street vehicle with the Dapper Dans as they sing

    3) All of Spaceship Earth, even in its diminished state

    4) The China Pavilion (minus movie and food)