Skip to Content

9 Ways Visiting Every Disney Resort Has Shaped How We See Travel

In the past nine months, we’ve been to five continents, 24 counties, 53 cities, and twelve Disney parks. That is every single Disney park across the globe, plus the Aulani Hawaiian resort just for good measure. We expected international travel to wear away at some of Disney’s sparkle. We thought that maybe after traveling the world, we’d find ourselves wanting to spend our travel time and dollars exploring new cities in new countries around the world. But life has a funny way of teaching us lessons in ways we don’t expect. Travel didn’t change our perception of Disney, but Disney changed our perception on travel. And here’s how.

Shanghai Disneyland

9 Ways Visiting Every Disney Resort Has Shaped How We See Travel

1: We appreciate coming “home”.

When you check into a Disney resort everywhere around the world, cast members say “Welcome home.” The image of home that Disney conjures up for guests is one of happiness, comfort, familiarity. It’s a reminder that home is not a location, but a feeling. This is good for us, because we haven’t had a physical home for over a year now. It’s through this construct of home that Disney has built for us that we’ve been able to create and enjoy a sense of home no matter where we are around the world.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel was our home for most of our nights at Tokyo Disney Resort

2: We value exceptional customer service.

When you stay at a Disney resort and are spending all your waking hours within that resort, the constant exposure to customer service puts it under a microscope. It’s easier to see how the customer service impacts the experience. Parks like Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort highlighted for us what exceptional customer service looks, while parks like Disneyland Paris reminded us that not even Disney is perfect. It’s the difference between cast members waving with a mickey-gloved hand on Main Street in Magic Kingdom and the cast members in red jackets branded with an “I” for “information” standing guard at Disneyland Paris. The impact that different levels of customer service has had on our Disney experience has made us more aware and appreciative of customer service in all settings.

Disneyland Paris is a beautiful park, and we do love it, but we have to say it has the worst customer service of all the parks.

3: We keep busy.

Our days at Disney resorts are long ones. We get up early, we pack in lots of activities, we go to bed late, and then we do it all again. While there’s an argument to be made that Disney travel maybe requires too much planning, we love having plans, making plans, and changing plans. For us, nothing beats a day when we make it to all four Walt Disney World parks, with FastPasses for every attraction, and still have time for a few drinks at Trader Sam’s. Disney resorts are a great playground for pushing just how much you can and want to fit into a single day. The worst that happens is maybe you don’t make it to that fourth park for the FastPass, or you have to tap out and head back to your hotel a little early. In our travel life, we’re balancing work, travel and blogging, so our ability to maximize our waking hours is essential. We honed that skill by planning full Disney days.

We rely on efficient FastPass planning so we never have to spend more than 20 minutes in line. That way we have more time for snack breaks.

4: We think on the fly.

On our way to Shanghai Disney Resort, our cab driver missed a turn and ended up kicking us out of his cab in the middle of a highway. Anywhere else in the world this would have been a much bigger deal. Fortunately, it was a highway on Disney property and we were quickly picked up by cops who escorted us across the street and sent us on our way. Disney resorts are a safe training ground for learning to deal with things that will inevitably go wrong. Things can change quickly at a Disney park. The ride you have a FastPass for breaks down. A wait is longer than expected. It starts raining. Within the safe and familiar confines of a Disney resort, you’ll able to adapt, change you plans, and not let it ruin your day. This is perfect practice for the times when things will inevitably go wrong during travel in the “real world”.

Getting left on the highway on our way to Shanghai Disneyland is certainly one of our top Disney memories.

5: We appreciate intentional design.

Good design masks what it is trying to convey. It is intentional, but not obvious. Disney at its best is packed with intentional design. Look at Aulani. The resort is modeled after an ahupua’a, which is the Hawaiian word for a community defined by a natural land division that forms an arch shape from the mountains to the sea. This theme of mountains-to-sea extends to the design of the pools, the shape of the resort, and even which plants are planted where. And this is just one design element, at one resort. The truth is that the Disney resorts, and the world, are filled with this beautiful design. You can find it in the alignment of the windows at Machu Picchu and in the design of ancient Egyptian temples. You just have to start paying attention.

Aulani means “Messenger” in Hawiian. The entire resort is designed to be the messenger of the Hawaiian culture to its guests.

6: We look for the details.

Did you know that the entry to Magic Kingdom is designed to resemble going to the movies? The ticket booths, the vintage attractions posters, the smell of buttery popcorn. Have you ever noticed that you can see Tower of Terror from EPCOT, but that it blends into the “skyline” of Morocco? Or how about the sounds of Harambe Village subtly fading into the sounds of insects as you walk into Pandora? Disney resorts are bursting with seemingly small details like this, which together make the Disney experience so complete. As we learned to see and appreciate the details at Disney resorts, we started to see and appreciate these details in the world. We started to appreciate cities in a new way when we began looking deeper at the details that set them apart.

Cars Land at Disneyland Resort is one of our favorite Disney lands, due mostly to its extreme level of detail. In this photo is the track for Radiator Springs Racer, one of the most expensive attractions in Disney history.

7: We respect different types of travelers.

Planning Disney has made us see that there are a lot of different ways to travel, even to the same destination. We choose to spend our mornings chasing down FastPasses and riding rides, so we can spend our afternoons getting lost in the details of the lands and drinking at our favorite Disney bars. Others opt to bring their tiny humans who we’ve heard can be unpredictable and apparently need naps. Whether you want to spend your day laying by the pool or trying to ride all the rides, how you choose to take in your Disney magic is on you. We’re a couple of full-grown adults who spend our travel time and dollars going to amusement parks designed for children. We’re not exactly in a position to judge other people for how they choose to travel or not travel. So whether you choose to travel to Ohio or Osaka or Oman, we support you!

Christmas is one of our favorite times to be at Disney resorts. We love the festivities and crowds, but we can see why not everyone chooses this time of year to visit.

8: We are more alike than different.

It’s easy to say we’re more alike than different at the surface level when we’re talking about Disneys around the world. Obviously the parks are alike insofar as the characters, lands, and rides have so much parity, but it’s deeper than that. Look at Duffy. “Who’s Duffy?” says everyone in America. But in Japan, Duffy is the most popular character in the park. Disney fans in Japan have taken this American character (he “lives” in Cape Cod) and made it their own. We’re not alike because we all love Mickey, we’re alike because Disney has created a culture that grabs our heads and our hearts so tightly, whether in the form of a mouse or a bear.

They love Duffy at Tokyo Disney. Everyone in the park is wearing Duffy ears, carrying Duffy purses, and taking photos of their Duffy bears at special Duffy photo spots.

9: We just really love Disney.

We went to all the Disney parks around the world and how did it shape how we see travel? We want to spend even more time at Disney parks! At the end of the day, we’re really just a couple of full-grown adults who just really love Disney. Sure, there are plenty of other places in the world we want to visit, but the truth is that we’ll probably go to Disney resorts several times before we make to some of them. At least we know what we like, right?

Disneyland Park in California was our final Disney Park

Have you been to a Disney Resort? Which one is your favorite?


Sunday 28th of July 2019

First time travelers overseas, Yikes! And scared half to death. We want to experience Disney in either Hong Kong or Tokyo and all the sites these cities have to offer. Which would you recommend? We’re leaning towards Tokyo. One because there are two parks, being passholders at Disney World, we like having options LOL. Two, Tokyo seems like it has more to offer and see within the city, after spending time at Disney. You seem like you have a lot of knowledge about these two cities and would really love your opinion and advice. One more thing, is there a Universal Studio other there? Just checking, we have one family member who is a huge Harry Potter fan. Thanks for reading and hopefully responding ?


Saturday 10th of August 2019

Hi! I feel like this question was made for me! Disney & Travel are my love languages. So I would agree with you and would recommend Tokyo. Hong Kong really is an amazing city, and as far as city sights go, it has a ton to offer. However, if you're WDW APs, I think you might be disappointed in HK Disneyland. It's a nice park, but just not our favorite and going from 4 parks to one might feel a bit disappointing.

So let's talk Tokyo! Tokyo Disney Resort is incredible. You'll get the castle park experience at Tokyo Disneyland and then you'll get to experience a new theme at Tokyo DisneySea. Both parks are very high on my list, but Tokyo DisneySea is my favorite of all the parks around the world. (I think. I go back and forth with Sea and DAK as my fave park.) It's just a theme park design MASTERPIECE. I think that's the only park that will come close to topping WDW resort.

And then there's Tokyo the city! We actually didn't have much time in Tokyo proper (we ran the marathon and that consumed most of our time and energy), but from what we did experience, we loved. We definitely recommend getting a drink at the top of the Asahi sky tower and the Asakusa neighborhood, but theres a ton to see and do. It's also very easy to get from the park to the city on public trans. And if you can take the train to Kyoto for a few days, you absolutely should. The people in Japan were so incredibly kind, so it's a perfect spot for a first time international traveler.

There is a Universal Studios there, but we haven't there.

I hope that helps! If you have more questions, definitely let me know!

Jody DeKorte

Tuesday 9th of April 2019

I loved this article and looking at the places you have been with Disney. In August my husband and I are embarking on an epic Walpole tour of Disney. We will leave Denver to go to Aulani, return to LA and go to the D23 expo as sorcerers, and Disneyland, then to Tokyo Disney, then to HK disney, a 12 adventure by Disney ending in Shanghai, then to Paris, then back. To Orlando, and wrapping up with a Disney Cruise. 39 days of fun. And crashing when we get home lol We would love to connect with you to learn about your experiences in Asia. Please let us know



Tuesday 9th of April 2019

That. Sounds. AMAZING!! You are going to have the most EPIC 39 days!! You will definitely have to let us know your favorite part! My favorite Asia Disney memory was when our taxi driver missed the turn to our hotel. He couldn't just turn around because the government tracks their routes so they don't take advantage of people, so he had to just drop us off in the middle of a highway! All of this with a complete language barrier. A pair of cops abruptly picked us up and escorted us to our hotel. HA! Travel in mainland China is definitely an experience! You should have no trouble in Tokyo or Hong Kong - both super Urban cities with great public trans and lots of English!