Our last trip in October, we were staying at the contemporary. Arrived around 2pm and room wasn’t ready so headed to the pool. By 6pm we still hadn’t gotten the room ready text, so I went to the front desk and begged for something so I could get DD4 and DS1 settled for dinner. Upgraded to an MK view!! No fireworks because COVID, but that view was spectacular.
As you can see from all the previous examples, Disney works very hard at planned spontaneity, a.k.a. “pixie dust.”
On our very first trip to Disney decades ago, the wife asked that a purchase she made in a shop in MK be delivered to our room at the Poly so she didn’t have to carry it around. She forgot that we checked out of the Poly that morning before going to the park, and we were staying off site our last night in Orlando. As we were driving out of WDW later that night, she suddenly remembered. So, I made a U-turn back to the Poly. When I explained what happened at the front desk, I was informed that her purchase was already in a Fed-X package on its way to our house. No charge. I was speechless. Her Disney souvenirs made it home before we did.
On our very last trip to Disney … just last week … we stayed at the GF. The trip was an anniversary gift to ourselves. As we walked from the parking lot with our luggage to the resort to check in, a CM approached us outside the front entrance under the monorail and called us by name. That caught my wife and I completely by surprise. As I was standing there wondering how’d the CM know who we were, she proceeded to tell us that in honor of our wedding anniversary we were being given an upgrade to a larger room in the main building. We were both stunned and once again, I was caught speechless. Although this time it was us who sent a package back to Disney after we left. It was a personal letter to the GF resort manager thanking them for such a wonderful gift and the creative way the CM sprung that surprise on us. Our room was the top corner one on the 5th floor pictured below. Golly it was nice.
In 2016, my son was obsessed with Captain Phasma. This was during the EMH for toy story land, so we went early and my husband and daughter went and rode RNRR and TOT four or five times each. My son and I went off and did ST, then watched the Star Wars movie, and then sat down to watch the storm trooper and Phasma parade/show. Because Star Wars was literally the only thing he wanted to do, we got there really early. We were both wearing Star Wars shirts. He was talking to me about how excited he was to see Phasma when a cast member asked us to folllow him!
We got to watch Phasma march in away from the crowd, then march with the Stormtroopers to the stage. We got to stand right in front for the show. Then, we got to march out with Phasma and the Stormtroopers to launch bay, where we were whisked to the front of the line to meet Kylo Ren and Chewie, and then to meet a Jawa.
I was furiously texting my husband, “we are in the parade” which he interpreted as “we are watching the parade,” until he and my daughter saw us on the way to launch bay. Since I had no idea what was happening to us, he caught up with us before we met Chewie.
It was a very magical moment and I’ll never forget it!
We first arrived at the Polynesian on a beautiful April morning around 10:30 a couple years ago after taking a 6 am flight from JFK with my 5 and 7 year old at the time, we bought the kids breakfast meals and my son promptly devoured his bacon, he said he wished he had more and one of the cast members at captain cooks must have overheard because a plate of bacon arrived right in front of him a few minutes later that we did not order… anyway, it was a great start to our vacation! Although I’m sure at the end of the breakfast service they had extra bacon to dispose of… but my son really found this magical. He loves his bacon and can never get enough!
We haven’t experienced a ton of Pixie Dust, but there are a couple of things that stand out.
On our first big family trip in 2010 we were celebrating DH’s 40th birthday. We were in the cluster of folks waiting for FOTLK (which, then, was where Pandora is now - so bizarre!). A CM saw his birthday button and pulled us out of line and right into the theatre which had not yet begun filling. We were seated “ringside” and had a ton of interaction with the performers. It was pretty incredible. We mention it every time we see the show.
The other pixie dust we received was on our last stay at AKL (ahem, the time with the near-miss towel debacle ). We booked a standard view room for cash, and requested to be in the wing that is immediately adjacent to the bus stop. We had wound up in a room down there once before and loved the “secret” entrance and the fact that we could see a bus from our room and still make it on. We requested a room in that wing on this cash stay and mentioned that we loved the proximity. We got the room across the hall so we were upgraded to a pool view, but still had the benefit of being so close to the buses. And from that area the Mara was still not far away either. It was a fantastic room.
2002 – but it really started in 2000.
I met several Internet girlfriends in WDW in November 2000. We came together from all over for a very long weekend. We had two boats reserved for a MK fireworks cruise after our dinner at 'Ohana, and I got the fun boat. (OK, the fun boat got me.) The cruise was incredible. It was hilarious with a pile of fireworks on top. One of my friends got flirty with the 21-year-old captain, another of my friends did her coconut dance; I did my impersonation of my husband doing his impersonation of me as Peter Pan. Some of us may have been drinking. I don’t remember. It was an incredible cruise. And at the end, we asked the captain to drop us off at the MK so we could watch the late MSEP.
My friend and roommate Krisi was dancing in the front of the boat, ready to disembark first, because she’s Krisi, and Toby, our shy and adorable 21-year-old captain said, “This was the best cruise EVER,” and we all laughed and agreed yes, this was the best cruise EVER – while were gathering our things and standing up, getting ready to leave – and then Toby ran the boat into the boat dock. In front of, I don’t know, thousands of people who were leaving the MK after the fireworks. And you know pontoon boats, right? So the left side pontoon hits the dock with this loud, unmistakable, “BONNNNNNNG!!!” and tiny Krisi goes flying through the air like a rose being tossed at a matador, and the rest of us went stumbling about, so it looked and sounded Very Dramatic, but really, it was just a tap on the dock, and we were all fine. Especially Krisi. She lands on her feet like a cat. Honest.
But this jerk of a manager imperiously strode up to the boat and started yelling at Adorable Captain Toby, “WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHERE IS YOUR HOME DOCK? WHO IS YOUR SUPERVISOR?” and writing on a scrap of paper. I mean – he was mean!!! And poor Adorable Captain Toby, who had just had the best cruise of his long DCP career, turned bright red and started stammering.
Thank goodness, one of our group had grown up going to DL every other month, and she yelled at the manager, “WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHERE IS YOUR NAME BADGE??? You are not supposed to interact with guests without a badge!!!” And those of us who were going to the MK ran to Guest Services in Town Square and filled out official complaint forms about the manager and how he ruined our evening, and they had better not discipline Adorable Captain Toby because it was our fault he hit the dock and no one was hurt. The pontoon was barely dented, for heaven’s sake. Hmph. Next day, several of us went to the WL marina to make sure Toby was OK. He was.*
That was 2000.
When we met up again in 2002, the group was smaller – only one boat was needed for the Illuminations cruise – and much more close. One morning we were in the queue for RnRC and we struck up a conversation with a CM and told her the story of Adorable Captain Toby and our badly behaved Best Cruise Ever hitting the boat dock. She was a very good audience, laughing and gasping and ooo’ing and ahhh’ing on cue. Nice girl, had a good time, got on the coaster and rode. Loved it. You know. Normal Disney stuff.
And when we got to the disembarking point, there stood the CM we had chatted with in line 20 minutes earlier, smiling broadly, and she said, “Hello, ladies! Follow me, please!”
And we were all backdoored back onto the RnRC and we had a second ride without waiting at all!!!
There! That’s the pixie dust moment to which this long story led. Very magical! Wish I had pictures!!! CM’s are the best!!!
*One of the women on the 2000 cruise was still at WDW a week after the rest of us went home, and she actually went back to the WL marina to quietly check up on Toby again. He really was in good shape. No word on if the obnoxious manager was ever re-trained.
We’ve had a couple of instances of pixie dust, and it’s amazing how little things really stick with you and make your day!
We were at Animal Kingdom on our first trip. It was about 5pm, we were tired and hot and the kids were a little grumpy and we were headed to the bus when a cast member stopped us and asked if we’d met Mickey and Minnie, and then sent us through the FPP line to meet them.
On our trip the next year, back at AK on our first day I was at guest services validating our tickets when my son, who was hyped up to be at Disney, ran over to me, didn’t see the ropes, and flipped himself up in the air, scraping up his elbow pretty good. He burst into tears, I picked him up, and the cast member consoled him, gave him a bandaid, and then gave us vouchers for four free Mickey bars.
Later that trip we were doing our special Star Wars day - Galaxy’s Edge, built Droids, etc. My son had picked, for his birthday, a special family activity so we’d booked the Star Wars dessert party. When we arrived to check in they asked us if the kids wanted to be the Family of the Day and lead the “parade” of guests over to the fireworks viewing area, so they got to hold lightsabers and march at the front of the line with the Stormtroopers. Another day, at brunch at Crystal Palace, the server saw his Happy Birthday button and brought him out a cupcake and a card signed by Pooh and friends.
This is amazing!
I had a whirlwind 1 night trip last January and it was full of pixie dust. I took the 6am flight to MCO and stayed at YC. I went to MK and had the best morning and was waiting for a bus back to the resort for my B&C reservation and a nap before meeting friends for drinks. I waited almost 2 hours for a bus (seriously, it was awful and there was no staff to help), missed my reservation and was starving, tired, and cranky by this point. Here’s where the pixie dust comes in.
First, B&C was able to seat me at the counter when I arrived and reverse the no show fee. Then I was lamenting to my waitress that my favorite dessert (grilled banana bread) wasn’t on the menu and she brought me a free cupcake which was a nice touch.
Second, I had to actually check in to pick up a MB I ordered that was too late to ship to my house. She saw my cupcake and I told her the story of the bus delay, missed reservation, free cupcake and she goes to retrieve my MB and comes back with a baby Dory plush and tells me to just keep swimming and sends me off to my room (which is my favorite room I’ve ever stayed in).
Third, after meeting my friends for drinks I was still hungry so I popped into the market at YC for a sandwich and diet coke. After the guy rang up my order I noticed he didn’t charge me for my drink. I let him know I still needed to pay for it and he said “no you don’t, I didn’t charge you for it”. Sweet!
Fourth, I hit up A&C lounge when it opened since I couldn’t get a table or reservation for the dining room. I was debating if I wanted some soup before my meal and the waitress brought me some saying it was too good to miss (again at no charge) and when I was debating between 2 cocktails she made me both and only charged me for 1.
All in all it was a pretty sweet 30something hour trip!
Mine is a DL pixie dust story. We had a long day at the parks and went back to our room at the DL hotel when I realized I didn’t have a night diaper for my 3-year-old. She was potty trained in the day but not at night. I went downstairs and the gift shop was closed so I asked the front desk if anything else was open to grab a diaper. Totally expecting to have to drive to a local CVS, they called a custodian who opened the only gift shop so that I could buy that diaper (and a couple of snacks). I felt very VIP! I was so blown away by that customer service and so thankful for being an exhausted mother at the end of the day.
A different trip to DL with my ILs they took my DD to get ice cream and the guy just gave it to her on the house. They of course thought it was because their GD is so cute but I knew it was pixie dust!
We didn’t find out until we arrived. Since it was during COVID we didn’t have in-person check in as an option, either, so I noticed the upgrade when we received the room ready text/information. It was an awesome surprise! We’ve been going for so many years, and that was the first room upgrade we’ve ever received.
We got a cabana for free at CR. CM approached us at the pool and asked if we were planning on staying for the afternoon and gave it to us because someone cancelled.
Another trip, we were able to add an extra night on to the end of our trip for a VERY discounted price at WL.
When my eldest was DD6 we went to supper at CG and got a table kind of far from the windows overlooking MK and the fireworks.
The waiter was awesome and gushed over DD, joking with her and at her level joking about the adults at the table. Sketching us on the paper kids menu.
After the main course, he came back and announced he had to introduce her to his boss and asked: could he take her on a tour of the kitchen? Heck yes!
Then he announced that he had found a spot near the windows that had a view of the fireworks and he’d spoken to the parties seated nearby and they were thrilled if we could come over to give DD a better view once the fireworks began.
It was customer service at a stratospheric level.
I could have almost written this exact response, just changing the date to 2013. Our experience was the same at Rose & Crown: “Mickey Mouse was delayed on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom and needed some help starting the show at Epcot.” Our kids were so excited to start the show. Smiles all around. That was a great way to end a full day.
We went with my parents in Aug 2019 - separate reservations but I’d asked for rooms in the same building via TP room request. We didn’t get our room ready text so had to go to the front desk. We had waited ages for DME and then it took ages to get to FQ (I think there had been an accident) and we waited ages to get to the front desk. And when we got there the CM said she couldn’t find us a room in the same building as my parents (they had been given their room) and I kept saying it didn’t matter, any room would do, we were just exhausted, but she was talking on the phone and saying she would sort it out. She eventually upgraded both us and my parents from standard to river view and it was a truly beautiful view!
We also on that trip got 3 free FPs for all 4 of us when the handle fell off our shower, and then another 1 each on the same day when we waited 40 mins for our food at BOG lunch after preordering (we didn’t complain, a manager noticed that we’d been sitting there).
First family trip, 2008: Youngest son got picked to fight Darth Vader in the Jedi Training show at a time you didn’t sign up for it but had to take a chance you were called up on stage from the audience. That was a minor moment, but that same year we went to Blizzard Beach. We did have a Garmin GPS to guide us, but BB didn’t show up on it, so we left extra early from our condo to make sure we got there 30 minutes before opening. We found the park immediately without issue, and was there nearly an hour before opening. We got to the turnstiles first in line and was expecting a long wait. About 30 minutes prior to opening, a lifeguard and a photopass photographer came down and started talking to my then 9-year old son. They asked him if he was going to go down Summit Plummet, to which he said he was (he was and still is a daredevil). The lifeguard said that it was broken but they think they have it fixed and wanted to know if he would come in early to test it for them. He looked at me for permission, and of course I’m nodding furiously that I was okay with it! When we got in, they handed us free towel rentals for the day, free locker rental, a covered shelter in the center of the park, and two mugs that allowed us free pop refills all day!
On our most recent family trip in 2018, we arrived at the Beauty and the Beast stage show at HS just before showtime. We figured we would have to settle for seats in the back row, but the cast member instead gave my daughter (then 9) a rose and radioed ahead saying there were “special guests” arriving. We were then escorted to the front row and watched the show front and center with no wait!
One last moment of pixie dust that Disney didn’t give us specifically, but still a special moment. During that 2008 trip at Blizzard Beach, my then unborn daughter decided that was the right moment to start kicking. It was the first time I felt her kick, and she picked doing it at such a perfect time that I knew even then I would never forget it.
We have had many pixie dust moments over the last few years. I guess a couple that stand out for me first dates back to November of last year. We were ending our impromptu trip with breakfast at the GF Cafe and our oldest daughter had really wanted a new princess dress from Bibbidi Bobbidi but of course they are all closed (or were closed then). So we asked one of the CMs at the GF if/when the dresses would be available and a lovely lady working in the mercantile area said “If your little girl wants a dress, then we will get her a dress!” So, they let us window shop the Bibbidi at the GF and the staff got her the dress and accoutrements out of inventory and fixed us up. That was a pretty awesome gesture other than the price tags
We have had other countless free dole whips, extra little gifts at dinner for the girls, room accommodation upgrades, free refillable mug for my little one, fast pass line without a fastpass. But another that was pretty cool pixie dust moment was when we were just about to go in to see Rivers of Light and it was dark and we were scrambling to check our two strollers with some CMs and one of our souvenir popcorn buckets dropped and made a huge mess. I was embarassed to cause such a mess right in front of the entrance and apologized to the CMs. It was just an accident on our part. Well, we were sitting in stands waiting on ROL to start and lo and behold, here comes a CM with a new popcorn for our girls. I don’t even know how they knew where we were sitting! Crazy. But that was some impressive attention to detail.
My last one that is more of a story than pure pixie dust but was when our Oogie Boogie popcorn bucket broke after a MNSSHP. It was just a defect so the next day we were in MK and thought we would ask a CM at a popcorn stand back at Dumbo to see if they would exchange it. Well, apparently this is like asking for the moon. A higher level CM was there and overheard our request and said there was no way they could do that in broad daylight as those are only available during the party. So we were fine with that. Nothing to see here, move along. Well, we were dining at Jungle Navigation shortly thereafter and the Maitre d came up to us and delivered a new Oogie Boogie in a plastic bag (hidden). That was pretty cool. It seems like they always know where we are. Big Brother Mouse is watching…
During our first trip our daughter was asked to be the princess of the show at Beauty and the Beast and she said no! Broke our hearts but she was too scared to do it. Another time she spoke in Spanish (she was learning) with our waiter at GG and was given a card signed by the characters there and a little light-up Tinkerbelle. We’ve also been pixie dusted fast passes a few times. Not WDW but we were on the Magic and our son was crying - Star-Lord and Gamora stopped and sang/danced for him to cheer him up. It’s the small things!
For DS6 first trip in 2017- he was 2 years, 9 months at the time. We were at AoA, coming from the pool to meet my mom at the cafeteria. He was wearing his lightning mcqueen flip flops and he was so proud- he’d never really worn flip flops up until that point. Well, if you know anything about the doors leading from the pool area into the cafeteria, you can’t really see anything through them from the outside. He had made it a few steps ahead of me and tried to pull the door open, at the same time a man was walking out and just plowed him over. It pulled the toenail off his big toe and he started SCREAMING. I grabbed him up and spotte my mom in the booth off to the side, so I took him over there and was working on getting him cleaned up. A CM brought me ice and bandages (I was already working on it with my travel first aid kit). Then after that, she returned about three minutes later with a HUGE cupcake and said “Mickey doesn’t want you to cry” and I swear, you would have thought that he won the lottery. He talked about his cupcake from mickey for the rest of the trip.
2009: Son was chosen to ring the bell at Hoop Dee Doo. Quasi pixie dust as his TWIN SISTER was not chosen and she was not happy.
2018: Had reservations for early entry thing at MK, and they canceled it. Rather than just refund us the $, which they did, they also called and offered us another tour to replace that one!! I was so surprised, I told them- Really, that’s OK. We’ll get a refund, we’re good. Then the CM INSISTED that I choose something. So I said, well, the only other tour we were thinking of was the SCUBA one at EPCOT for my son and me. (Which is way pricey, but we were canceled 6 Early Magic things, so about the same cost). Anyway, the CM booked it for us! Which was crazy. So we got refunded the Early Magic thing, AND 2 free aqua dive tours. Amazing.
2018: The Pretzel Cart guy gave us 2 extra pretzels bc he was closing down the cart. Epcot, near Test Track. LOL.
Every trip: Pixie dust bc our towel is shaped something fancy on the bed.