Keeping the Magic Alive Between Trips: Disney+ as a Gateway to the Disney Parks

Like the majority of people reading this blog, I absolutely adore Walt Disney World

Flower Beds from the 2020 Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I was fortunate enough to visit all four parks and stay in an on-property resort when I was a child, and then visit Magic Kingdom again in my early twenties. No matter how much time passes, I will always hold the warmth of those memories in my heart and be forever enchanted by their magic.

Team Member Kristen visiting WDW as a child Team Member Kristen visiting WDW as a child Team Member Kristen visiting WDW as a child

Now, nostalgia and recollections are priceless, don’t get me wrong, but I miss Disney! I know I’m not the only person who feels like this. Whether it’s been almost 10 years since your last visit or you just got back from a trip yesterday, keeping the magic alive while you wait for your next visit can seem daunting.

Picture of the Epcot geosphere from when Team Member Kristen visited WDW as a child

One way I’ve found to curb those Disney Park cravings is to live vicariously through the documentaries and series offered through Disney+, Disney’s online subscription streaming platform. From peaceful sunrises to the fast-paced fun of the fantastic theme park attractions, the following titles are the perfect indirect vehicle through which we can experience some of the wonders of a Disney trip.

Sunrise at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower

 

 

Disney Parks Sunrise Series (2020)

 Imagine marveling at the sun as it rises behind Cinderella’s Castle or watching the Tree of Life as it emerges from its enchanting nighttime facade and into the bright morning light. Well, what would you say if I told you that you didn’t have to imagine? The Sunrise Series allows viewers to experience the breathtaking sunrise at three of Walt Disney World’s theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot!

Tree of Life with beams of Sunlight shining through

 Enjoy your morning coffee and relax as you watch the day begin at The Most Magical Place on Earth.

Sunrise at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

 

The Imagineering Story (2019)

 You’ll laugh, marvel, and most definitely shed a tear or two while experiencing this engaging series that highlights key moments in Disney Parks history. Given unprecedented access to Walt Disney Imagineering, which is the design and development core of The Walt Disney Company, filmmakers guide us through the creation, design, and construction of our most beloved attractions.

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

Photo from Rise of the Resistance

 Beginning with Walt Disney’s dream of Disneyland Park, Angela Bassett (Black Panther and Soul) recounts the exciting and often emotional stories surrounding the expansion of Disney’s theme parks worldwide. Continuing with the Imagineers’ perseverance to fulfill Walt’s vision of Walt Disney World in Orlando, the docuseries concludes with the most recent theme park opening of Shanghai Disneyland Park in China.

 

One Day at Disney (2019)

 Narrated by Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, Black Panther, & Frozen 2), this 1-hour documentary offers an inspiring look at 10 amazing individuals from across the globe who create Disney magic every single day. We follow their personal stories, which range across a variety of disciplines such as Imagineering, animation, broadcasting, and even veterinary work!

 You can also find One Day at Disney Shorts (2019) on Disney+, which is a compilation of videos ranging from 5-9 minutes in length that each feature “a day in the life” of a Disney Cast Member. These short segments are a great way to learn more about the people behind the scenes and are perfect for when you don’t necessarily have an hour to spend watching a full documentary.

Disney Cast Member

 Some of my favorite episodes that focus on the Disney Parks feature Lupe de Santiago, a seamstress at Disneyland Resort; Kris Becker, an animal keeper at Animal Kingdom Park; and Stephanie Carroll, a ranch hand at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness Resort!

 

 

Disney Insider (2020)

This 7-episode docuseries “peels back the curtain” of The Walt Disney Company and gives viewers a never-before-seen glimpse at Disney movies, music, destinations, theme parks, and more!

Aulani

 Join pop superstar Katy Perry at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, then venture into Animal Kingdom to discover the Elephant and Bees Project with Disney Conservation. You can also experience a Half Marathon with RunDisney and take a peek at Disneyland Resort’s collaboration with couture designer Guo Pei for Mickey and Minnie’s 2020 Lunar New Year attire!

2018 Run Disney Princess Half-Marathon starting Line

Run Disney event with runners heading into the Magic Kingdom

 

 

Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom (2020)

Are you looking for a more in-depth look at Walt Disney World’s wildest theme park? Look no further than this National Geographic docuseries narrated by Olaf himself, Josh Gad! 

Each episode introduces viewers to the residents of Animal Kingdom and their careers, including Kenya the giraffe, Gus the hippo, and alpha lioness Kinsey. Custom-built GoPro housings, 18-foot cranes, and underwater camera technology truly bring you right into the worlds of these rare and beautiful animals. The series also dives into The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot!

 

 

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings (2018-2020)

When I think of a Disney wedding, I instantly picture the gorgeous Wedding Pavilion at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. 

Exterior shot of Disney’s Grand Floridian Wedding Pavilion

Disney’s Grand Floridian Wedding Pavilion

While it is a beautiful venue, there are so many spectacular spaces across the Disney Resorts where couples can say, “I do!” From Sunset Boulevard at Hollywood Studios to Disneyland California Adventure’s Pixar Pier, 

Fairy Tale Weddings shows us that love truly is “a song that never ends.”

 

Behind the Attraction (2021)

 With its first five episodes premiering earlier this year, Behind the Attraction is the newest Disney+ docuseries that gives viewers a look at the creation and continual development of some of our favorite Disney rides and attractions.

Boat from the Jungle Cruise at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

lion scene from the Jungle Cruise at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Produced by Dwayne Johnson, the series fittingly opens with a look at the history of the Jungle Cruise. Subsequent episodes feature attractions such as the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain and also explore the evolution of classic attractions over time, namely Disneyland’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s transformation into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! The second half of the series is currently slated to be released later this year.

Scene from the Stretching Room in the Haunted Mansion

A definite highlight of my job at David’s Vacation Club Rentals is that whether it be helping a family with their dream stay at a Disney Vacation Club Resort or just learning a new fun fact about the Parks and Resorts, there is always magic in my day. That said, when I need an extra sprinkle of pixie dust, you can often find me re-watching one of these series and daydreaming about a future Disney adventure!

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom

~Kristen