Over the years, letters and post cards have really become a thing of the past for most guests, but did you know that the theming at Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts even goes as far as to include real and operational mail boxes? Today, sending letters has become more of a novelty that anything, but at Disney, it can make for a an interesting little surprise awaiting you when you return home.
Thoroughout our Disney trips, very early on, we used to make it a point to purchase a set of stamps, find postcards and send them to ourselves, our grandparents, or even a few friends from the parks themselves. While it was certainly a simple gesture, it was something that many times you would completely forget about until you returned home and a subtle little surprise from your trip would be waiting for you in the mailbox.
As the years went on and this tradition continued, we found ways to make it a little more unique. As we went from character interaction to character interaction in the parks, we’d have a select few of our favorites sign a postcard, which we would then stick in the in-park mailbox and send on home. It was simple, but as a kid, it was something that we only really got to do at Walt Disney World. At the time, stamps were fairly cheap, and even today it’s a much cheaper (and typically more meaningful) souvenir that others you would find across property. Postcards are fairly cheap anywhere and if you’re on a really tight budget you can even buy them at a local Walgreens or CVS location and take them with you. Here’s a few examples of cards we’ve sent over the years:
The whole principal seems a little strange, but I have many vivid memories of pulling one those big metal classic mailboxes open and sliding a postcard in. It was a unique part of our Disney experience and one that really stuck with me years later. Even today, I still have many of these singed postcards sent from the parks safely stored away.
In regards to theming, Disney makes every necessary step to ensure that the mailboxes themselves blend seamlessly into the environment they are located in. On Main Street U.S.A (and surrounding areas), the postal service has loaned Disney a few early 1900’s mailboxes. The collection bins are cleaned out by cast members and sent out with the rest of Disney’s mail by means of the same postal service that spans the United States. Beyond the parks, most resorts will have a collection box of their own. Just as with the parks, if you’re not looking for them, you’ll likely never notice their presence simply because they blend so well with their thematic surroundings.
Of course, today, post cards are essentially a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a fun memory with family (in an incredibly budget friendly way) even though we have the perks of modern technology at our fingertips. Call me nostalgic, but there’s still something special about receiving something tangible in the mail that isn’t a bill or an unwanted advertisement.
Personally, I love that Disney still offers this service many years after it’s prime time of utilization. Sure, if you forget something important like a rent payment or a bill you overlooked, these can serve very practical purposes, but with online transactions and many other services available today, this is something that has become distinctly Disney. It’s a little detail, but often times the littlest details add up to create the largest difference in the end. I will note though that today the boxes are not checked quite as frequently as they once were (or perhaps mail is just slower), because when you send letters or postcards today, it does typically take longer to receive them in the mail that it once did. Either way, this is just one of those “hidden gems” that you’ll likely only find at Walt Disney World!
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