Why I love Disney

In today’s post, I’m going to explain why I, personally, am so in love with Disney.

Well, to put it in the most clichéd way possible, it’s because it makes me forget problems and live in a magical world for a while. I can escape.

Yes, this is cliché, but completely accurate. When I visit Disney, you can see the glow in my eyes as I wander around a different world that’s not what I’m typically used to. I can leave my problems and fears behind for a bit and go to somewhere unfamiliar and happy.

Sure, any amusement park can provide something like this. You go on rides, and you forget some of your cares. You dare to do things you couldn’t every day. But there’s something different and innovative about Disney that just makes it so much more incredible for me. Each ride tells a story. It’s not just a roller coaster you ride on for a bit and then come off with your stomach in your feet. Each and every single attraction tells a story.

And that makes all the difference to me.

I’m a storyteller, and I want my work to inspire people in ways of hope and beauty. And a good story that I hear or become involved in can inspire me to write my own, or even just to appreciate someone else’s work. I want to know how they would tell a tale, to learn from their strategies, and how I can make my own work better. A story makes anything more personal and special.

Disney’s stories are completely immersive. You actually take an interactive journey through each attraction and plot line. And the conflict is always happily resolved in a nice pretty package. Good triumphs over evil, you make it to the concert just in time, and you survive your own journey through time and space, avoiding dinosaurs, natural predators, and asteroids. YOU are the main character in the story, not Snow White, Peter Pan, or Figment. Each attraction tells your own story of a personal journey that you must take until you get off that car. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I always feel a little different when I hope off those cars at the end of the ride. I take something away from a lesson I learned, or, to continue the clichés, I feel a little bit of magic in me. But I’m not the same person who came on the ride in the first place.

Before I went to Disney this past summer, I went all out getting ready for the trip. I looked at websites and books to read up on the attractions and places to visit, stay, and eat. I researched typical weather reports and bought all of the things I could possibly need. I tried to learn some of the history of the park that changes people’s lives. I wanted everything to be perfect. But, as I packed my bags for the trip, I had a shock to my system: What if I was overdoing the whole thing? What if I had made too much out of a simple amusement park? Sure, I had been there before, and it had been great, but I was getting older. What if, gasp, I was too old and cynical to really enjoy the magic as I had before?

Sure enough, I did have a different appreciation for the resort. Items, food, and hotels are expensive. People are constantly on their cell phones and MP3 players distracting themselves, hardly even noticing that they are on vacation. The wait for the buses can be long and boring, and the Florida weather can be wet and hot. Some things felt a little more, well, commercial.

I felt a bit cynical.

But I went to our hotel. The outside looked like a special hotel, nothing too out of the ordinary. However, as we walked up to check in, even just on the walk, everything felt different. I felt different. There was a spring in my step, and a huge smile was on my face. I wasn’t too cynical; I was a kid. I was so excited just to be there, and, as we entered the lobby and the cast members greeted us so pleasantly with “Jambo,” my eyes grew in amazement and awe.

I felt like I was really in Africa.

Every little detail that the Imagineers invent and implement gives me, the traveler, a feeling where chills run up and down my spine. I actually lose my breath sometimes when I see what they can do. I am fascinated by what these engineers do, and, though it may seem like knowing the technical “magic” that they perform would steal my wonder and awe, somehow it brings in a more adult awe. They take simple things like lighting, animatronics, music, and a great, though not complex, story, and make something that seems like a dream become a reality. It really is like traveling to another world. How breathtaking is it to hang-glide over California without a fear of falling? Or travelling to the bottom of the ocean to hang out with some of its inhabitants? Or travelling to see the Yetti without a passport? Or even watching fireworks light up the night sky while your hero battles all of good and evil? It’s amazing how these engineers can bring you to places you never thought possible, or to reach the innermost portions of your imagination, places that you never would have believed you could dream of. This is what the Imagineers do. And they do it so well. So well that I never want to leave once I arrive.

It’s a feeling that’s impossible to describe. Goodness knows the best word I can come up with is “magic.” And maybe magic IS real here. Maybe magic isn’t just fairy dust or spells or creatures or talking animals or whatever. Maybe, just maybe, magic is something that we access inside ourselves at a certain moment, a moment when everything feels RIGHT. It’s the feeling that nothing can harm us, and there’s a peace that we may never have thought we could feel again. A feeling where we can be and do whatever we want and go wherever our hearts desire. There are no limits except our imaginations. And the imagination is far from limited. We become children at heart, no matter our ages.

Leave your troubles at home. Sure, they will wait for you there for when you come back, but maybe you’ll feel a little different when you come back. Maybe you’ll even find the inspiration to solve some problems or deal with them a little differently. A story can change your life. Many stories can make an impact. And my life has always been a little brighter when I’ve been to Disney. I hope you, too, can find that little spark of inspiration like I have when you visit.

And may all your wishes come true.

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