Revisiting someplace we had been when we were younger forces us to see the ways we’ve changed and grown as the place we revisit has stayed the same. Disney World is a special example of this because in addition to the self-actualization you experience there, you’re also transported back to the liberating and joyous feeling of being a child again, when in your eyes the whole world was a wonderful and magical place. Disney allows us to preserve that childhood wonder, and it remains in our hearts and minds a place of happiness and dreams. I feel lucky to say that I’ve just visited Disney World for a third time. It was just as wonderful as I remembered, and I appreciated it in a whole new way this time.
When I first visited Disney World, I was 6 years old. My main fascination and focus during that trip was to collect autographs from all of my favorite characters. I couldn’t believe that Belle and Minnie and Pocahontas were right there in front of me, within reach of my little hands! I filled my autograph book cover-to-cover during that trip, and those wonderful character actors sealed the deal for my love of all things Disney.
At age 12, I visited Disney with my family again, and my focus this time was the rides and the thrills. I rode every roller coaster and delighted in the fear each one induced in me. Long gone were my days of lining up to meet my favorite Disney characters. Rather, in my too-cool-for-school phase at age 12, the roller coasters were the main attraction in my eyes.
Flash forward over a decade, and I find myself filled with the magical Disney spirit again, surrounded by the music, the characters, the families, the rides, and the attractions that make Disney World such a special and unique destination. On this trip, I have a new eye for what’s around me, I notice the details I couldn’t see when I was younger and I appreciate the incredible lengths to which everyone at Disney goes, to make this experience completely enrapturing and magical.
Every detail, from the moment you arrive at Orlando International Airport, Disney has considered and accounted for. They have thought of every detail and made accommodations to better serve its visitors. Whether it’s signs and staff to direct you where you need to go, complementary services like buses and shuttles, Magic Bands that give you easy access to your hotel room and the parks, or complementary Fast Passes on several rides of your choice so you can experience more during your visit, Disney has you covered. They employ only the best actors to fill the nearly impossible roles of Disney characters, they have an abundance of staff to clean and take your picture and guide you, they make even the lines waiting to get on the rides an interesting and stimulating experience, and they set up the parks so that you feel completely immersed and content with being in this other-world they’ve created. At Disney World, the experience is everything, and they go to great lengths to ensure a great experience for every visitor.
During this recent visit, I am charmed all the more by seeing Disney through an adult’s eyes. Nostalgia runs deep as I think of how my little self stood in the very same places as I do now, then with my family by my side and my eyes wide open to take in all the magic around me. Disney will always be a magical place to me, because Disney will always represent happiness and love and virtue, in a world where evil and challenges are overcome in 90 minutes or less. When the outside world is riddled with problems, we still have Disney to give us hope for a better world. I shudder to think what sad and boring state our world would be in, if Mr. Walt Disney hadn’t drawn that little mouse all those years ago.
What are some of the magical Disney moments that you’ve experienced?!
[ Special thanks goes to my mother, who sifted through boxes of old photos to find these gems for me! ]