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Finding Disney: Using Social Media to Maximize the Magic

Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life

Disney magic is something that’s important to all of us. We want to soak in every minute of it while we’re on vacation, and we yearn to recreate it once we get back home. The very premise of this recurring column is all about finding those little instances of Disney magic in everyday life and celebrating those discoveries. One would think, then, that when we’re actually in the epicenter of that magic—in Walt Disney World itself—we wouldn’t want any distraction. We’d want to be fully there, as it were.

However, the world as it functions today has instant communication at its core. We have to film, take pictures, and tweet if we’re to keep up with the world around us, or at least that’s how a lot of us feel. Social media has transformed the way people handle their many activities, including taking a vacation. The question goes in circles and has noteworthy points on both sides of the coin: Does using social media in the Disney Parks distract from the magic while you’re there, or does it preserve the magic for those who aren’t there (and for you once your vacation is over)?

Regardless of the answer to that question, social media isn’t going away anytime soon. Here are some fun and practical ways to embrace technology while inside the Disney Parks:MK Parade

FaceTime. What a fun thing this is! As any frequenter of The Box knows, there is something inexplicably cool about conversing on a live video with someone who is actually inside Walt Disney World at that very moment. During my last trip, I FaceTimed a friend while I rode The Barnstormer, and later FaceTimed my mom straight from the [3:00] parade (to which she gathered all her office colleagues around to watch!). Those smiles are priceless, and they help me feel like I’m making my own sort of magic, in a way, for the people who couldn’t come with me.

Twitter. One of my favorite things to do nowadays when I get home from a vacation is to scroll through my tweets from the trip. Since they are each written in the moment as I’m there, reading them later really helps take me back to that point in time in a more personal way than photos or videos. They take me back to the same train of thought or feelings I had when I was there. I don’t go crazy with Twitter in the Parks, as I do think it’s important to smell the roses in person as much as you can, but it makes for a neat little mini-journal afterward.

Filming reactions. There are a bajillion YouTube uploads of Festival of the Lion King. But how many videos are there of your own, individual family’s glowing faces as they experience it? Granted, you have to play it cool and not overdo it so as to not filter false reactions, but I love, love, love reaction videos. They so authentically depict how people respond when they are overcome with that Disney magic, and it’s different every time. One of my family’s most treasured home movies is of my sister (who was three years old at the time) waving like crazy as the princess float goes by in the Magic Kingdom parade. Reactions are just fantastic.

Taking advantage of Disney resources. From line apps and character guides, made both officially by Disney and unofficially by fans, there are lots of great planning tools out there. They’re perfect for planning out your trip before you leave home, as well as making on-the-spot decisions once you’ve arrived. Disneyland Resort even has active, official Twitter feeds for both of its Parks (@DisneylandToday and @DCAToday) made specifically for the purpose of guests asking questions as they tour.

Even though social media and technology can get out of hand, that’s only if you let it. If you harness it to maximize the magic, it can make your vacation all that much better.

Photos from personal family collection.

Blake is a college student focusing on Film and Creative Writing. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade on Main Street and then sprint to Frontierland in time to see it again. You can follow Blake’s random Disney ramblings on Twitter at @olddirtyblake, or at BlakeOnline.com.