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Finding Disney in Making It Special Every Time

Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life


new year castleThere is no denying we get excited at the “firsts” of any Disney vacation. The first time we board the Monorail. The first time we see the Castle. The first time we spot Mickey. Each time we return to Walt Disney World, the first time we experience certain things there is a heightened thrill to them because we have been absent for a while.

This is something on which everyone can agree: If it’s the first day of my Disney vacation, when I step through the railroad tunnels and onto Main Street, U.S.A. I’m going to be over-the-moon excited (whether that is expressed outwardly or inwardly). Bottom line, I’m pumped, but what about on day two? Three? Four? Sure, we’re happy to be there, but is that same maximized excitement level present? I’ll bet that it isn’t.

What if we got excited every time we experienced something monumental throughout Walt Disney World, not just the first time each trip? In extended visits, it’s more difficult to get into this mindset. I’m here for a while, so after a few days, admittedly, touring the parks becomes routine. That doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, but it does mean, in my mind, it’s become an ordinary day (and an expectation) rather than an amazing day (and a gift). Conversely, it’s much easier to get excited about every small detail for quicker trips. There is such a limited timeframe that each experience becomes a greater part, proportionally, of the adventure, and as such, holds more value than it might ordinarily possess.

So how do we do this? How do we get into the frame of mind of cherishing everything we encounter in each Disney voyage? Something I like to do is to think of how I would feel back home. Six months from now, if, on an ordinary day of school, someone were to tell me I could teleport to the Magic Kingdom for five hours and only five hours, how would I feel? How blown would my mind be? How excited would I become? Very. I’d be beside myself. And yet, in the middle of a weeklong trip, after a mid-afternoon break when we return to the Magic Kingdom for its remaining five hours of operation, how excited are we? Again, we’re probably happy and certainly not ungrateful, but the excitement that would be present if this were an isolated experience is simply not there.

White Rabbit ClockThis really got to me during my family’s summer visit. I was spending some time alone while they took naps. Suddenly (and you know how this goes), the sky unleashes a fury as rain descends in colossal drops. It’s pouring. Unfortunately, my raincoat was back at the hotel. Seeking refuge, I scurry to the nearest shelter, the breezeway of Cinderella Castle. (I mean, if you have to wait out a storm, I guess that’s an ok place.) After a few minutes, it was clear that the rain would continue for a while. This put a huge kink in my plans for the afternoon, most of which included seeing the park’s outdoor entertainment I’d missed earlier in the trip but that’s when the aforementioned mindset began to get to me. I could wait out the rain under the shelter, but who knows how long that would take? This was precious time I could be spending experiencing the magic, at the small expense of some wet clothes. If I was in this same situation in six months—if I were offered the chance for a few hours in the park to do as I please, on the condition it was raining—wouldn’t I be floored and not even consider the rain as an obstacle? So that’s when I stepped foot into the monsoon and headed for Space Mountain, dripping all the way.

Should I ever seriously pursue a career in Orlando, there is always that fear of the parks losing that touch of specialness because they would become frequent and familiar. However, if intentionality is placed upon each moment, they’re special every time. Every time I see that castle, I at least try to think, “Wow, I’m looking at the Castle.” Every time I see Mickey, I remind myself I’m looking at THE Mickey Mouse, that one of America’s most iconic figures is in the flesh before my eyes. That doesn’t mean I become entranced or brainwashed by anything Disney that’s put in my face, but it does mean I try to appreciate the value of what’s in front of me, whether we’re meeting again for the first time in three years or for the first time since this morning.


(Images © Disney.)

Blake studies Electronic Media and Film at Appalachian State University. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.