I can't begin to count the number of times I've been asked, "You're going to Disney again???" I'm sure some of you have been asked that very same question a number of times as well.
And the answer is always a resounding "Yes!"
So, why do people, including myself, continue to return to Walt Disney World year after year? The answer is simple - Magic.
No matter how many times I've gone to Disney, every time I step on property, there's a feeling that envelops me, a precursor of what's to come. And as soon as I walk under the train station at the Magic Kingdom and onto Main Street, there it is - Magic.
Sure - we could travel out of the country, to Europe or to a beautiful island. And I'm sure we will at some point. But why would we when we can enjoy a wonderful family vacation in a beautiful and magical place like the World?
How many times have we all gone on a family vacation, only to have everyone do their own thing? Perhaps, Dad is on his iPad, Mom is on her cell, and the kiddos are playing on their Kindles or watching a DVD. Sure, everyone is in the same place, but are they really enjoying it together? Probably not - they're each enjoying something on their own, not really communicating with each other.
Although we certainly can't escape technology at the Disney Parks, we've always experienced something quite different while on vacation at the World. We enjoy the parks together as a family. Sure, we have our moments when the cell phones come out, but those are fleeting moments - 99% of the time, we're enjoying each others' company, laughing over the thrills, smiling over memories in the making, living in the moment, all of us excited about our next ride, show, or meal. We're making plans together, scanning menus together, standing in line together - the key word being "TOGETHER".
And let's face it - not too many people walk away from a Disney vacation disappointed. Of course people complain about the heat, the crowds, the lines (I do too!)...but ask them if they had fun, and most of them are going to say "yes" with a big smile on their faces, and most of them will say they're planning a return trip...
Being at Disney, especially if staying on property, puts you in a Disney "bubble" where you're enveloped in magic, fantasy, and are given the gift of feeling like a child again - at least for a few days. It's an amazing indescribable feeling, a feeling that is truly magnified if you have the opportunity to watch your own children enjoying that Disney Magic.
A couple of years ago, while in the Magic Kingdom, my daughter and husband went off to ride Astro Orbiter. I waited for them and before long, Chip and Dale came out for a character meet and greet and stood about 3 feet away from where I was sitting. I truly enjoyed watching them interact with everyone. Suddenly an older woman came forward, having patiently waited her turn in line. The smile on her face was incredible, from ear to ear. She was smiling, crying, and hugging and kissing Chip and Dale. It was obvious that she was having a "childhood" moment, and they were so wonderful with her.
As I observed their exchange, it suddenly hit me why Disney is so beloved by so many - because it affords everyone that walks through its gates to magically become a child again - for however long they're at the World - they are granted a second childhood. Amazing!
How many other places can we say that about?
How many times are we granted the wish of being a child again?
Where else can we relive our childhood through the joy and delight of our children?
Those opportunities are precious and priceless to me, and I enjoy them more than anything.
So, although I'm sure I'll get asked the same question another hundred times in the future, the answer will always be the same - a resounding (and happy) "YES!"
Here's wishing all of you get the opportunity to feel the Magic for yourselves - over and over again.
Until next time, I hope you remember to keep the Mouse in your house.