I sometimes find myself trying to get a handle on what Disney “means.” For some people, Disney World is little more than a manufactured playground headed by a monolithic company. They never take the time to look deeper than the attractions and they spend too much of their trip focusing on all the faults: The heat, the crowds, the cost. But if you really think about it, what Disney ultimately is, whether you travel as a family with young kids or as a couple or in a group of friends, is more than just a theme park where you go to be entertained. It’s about making memories with people you care about and there’s something about Disney World that makes it easy. That’s the connection that keeps fans coming back.
Maybe it’s because you shut out the rest of the world while you’re there and spend time in what many call “the Disney bubble.” It’s telling that despite all the entertaining distractions going on around you, there’s still something about the parks that makes us slow down. I once saw a hipster mommy-type watching Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage go from being jaded and uninterested to sitting on the edge of her seat like a little girl during the performance. And there’s something gratifying about seeing a teenager give his mom a hug, not worried what anyone around him thinks. It’s those sort of moments that you see happen, or maybe they happen to you, that make Disney special.
So maybe it is “the bubble.” Or maybe it’s that happy exhaustion that we all feel while we’re there, staying up too late and playing all day, that Disney facilitates so well. My friend Franklyn, a frequent guest, wrote this on Facebook the other day, and I think it sums up what I’ve been trying to say:
I swear my favorite time is running around the parks like a crazy kid then sitting down and watching Main Street Electrical Parade (prefer Spectro) then Wishes. Between the parade and Wishes, there’s like this calm and contentedness when everybody is gathered around Cinderella castle waiting for their bedtime story. It’s probably the best thing I love about the MK.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world but yet there’s something uniquely different about Disney World that, for a lot of us, makes for a special connection. It’s hard to put in words. For those who don’t get it, I understand. But for those who do, save me a spot on Main Street during Wishes, okay?