People are often skeptical of my love for Disney World. They don’t understand why I choose to visit so often and I’ve blogged about it before. But I don’t think I’ve ever really explained what I mean when I say that there is real magic at Disney World.
Yes, there are crying children. Yes, there are screaming couples, rude and inconsiderate people, and large obnoxious tour groups. But there is something intangible that makes all of that worth it. Its the magic. Its a feeling, its inspiration, and I think there is some healing power for people.
I took a tour once and heard a story that I’m sure I’ve embellished and changed in my head over time. However, the gist is that a young autistic girl and her family saved up their money to go to WDW and stay at the very expensive Animal Kingdom Lodge. See the girl was non-verbal but loved animals so much and so her parents scraped by and came up with the funds to make the trip and stay in a posh room overlooking the African Savannah, which houses animals like zebras, giraffes, and such.
Now this girl had never uttered an identifiable word in her life. But on their first night there as they were readying for bed her parents heard her look out the window and say out loud, “Nite Nite Animals.”
They were floored and the next morning rushed to Guest Relations to tell them how grateful they were that the Disney magic had helped their precious daughter come out of her autistic world for a minute. They were so encouraged, they apparently sold all they had and moved to Central Florida to be close to the magic. There’s another story about how an autistic young man with a love for Snow White and her “Scary Adventures” ride and how on his 1,000 ride through he got to ride with Snow White herself. His 2,000th ride was even better! You gotta read that story here: http://lokheed.livejournal.com/242624.html. If that doesn’t make you cry, I don’t know if you’re human.
Not long ago I found this thread about a couple having their baby while staying at Disney World. Not only is it a great example of the kind of customer service that Disney is famous for, its a heartfelt story about why people continue to choose to spend their time under the cover of magic.
And then there’s the countless posts I read on message boards about the little things that happen. A custodial cast member putting down his broom to rush into a crowded restaurant to get a sugary drink for the diabetic person fading fast on the sidewalk. The cast members who hear about a lost autograph book who run backstage, get a brand new one and have the characters backstage recreate those signatures for the crying little girl. The extra dessert and wonderful conversation that I personally have had on my birthday trips with cast members who don’t think its strange that I’m all alone but instead use it as an opportunity to connect with me – and connect me with the magic.
If you’ve never been to Disney World, you need to go. Yes, you should plan a lot before you head down and yes, its going to be a whirlwind of activity on your first trip. You might miss the quiet moments if you’re not looking for them. But I can tell you that if you take a breath, sit on a bench, watch the people, and soak in just a little bit of the magic you can truly know what I’m talking about.
That’s what I’ll be doing in less than four hours. I’ll let you know how it goes.
COME BACK TOMORROW FOR FAVORITE THINGS WEDNESDAY!