"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting It

We saw more "bad behavior" on this Disney trip than any before. We saw a physical fight over parade watching spots narrowly averted by a cast member our first night in the park. The next day we witnessed a man jump off the Walt Disney World Railroad train while it was going regular speed between two stops. He'd apparently dropped his cell phone. He was almost thrown from the park, saved, we assume, by his pre-school daughter wearing a princess costume. Groups of foreign tourists speaking loudly over the narration of attractions was the norm rather than the exception. We noticed an unusual number of parents screaming at kids, and often kids who seemed to be doing nothing wrong. We saw 8, 10, maybe even 12-year-olds attached to dads with leashes. I don't know if we were just more sensitive to this stuff because we ourselves were so relaxed and happy and paying a lot of attention to everything going on around us, but on this trip all three of us picked up on many people who just weren't getting it. It made us feel really lucky to not be one of "those families," and coming home, I've become very happy to be surrounded by people who really do "get it."

We are a Disney Geek family. We all three see the Disney Magic as something real and valuable and important. I'm not shy about my love for Disney, as evidenced by this blog and it's accompanying Facebook page, and neither is the lovely Miss Lisa. This has led us to some good natured ribbing, of course, but also to discover some other Disney Geeks in our daily lives. I've found that others in the salesman community are as enthusiastic about Disney as myself. We can go on for hours in the back room of a grocery store discussing the latest discounts, the pros and cons of renting Disney Vacation Club points, character meals, crowd levels and all other aspects of trip planning. We use so many acronyms, I doubt anyone else can understand what we're saying. Lisa works for our town government and has found a cadre of dedicated Disney Geeks in charge of our police force. One officer sent us down with pins to trade and when we brought him back a Mickey sheriff's badge pin, he went to brag to the Chief, who already had one of his own of course. They proceeded to try one-upping each other with Disney collectibles they owned. The pastor of our church is another Disney-phile who made a point to tell me how much joy he gets out of the pictures I post and assured me that the experience our son gets on a family trip to Disney World is worth much more than any money we spent. Disney Geekery is everywhere.

I wrote before we left for our trip about how much fun I expected to have sharing our memories upon our return. What makes that sharing fun, and rewarding, is having people who "get it" to share with. Going through the Disney parks with Lisa and John is pure heaven for me because we all three appreciate it, nothing is forced, no one is just going along to see the others have fun. When Walt spoke in the movie shown at the end of "One Man's Dream" about wanting to build a park where parents and children could enjoy a place completely together because that's what he wanted for himself and his daughters, Lisa teared up. She understands what makes the magic. It's love, pure and simple. Behind all the corporatism and licensing and money, is the love one man had for his family and the world at large. That's why Disney works, why it's different. It's enough to move anyone to tears, anyone who get's it anyway.

Lisa's doorknob pic
my doorknob pic
My family is lucky to have another family who sees Disney in exactly the same way. Adrian and Jen and their boys Max and Milo are exactly the same kind of Disney Family as we are. They recently returned from a trip to Disneyland and the sharing of our two experiences has been a true joy. The similarities in the way we take in the parks is uncanny. We all try to capture the magic on camera, we have several thousand pictures between us, but I was amazed at how we all saw the same things as interesting or noteworthy. I've gotten used to pretty much sharing a brain with Lisa, so when we found we'd taken pictures of the same doorknob we weren't the least bit surprised. We shot lots of "detail" picture, ones we laughed about no one seeing us knowing what the heck we could be taking a picture of. Well, Jen would have known. While I took a picture of the light fixture on the ceiling of the WDW Railroad passenger car, Jen took one of the light in her room. Lisa took tons of door pictures, Jen has several of the inside of an elevator. Jen and I both took pictures of the entrance to Adventureland that aside from being from opposite ends of the country, could be the same shot. It's just really funny to me, and heartwarming. It's nice to have kindred spirits out there.

light on the train

A door in Norway
Elevator in the Disneyland Hotel
A faucet in Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel light
 It's not just the pictures, though. I mean how many people take the time to set down in a blog the joys of waiting in line? Back in February, I did, and here's a part of it:

"We aren't opposed to waiting in line, though, for something we all really want to do. Two hours is a bit much, but even for an hour and a half we have been known to suck it up and wait. It's really not the end of the world. There's lots to do in line. Disney has spent a tremendous amount of time and imagination and money making even the queuing areas of its attractions interesting. That's not even to mention the people watching opportunities. I pity the people who never wait in line and as a result miss out on mocking the other Disney guests' dress, hairstyle, accent, mannerisms and child-rearing skills. What do you people talk about at dinner? Even if you are sickeningly nice and don't get snarky and mean about strangers, you could spend time in line talking to your family. Imagine that! You are on vacation and the children, if not the adults, are probably close to sensory over-load. Talking about what you've done and seen and what adventures are yet to come make passing the time in line rather enjoyable."

Jen wrote on her personal blog yesterday all about waiting in the Radiator Springs Racers queue in Cars Land at Disneyland for two hours while they got the ride working again. She wasn't complaining, she was celebrating one of the best parts of her trip. Not only did she and Max take the time together to just be together, she experienced the joy of seeing her son get it while he pointed out Imagineering details to her. I couldn't have expressed it better myself, though I did express the  very same experience from our trip. Here's a bit from Jen's blog:

 "It didn't really matter....because even though, all told, Max and I stood on that queue for almost two hours, it was so very enjoyable.  At no point did he whine or complain (that would have made me get out of the line immediately, and he probably knew that!), and he tried his best to entertain the people in line around us (yeah, you know he did).  Even better, HE kept pointing out all these amazing Imagineered details to ME, and I loved how observant and interested he was.  We talked and we laughed and we shared an overpriced water bottle that a costumed cast member wisely started hawking to his captive audience, and we giggled over the texted photos of Milo enjoying A Bug's Land, and we imagined and we planned and we enjoyed each other.  There was no laundry to be done, there were no emails distracting me, there was no need to do school work, there was no Milo hanging on me....just two hours of Max and Mom time, doing something purely for fun."

That's what I mean by "getting it." It's what made Lisa get emotional at a movie. It's what makes me write this blog. It's magic, the real thing.

Just after we got home from Disney and a day or so before they left for their trip, I was dropping something off at Jen and Adrian's house. As I was leaving, Max came over to give me a hug and said, "I can't wait to get back so we can get together and share our stories!"  A seven year old looking forward to getting home so he could relive his experience with his friends. He gets it. That's what keeps the Disney Magic alive.

Walt Disney World's Adventureland entrance

Disneyland's Adventureland entrance

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