I am at Walt Disney World, the Most Magical Place on Earth, and younger sibling of Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth. Magic is a tough idea to quantify but I think the above claim is dubious. It’s a nice place, it surely is, and it is almost magical the way they host all of those people and keep the grounds so tidy and move employees around so efficiently. But we know their secret…the whole park is built one floor above a labyrinth of hallways and such. So the tidiness and efficiency is nothing more than good planning- not magical at all.
I’ve only been to Disneyland once, when I was 13. It didn’t strike me then as the Happiest Place on earth. To be honest, as a 13 year old boy I would have given that award to a place where boobs played a more prominent role. At any rate, let’s assume that the experience between the two parks is similar; let’s assume that the people over at Walt Disney Corporation would love for us to believe that Walt Disney World is, if not the Happiest, at least a very happy, place on earth. I’m afraid I have some horrible news for them. It isn’t even close. I’ll grant you that even as a 38 year-old I’d rate any place that prominently featured women’s breasts more highly than a theme park. But still. It is a place that features moments of great joy surrounded by hours of temper tantrums, sore feet, exhaustion, crabbiness, bickering, and kids and adults failing to appreciate what is in front of them and aching for the things they cannot have/did not do. I’m trying to think if there is a place I’ve overheard more parents yelling at kids or seen more kids stomping mad. One would almost certainly find more pleasant family dynamics in a family counselor’s waiting room.
Not that all of the crabbiness and foot stomping is Disney’s fault. Well maybe some of it is. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another organization that spends as much time and money convincing us that we’re having a great time there. Then when we get here and find that we haven’t been magically transformed into something that does not feel pain, that is able to be happy and giddy for 12 solid hours, we are disappointed, we feel inferior (“I’m supposed to feel Magic and instead I just feel tired and hungry.”) Alas, you are here what you were at home. But warmer (and sunburned).
So why am I coming back next year? Well everyone in my family wants to for one thing and I love them. Also it is sunny and warm. And maybe my kids aren’t the jump-up-and-down-and-point-excitedly-like-they-do-in-the-commercials types but they do hide behind me and peak out at Goofy. And when we get back to the room and for several days after they look through their autograph books and tell me about the characters who signed them. In short we’ve already forgotten the less magical parts of the past week. Our memories are good and make us happy. And if that isn’t Magical it is at least magical.