So, I am a huge Disney fangirl. Seriously, people. If you could but see my youtube viewing history. Or my FaceBook newsfeed, for that matter. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t.
I was born in the mid seventies, my formative years that I remember were mostly the 80’s. Hard as it may be for younger folks to imagine, television offerings were more limited. But every week, the CBC aired The Wonderful World of Disney. That was my gateway at first. That, and Robin Hood. You know, the one where Robin Hood is a fox. I remember seeing that in the theatres, though looking at when it’s actual release year was, I now know it was one of Disney’s re-releases.
Then, on Christmas day when I was six, my sister and I got a fabulous present. We discovered that our parents, grandmother and, yes, even the two of us, were going to Disney.
Better still – for me, anyway – was that they had chosen for us to be there during my seventh birthday. My sister jokes that she’s still jealous. I don’t think she’s joking.
That week was magical. Disney was this wondrous place. The Magic Kingdom had all these fun rides, Epcot was nothing short of fascinating to the young me. Science, it turned out, was pretty cool, and in the future we were totally going to live in space. Or underwater. Or in desert farms that smell of oranges.
Also, I had a birthday cake with Minnie Mouse on. Also orange flavour. Writing this, I’m really starting to wonder if my love of the smell of oranges, both artificial and real, is linked to this. I may be on to something.
We went back a few more times. Once when I would have been perhaps nine or ten, I have trouble placing that one in time. And once when I was fifteen, this time without my sister (seriously, how does she still love me?) because she was on a trip to Mexico. I secretly believe this may have been my parents fretting about their sixteen year old in Mexico without them, no matter how many responsible adults were there with her group, so putting themselves geographically close enough to get across that border if they had to. This time, I was old enough to be allowed to roam free in the parks. It was a different time, guys.
I remember eating breakfast in a deserted Land pavilion. There may have been another family there, but I don’t think so. After park opening. This doesn’t happen anymore.
And still, the Magic Kingdom was magical, and Epcot was both fascinating and inspiring. MGM Studios was a thing now.. wow, a third gate? Hooray! It was so very, very much about movies. Ah, Great Movie Ride, how I miss you.
But then, I became an adult. And another fifteen years would pass before I was able to go back. This time, with father, step mom and step niece. Essentially, they brought me not just because they love me – because of course they do – but so that I could share a room with the young lady and look after her. This was not difficult. At twelve, she was a perfect little lady and fun to be with. For the first time, I discovered how fun those parks could be when I was all grown up but seeing it through the eyes of the child there with me. She loved it, I loved it. Disney was different, but still fun. I could still see a bit, and though I was missing a lot of what was going on with rides that were new to me, like Splash Mountain – under construction on my last trip – I still had fun.
Another fourteen years would pass. I would lose all sight, gain some back, and be okay with it all. Then, last October, my Mom was kindly driving to work with me, and asked me if I would like to go to Disney World with her in February.
Boy, did I.
Disney World on an adults-only trip is just as much fun, guys. If you think you shouldn’t go because you’re too old but have no kids, you’re missing out. If you don’t like thrill rides, that’s okay, there’s plenty of slower things. On the other hand, if you think it’s all kiddie rides, you’re also wrong. You can do roller coasters thatt go upside down. Or backwards, for that matter. You can believe, for just a few minutes, that you’re actually flying on the back of a banshee from the movie Avatar. Or somehow soaring in a hangglider over famous sights of the world. Soon, you may believe you’re flying in the Millennium Falcon.
Disney World is magical. Yes, okay, it isn’t “real”. Not the real world at all, but that’s sort of the point. I know people roll their eyes a bit at all the talk of magical experiences, but it really, truly is like that. You forget the harsher, colder real world for a bit and just lose yourself in immersive environments.
Some other time, I’ll write about how impressed I am at the length Disney has gone to to accommodate people with varying disabilities, but this is just generally about how much I love that place.
I know the corporation is just that. I know that their goal is to make money. No, I don’t agree with every decision they have ever made. But you know? I don’t care. I just love that place.
And I am not waiting another fourteen years to go back.