Okay, okay. I’ll give you advanced warning, loyal readers … this is going to be yet another post about how much my recent trip to Walt Disney World was the best ever.
If you’re sick of my Disney posts, I apologize. But honestly, there’s not all that much else going on in my head. Feel free to read on or skip this post — I won’t be offended (and probably won’t know) either way.
Yesterday, I found myself thinking about why this recent trip to WDW was so incredible. I’m twenty-two years old and was more excited to be in the parks than I was when I was four. And then I realized that the magic of Disney never disappears. Ever. It just redirects itself.
While I don’t remember my family’s first trip to the parks (I was four at the time), my mom and dad always tell me that I was overjoyed to see my favorite Disney characters in person. I wanted to meet EVERYONE — and I have the autograph book to prove it. For majority of young kids, the magic of Disney World IS meeting the characters. It’s seeing a world you’ve only experienced through your television screen come to life. For the little girls dressed like princesses, being doted on by cast members is also magical. Everyone should have the opportunity to feel like a princess or prince!
When I was nine, we went again. This time, the magic was in the rides. I wanted to ride Splash Mountain over and over and over again. That’s what I remember the most – running around with my sister, ready to get on rides. As kids get older, it’s less about the characters and more about the thrills. Anyone who’s been to Disney World can tell you that the rides themselves have a certain kind of magic — the stories they tell and the worlds they take you into are incredibly innovative.
At fourteen and seventeen, I was still focused on the rides. On the 2004 trip, my sister and I rode the Tower of Terror so many times that I’m sure my mom got bored waiting for us. I believe it was on the 2007 trip when I fell in love with the Great Movie Ride, another ride where you’re taken into an incredible world filled with vivid characters that come to life before your eyes.
At eighteen, I went with close friends. My friend’s nieces and nephew were on the trip, and it was the first time I got to experience the parks through a child’s eyes. I was amazed by the absolute awe and wonder on their faces, and I felt like a kid again, too. At nineteen, I had a similar experience — we brought my brother’s friend, who is absolutely a child at heart, and just seeing his excitement was enough to, once again, make me feel like a kid again.
At twenty-one, I went with a group of eleven people. Some people in the group had never been to Disney World, and some were Disney pros, but the group as a whole was incredible because we all found our own magic. One of the most magical parts of it for me was the time spent with my family, and seeing their reactions to the Disney magic. Later on at twenty-one, I went to the parks with just my mom and grandmother. My grandmother hadn’t been to WDW in years, so I got to see her happiness as she re-experienced everything.
And now, at twenty-two (almost twenty-three), I am finally figuring out what is the most magical part of it all for me: the actual world itself. The magical, beautiful, fantastic world that Walt Disney and his Imagineers have created. The world that I want to be a part of.
Basically, what I’ve figured out is that the magic doesn’t disappear when we grow up (or get older); it just redirects itself. The magic for me was in the Keys to the Kingdom tour. It was in everything that I learned about the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney. As I get older and inevitably keep WDW close to my heart, I know I will experience new magic: I’m hoping to work there, which would open a whole new world (ha) to me. When I have children, I will be able to experience it with them. All I know is that Disney World will always, always, be magical to me, regardless of where the magic manifests.