Magical Kingdom Musings.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know). You hear a lot, mostly from cynics, about the greed and money-centric focus of Disney World. And, to be fair; I get it. Every time you exit a ride into a store of themed merchandise, you can see evidence to support their claim.
But, see, here is the thing. Disney is more than just a company trying to sell you. Every company on the planet has to make money. That's a given. They are supporting everyone who works there or for them. They are also in a never ending process of improving etc. As such, they kind of have to make money.
Now, that being said leads me to my point. We all grew up with Disney as a part of our lives. The single core element that has always defined them has been their ability to tap into the fabric and intrensic nature of fantasy. From the fairy tales and fables of folklore to the more modern medium of movies, every child and even adults have always reveled in an opportunity to escape into fantastic worlds. All Disney has done is reintroduce us to our old friend in a new way.
Every aspect of Disney world does a great deal to emphasize this. It is a great credit to the scale and scope of imagination they pour into everything. The focus is inexplicably entrenched in immersion. From things imbedded into the ground beneath your feet to the texture and architecture of the buildings around you. It doesn't take a child's eye to see the wonder.
And, when you introduce a child with special needs into such a setting, all that magic comes alive. We, as adults, have a tendency to get tied up and numb to the magic all around us. But, for a child, especially one with special needs, imagination is such a huge part of their life. Those stories and characters are dear friends. Those places are treasure troves of escape from their daily reality. The second you inject them into the heart of that, it's like lifting the curtains of lavish velvet at a majestic theater stage.
I have always taken solace in my own imagination. I have crafted countless tales, landscapes, worlds and the like. But, even to me, I was struck and taken aback by the sights and sounds - the raw ability to reach out and touch something tangible. The second you see Kermit appear from a building to speak about the revolution or witness Mickey, the classic and iconic image of a gentleman waiving at you gives you pause. And then when he helps your daughter up from her chair... Or when Goofy hugs you and your Wife... Or, seeing Belle curtsey with your daughter and dance for a moment in response to her sudden simple request in the middle of a show... It's a lot to take in and appreciate.
The point is, Disney works so hard to capture that innocent magic of imagination in us all. To witness it is something spectacular. You get what you pay for. But it isn't all about the money. I have experienced it first hand. And it still brings me to tears and has me in awe. If you ever get the chance; go. I never expected to. And it is a memory that I wish I could freeze in time and experience forever.