They say that time is a gift. I couldn’t agree more. Time at a Disney Park however, is a golden gift, a rare commodity. Whether you are visiting for the first time, the only time, or have an annual pass, the way you spend your visit needs to be carefully considered. Even Oprah has noted that time is the greatest gift we can give ourselves… Deep breath, think about it… There is so much going on at each Disney park that we need to weigh up our priorities. Do you have a bee in your bonnet about a particular attraction? Is a two hour wait time really worth it? These are vital considerations. More than that, what about the people in your group, do they have the same must dos?
I have always known how important Disney time is (you know what I mean). However, after two back to back Disneyland Paris days this week (pinch me), time has never felt more priceless. Let me tell you a story.
Day one. With my magical annual pass in hand, I strolled into Walt Disney Studios at 3pm. Right away I knew that seeing the Mickey stage show was a priority. My first move was to sneak into the show and secure thirty minutes of pure Disney bliss. Perfection. After that, I decided to take it easy. I walked around the Ratatouille section, my favourite. Simply being in the presence of Disney, the architecture, the music, the cast members, allowed me to step into a world of fantasy. Beautiful, choreographed fantasy, the kind of escape I needed. That is the whole point. We are encouraged to step away from our daily worries and towards a moment of, well, childhood joy. Just by sitting back and engaging in a bit of people watching I was able to really soak up the magic. I didn’t have to do anything, or be anywhere, so I just let the magic wash over me. Priceless.
Day two. I was lucky enough to take my cousins to Disneyland Paris. It was such an honour to be able to share what makes me so happy. However, the energy was entirely opposite. With a group of five, ranging from nine to fifty years old, there were a lot of competing priorities, as well as various levels of enthusiasm. It’s natural. What did this mean for the day? Well, the long wait times became a real challenge. We had to decide as a group if two hours for Big Thunder Mountain was worth it. Was waiting for a major attraction on their only visit an option? An option for the whole group? In the end, it wasn’t. We had to take note of what the boys and girls in the group wanted to do next. Tension arose. With the complexities of the group becoming more and more obvious, the magic appeared to be dwindling. Whether it was the jetlag, big crowds or shock at Disney prices, worries from the real world felt… real. We had a great day, of course, but it was almost as though our attention was focused on carefully calculating compromises rather than soaking up the magic. That is not the point of Disney parks. For me, anyway. This prompted me to ask the question: why do we go to Disney Parks? For the adrenaline rush, the pictures, the fantasy? I could go on.
At the end of the day, my two experiences reminded me of the importance of a magical moment. Whether it be at Disney, or in life, we need to soak it up. We will all get a lot more joy out of things, Disney or not, if we are ready for some magic and goddam grateful for it. How about we let the magic of day to day living be a feeling rather than a list of boxes to tick.
Fuck boxes, who needs em. xx