Saturday, 20 August 2011

Life Before Disney

I have a confession, one that some readers may find shocking.

At one time in my life, I was not a fan of Disney.  (I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.)

This is something that some people find hard to believe but I assure you, it’s true.  There was a time when I might have scoffed at the idea of me obsessing about Walt Disney World vacations.  The mere suggestion that I would queue to meet a character would have sent me running for the hills.  And It’s A Small World?  Forget it!

It’s not that I had anything against Disney.  I love the movies, I know all the songs, but the theme parks?  I just hadn’t thought about it.  When I heard people talk about visiting Orlando, I thought of Universal Studios.  Now that, I thought, is my spiritual home.  Being a movie geek of epic proportions, where better to spend a vacation?  Sure, I thought it might be fun to visit Walt Disney World.  I’m going all the way to Florida, why not check it out?  But I doubt I’ll find much that I like there. 

Fast forward three years and I’m a full blown Disney super fan.  I devote endless hours to planning my next visit to Walt Disney World.  My Ipod is filled with music from the movies, television shows and theme parks.  Half my Twitter feed is related in some way to Disney.  Come to think of it, half my home is related in some way to Disney.  Already a self-confessed merchandise addict, how could I not have not about haven such as this?  Watches, jewellery, clothing, artwork, kitchen ware, collectibles.  You name it, I have it.  I could give you dozens of examples of how Disney has crept into almost every corner of my life.

So what happened?  Well, this. . .

I know, I know.  I'm supposed to say it was the first time I stepped inside the Magic Kingdom, but truthfully, it was here.  Right inside the doors of the World of Disney, the magic simply took over.

The Magic Kingdom moment came later.  A week before heading to Florida on honeymoon, I made a typical rookie statement, boldly claiming I would not be ‘one of those sad people who take twenty pictures of Cinderella’s castle.’  That much, at least, turned out to be true.  I took forty.  In the first five minutes.

That’s the thing about Walt Disney World.  As many times as people roll their eyes at me when they hear I’m going again, or ask me in a fairly aggressive manner why I love it so much, it’s something I just can’t explain.  I could tell them about the rides, and the food, and the music.  I could tell them how it feels to stand outside Casey’s Corner as the lights dim and Jiminy Cricket announces the start of Wishes.  I could try to explain the familiar smell of the water as I walk through the winding queue of Pirates of the Caribbean, always my first port of call, or how it feels to be Soarin', or how I am always just a little but worried that we're really not going to make it on Dinosaur.  But I would probably just draw even more confused looks and wearied glances, because they are just like me before I had my first dose of Pixie Dust. 

So I try to keep it simple.  Why do I love Walt Disney World?  Because it has everything I want from a vacation, and the second I step inside those gates the rest of the world disappears.  I know I’m going to have the time of my life each and every day I spend there, and when I have to go home I might even cry.  

All this is my very long winded way of saying that it’s now 5 weeks till I go to Walt Disney World!  Come on, sing it with me. . .

"It's a world of laughter, a world of tears. . ."

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