The one thing I really want to tell you about Disney


The first time I had a Disney ‘experience’ was in 2011 when I flew over to Walt Disney World for a conference. I used to watching Saturday Disney sometimes on the weekends, only when it didn’t interfere with my thriving netball career, and that was it.

Hubby, Lacey and I were kinda thrown into it. We went to a BBQ party and Mickey Mouse turned up, and everyone went enthusiastically wild. Except us.

I can tell you exactly what was going through my head, ‘It’s some random dude in a suit, I don’t get it?’

I understood that it was cool, but I didn’t understand that it was ‘cool’. Over time people at the party urged us to jump in the photo, “YOU HAVE TO!” they cheered. So we did.

That next day we went to Disney World and walked down Main Street {the main street, straight off the entrance of the theme park} and I cried. I did. I was overwhelmed with so many feelings. It’s hard to even put it into words, but it’s overwhelming. It feels like magic. It feels like you’ve been taken back to those days when you were five and the world was pure and magic {no bills! no stress!}, and was just wonderful.

I finally got it.

You only know when you know, I think. I can try and tell you what it’s like, but you don’t ever really understand what it feels like until you’re experiencing it for yourself.

I’ve spent the last few days in Disney-mode, and I’ve been trying to think about how to tell you what it’s like. As I walk through the streets of the parks almost 75% of people are wearing something Disney. In fact, I’m wearing a Disney jumper while I type this. Hubby is out wearing a Disney hat, and the kids have Disney t-shirts on. If we went to a park in Australia and wore things with their logo on it, it would be so uncool that it wouldn’t be funny. But here, it’s like you’re part of the family.

Everything is clean, and happy. I am going to pull a cast member {staff member} aside and ask them why on earth they’re so happy and why they manage to keep it up. No where in the world have I seen people so happy to be alive and working, even if they’re cleaning the park. People sing. There’s laughter all around. Everything looks new and bright, nothing feels worn out and old.

It just feels magic.

And I only think you know when you’re feeling it. When you’re watching a street parade and tearing up {like Hubby and I did this week}, or seeing the magic in your children’s eyes. You know it when you feel it.

I hope you get to feel it.

Have you felt it?

P.S. I did pull a cast {staff} member aside and ask why they’re so happy. He was a bit shocked and asked, “Aren’t people in Australia this happy as well?” We are, but it’s different I think. You’ll get some gems in hospitality who love what they do, but for a lot of people it’s means to an end, or a pathway to something else. They’re not always happy. He said that getting a job at Disney isn’t easy. A friend of his {the happiest person he knows} applied for a job and didn’t get it. So, when people get a job at Disney, they want to keep it and they actually enjoy doing it.

29 thoughts on “The one thing I really want to tell you about Disney”

  1. It is really hard to explain to people, isn’t it? It’s an atmosphere. A window into your childhood heart. It may be all the brash, commercial things that people say they don’t like, but if you just let yourself let go of all your grumpy grown-up ideas, Disney is such a magical experience. When we went as a family, I was really sick (I have a neurological condition). I couldn’t walk far and I had to sit and wait for them while they queued. But I was so grateful to be there! So happy! I had a lot of time to observe and it is a slick operation. They really care about the little things, a LOT. The staff are exceptional, the groundspeople so efficient they are almost invisible. Even the air smells different. I too, cried as I came in the entrance onto Main Street. This is very ‘Disney’… but on Christmas Eve we watched the fireworks display over Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Every few minutes we would be wowed. It was incredible. And then, at midnight, the master stroke…. cinnamon flavoured snow fanned out and down from the top of the lamp-posts. Yep. Magical.

    Once in a lifetime, everybody should get to be a kid and play in cinnamon snow with their family.

  2. I got all teary when I read this but you’re totally right, it’s just magic! The first time I went I was in my thirties and my friend took me to dinner at Cinderella’s Castle to watch the fireworks. I was totes beside myself. I’ve never forgotten that moment, but every moment in Disney is like magic, it really is the happiest place on earth! I can’t wait to go back… and for the rest of your Disney posts!

  3. … great post Chantelle… I’ve never had any desire to go to Disneyland…. but after reading your description of the how the magic affected you, I’d love to go there.. you have spoken directly to my ‘inner child’……. thanks for this… looking forward to more Disney posts…..

  4. Oh god yes, I’ve tried to explain this to people. I call it the Disney effect. People just stare at me blankly . I was a Disney 70s kid, every Saturday afternoon. The start of the show always showed bits of the park, like the teacups and the Jungle Cruise with the hippos peering out of the water.
    I remember saying to my mother that I was going to ride on the teacups someday , and her reply was, that is was too far away and that it wasn’t going to happen. Like ever.
    In 2010 at 42 years of age , my hubby and I went over , left our 3 kids behind of course. We went off on the road trip of a lifetime. Disney was on the list first.
    I pretty much was an emotional wreck as soon as I got there, so can you imagine when I got on the teacups ? My husband was getting a bit concerned at this point. I lost it on the tea cups , Jungle cruise and the Peter Pan ride saw me unravel . I can’t explain it, it’s a feeling heavily attached to childhood. Glad someone else knows what I’m talking about.

      • My kids were 8, 21 and 15 at the time. The eldest had just started an apprenticeship, the middle one doing half yearly Year 10 exams so they were out of the question. The eldest has since been over and done Disney himself .
        I did feel a twinge of guilt at Disney but to be totally honest , we needed this trip as a husband and wife. After raising 3 kids and only having had the odd weekend away, we were worn out, uninspired and really needed a life boost. The kids were actually really stoked for us.

  5. I loved this, made me tear up. I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog posts on Disneyland. I remember going to disneyland at a kid back in 1986. On September 9th hubby & I are taking our 3 kids for 10 days. We can’t wait, the kids are so excited and I can guarantee you I will cry watching them experience the disney magic.

  6. Totally get where your coming from here!

    I’m lucky enough to have had a couple of Disney experiences as I’m in the UK and only a Eurostar ride away from Disneyland Paris but even this never prepared me for Orlando and the sheer size and magic of the park.

    Nothing is done half heartedly and every employee and I mean EVERY employee gives 200% to the job.

    That in itself is magical in this day and age.

    For me, who has been a life long Mickey groupie, once you step through those gates it’s a chance to let “real life” go. Inside there are no debts or money problems, no relationship or job issues, there is only the magic.

    Disney make it possible to be an adult and not feel embarrassed or self-conscious to be there. Nobody looks at you when it’s obvious you have no kids tagging along and for the time you are visiting it feels innocent and how the world should be (minus the ears, or not) with people smiling and strangers talking and kids running around and enjoying life.

    A simpler life before greed, power and entitlement became the norm.

    It’s just Disney magic.

  7. I cant put into words how I feel about Disneyland! We took our 3 kids 2 years ago and they mention Disneyland at least once a week!! I cried..and I smiled all at the same time in that magical kingdom!!!! I loved how kids wore ears or were princesses but even more so I loved how dads and mums joined in wearing crazy goofy hats or minnie ears lol only place in the world ego goes out the door and you can relax and be silly!!

  8. If never really thought I would get into it…didn’t understand the fuss but after reading that I get it…nostalgia. All the ‘good feels’ from childhood. Growing up in Queensland Saturday night Disney was a regular thing, in our pyjamas with wet hair and minties. I’d forgotten that…thanks for the trip down memory lane x

  9. I loved it. I want to go back. My kids want to go back. Hubby needs some work. We spent 4 days in WDW last year and it was fantastic.

  10. Ooooh, I felt it alright! I spent 10 days in the USA in March for work, leaving my 7 year old at home. I was delayed 24 hours at LAX on my way home and decided to spend the day at Disneyland. By myself. I’m 37. Purely magical. And so hard to describe! I swear I spent the first 45 minutes standing about 50 metres inside the gate just in awe. Then, I rode the train around the outside 3 times before I could even decide how to tackle the day. Did I mention I’m 37?!! A cast member ended up asking me if I was ok and helped me read my map and plan my day. My only regret: not wearing my Mickey tshirt on the day as I thought I would look daggy! Wrong!
    Oh, and not being able to share the wonderment that is Disneyland with my kid.

  11. I’ve tried to explain it to others but it’s hard to put into words that don’t sound like you’ve been indoctrinated into a Disney cult. All I say is that hubby and I, and our 3 kids were sniggering at the badges/pins/shirts/shoes/caps etc that it seemed every Californian at the park wore, but by the end of our 3 day pass, I was transfixed by those rotating stands of pins, I was giggling like a child at the caps and wigs we all tried on, and definitely oohed and aahed at that tearjerker of a parade!

  12. Nothing beats that feeling of walking through the gates and onto Main Street for the very first time. It’s so hard to explain, but the music, the atmosphere, the buildings….it really is magical isn’t it?!

  13. I am so pleased to read this. We are most probably about the only family to visit Orlando and not go to Disney (my Uncle reckons it would make Column 8!). We had a ball. We are not a Disney family at all so I was sure it would be a waste of our dosh. We have a beautiful friend who lives in L.A. who reckons the next time we visit we should do Disney together (he lives there and hasn’t ever been). Now I’ve read this I think we might just do it!! I had you pegged (incorrectly) as a Disney “kid” from what I’ve read on your blog previously. Now I know differently you’ve challenged my thinking on the place!

  14. I was 27 years of age when my mum finally got her wish to take me to Disneyland. Yes, 27 years old. It was one of the best days of my entire life. We rode on the cup and saucer ride, and I had my photos taken with all the princesses. We were like two little kids, and we were in the happiest place on earth. <3

  15. I wish I had the same Disney experience that everyone else seems to get. We finally got to Disney in California long after our children were grown and I am so glad they weren’t with us. The day we were there at least 1/2 of the rides either weren’t working or went down while we were in line.. hey I understand things break but thats a lot and no advanced warning that things were under going maintenance. No main street parade that day, again no warning and no reason why. Then to top off our evening no fireworks. No reduction in the cost to get in for our day of no’s either. Very disappointing.

  16. When my son was 3 we took him to Disneyland for the first time. It was the first year of Fantasmic and he loved it! It was magic to him. We have gone many, many times since then but last year he and I snuck away from the others and watched Fantasmic together. I looked at my son and the look of magic on his face was the EXACT same one as when he was 3. It was still magic. I literally cried. Last weekend we took my 2 year granddaugther. My son had to make sure that his niece saw Fantasmic with him. Disney gives you moments of magic.

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