Every year at this time I start getting the itch. I know that the temperatures are going to be dropping and I know that a ton of that white garbage is on the way. So I start to think about warmer climates. I start gearing towards our February vacation.
I am always asked, “Where are you going to go this year Mark?” and the answer is always the same. You see, I have two young daughters that have been brought up on (brainwashed) by Disney. They have had movies, merchandise, music, TV Networks, etc shoved down their throats since they were born. Princesses, talking toys, kidnapped heroines… They did not stand a chance.
Myself, I was also brought up on Disney, but to a lesser degree. I remember “The Mickey Mouse Club”, Disney Cartoons and “The Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday night. I had “Herbie, the Love Bug”, “Return from Witch Mountain”, and “Mary Poppins”. Disney marketing wasn’t cramming all of their products into my subconscious, or were they?
The first time that I went to Disneyworld in Orlando was when I was 35 years old. I had my children who were 3 and 2 at the time. I thought that this would be a one and done vacation. Something to cross off of my bucket list. Was I ever wrong.
The first hint that I had been brainwashed came on the first day that we visited Magic Kingdom. We fought the crowds that the April Vacations bring, got through the ticket lines and had our bags checked. Walking into the Main Street Square, I remember thinking, “This is nice, but I don’t see the big deal.”. We looked at some of the shops and proceeded to our right towards Main St. Once we were standing on Main St, it hit me. Standing in front of me in majestic purple and blue hues was the most beautiful site that I have ever seen, and for a moment or two, I was transformed into a giddy 8 year old child. Cinderella’s Castle stood out in the deep blue Florida sky through the haze of the humidity that is Orlando. Oh, I had seen the Castle many times on television, but it never looked this overwhelming. Then, looking down on my daughter’s faces, I had never see such awe in any face. I don’t think that they could have moved if they wanted to.
As we proceeded down Main St towards the Castle, I remember the music in the background, the look on peoples faces and the wonderful smells that were emanating from the shops. I think that it was at that moment that I became “addicted” to Disneyworld.
We have been back to Orlando many times since that wonderful first experience. We have had great times, but nothing has matched the exhilaration of that first glance at Disney at it’s finest. I have had slight jolts of the feeling when I hear a certain tune and catch a view of the Castle on TV, but it is not the same.
Now as I visit the different parks at Disneyworld, I start to think, maybe Disney did brainwash me as a child and it took the raw enthusiasm and joy of my children to bring it out from deep down in the recesses of my memories. When I am in the parks, I see Herbie, Marry Poppins, Pete the dragon and most of Characters that I grew up with along with Stitch, Pumba, Woody and all the other characters that I grew up with along side of my children. I am amazed at the tapestry of stories and characters that bring so many generations together.
Even if Disney has “brainwashed” all of us, I really don’t mind. I have come to the conclusion that Disneyworld is a release for us. When I visit the parks each year, I am no longer worrying about the mortgage, taxes, terrorism or disease. And my children are able to allow the fears of tests, homework and peer pressure among other things to disappear for the week and we are all allowed to be kids.
So when the next person comes to me and asks “Where are you going on vacation?”
I am going to Disneyworld