WDW Magazine - - WDW Magazine Fanzone - BY JAMES WARDA

What I love best about Walt Dis­ney World isn’t a thing. Not a spe­cific ride, at­trac­tion, restau­rant, stage show, re­sort, or even the mono­rail.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love all of these things. From the Haunted Man­sion to Soarin’ to Test Track to eat­ing the Kitchen Sink with my fam­ily at the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. From pre­par­ing for splash­down on Splash Moun­tain to walk­ing the World Show­case’s torch-lined path­ways back to our re­sort.

But this ar­ti­cle isn’t about all the things I love at Dis­ney. It’s about what I love most.

And what I love most is…. the feel­ing that be­ing there brings.

For me, it starts as soon as the Mag­i­cal Ex­press drops us off at the Beach Club Re­sort from the air­port. As we walk up to the front doors, sev­eral cast mem­bers, in­clud­ing a bell­hop and valet, and a man charm­ingly dressed as a Cap­tain, smile and say, “Wel­come home!” A phrase that never fails to make me feel warm and waited for, like com­ing home after a long business trip. And, some­how, even though I know the phrase is used for all guests and is part of the Dis­ney train­ing, it still feels sin­cere.

As the week goes on, there are more fa­mil­iar feel­ings – those that tie one visit to the next. That con­nect the past to the present. Feel­ings that make Dis­ney World more than a re­sort for my fam­ily, and more a home away from home.

And just like a home is of­ten in the back­ground of fam­ily pictures, so has Dis­ney World been a reg­u­lar back­drop in our lives. Each year, we have our kids pose in the same spots at the re­sort, a fun way to show how they’ve grown. Like look­ing back at pen­cil marks that par­ents have made on a garage wall to track their chil­dren’s height. Year by year, whether it’s our kids sit­ting by the foun­tain in the Morocco pavil­ion, stand­ing in front of Cin­derella’s cas­tle, or sit­ting on the Speeder Bike near Star Tours, the pho­tos bring both the bit­ter­sweet feel­ing of see­ing how quickly time has passed, and the joy of re­mem­ber­ing moments to­gether.

There’s the grat­i­tude we feel in those in­stances where a cast mem­ber shows ex­tra kind­ness to our kids, or goes way beyond what one would ex­pect to help us solve a prob­lem. Of course, this level of ser­vice can cause some con­ster­na­tion when I get back home after our trip and ex­pect that same kind of care at the neigh­bor­hood gro­cery store.

There’s also the feel­ing of won­der, when on ev­ery one of our trips, a mo­ment of magic stands out, like when our young daugh­ter left her purse on the mono­rail. Within min­utes of telling a se­cu­rity guard, he no­ti­fied the Trans­porta­tion and Ticket Cen­ter, which then con­tacted the mono­rail driver, who then checked the train at the next stop and brought the purse back to the Ep­cot en­trance on his next pass, where an­other se­cu­rity guard brought it down to us at the base of Space­ship Earth. Watch­ing my daugh­ter’s eyes as she ex­cit­edly took it back within a half hour of think­ing it was gone for good, I saw amaze­ment there. Which made me re­al­ize once again that the “most mag­i­cal place on earth” wasn’t just an ad­ver­tis­ing tagline, but a prom­ise.

At the end of the trip, how­ever, there’s a feel­ing I don’t look for­ward to: sad­ness. My wife and I still haven’t fig­ured out how best to spend that last day to lessen the feel­ing for our­selves and the kids. We’ve tried ev­ery­thing to make that tran­si­tion back into the “real world” eas­ier, from spend­ing the last day in one of the parks, to swim­ming back at the re­sort, to ac­tu­ally vis­it­ing an at­trac­tion out­side Dis­ney World. Not much helps.

For­tu­nately, though, the ex­cite­ment be­gins to re­turn as soon as we start plan­ning our next visit, even be­fore our plane touches back down in Chicago. Of course, the irony doesn’t es­cape me – that we’re miss­ing our “sec­ond home” on the way back to our first.

Which I’m guess­ing is ex­actly how Walt en­vi­sioned it as he sat watch­ing his daugh­ters ride the carousel at the park near his Los An­ge­les home, dream­ing of a place where fam­i­lies could have fun to­gether – and feel to­gether. A place that be­came re­al­ity with Dis­ney­land. And, later, Walt Dis­ney World.

And, as we know, there’s no place like home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.