Disney Obsession week continues!
I posed the question to a few of my equally obsessed friends: why do we love Disney so much? What is it about the parks that keeps drawing us back?
Today’s guest writer is Kevin Williams. We met working together at a retail job and we quickly bonded over a mutual love of Walt Disney World, so he was my first choice when I asked others about their own obsession.
The suggestion that I may be able to whittle down all of the many reasons why I love Disney World is preposterous and practically impossible. Is it the fun of feeling like a kid regardless of your age when you cross the berm of the Magic Kingdom? Maybe it could be the amazing food you can’t get just anywhere. Most people talk about their favorite attraction or meeting their favorite characters. Frankly it is all of these things and many more for me. If I had to settle on one overall idea of why I love Disney World, it would be simply be that this relatively small slice of land in Central Florida is my home away from home.
Walt Disney World transports you. Whether you are wandering the tropical splendor of the Polynesian Resort, sailing through the A-frame exterior of the Contemporary on a monorail, or horseback riding the trails of Fort Wilderness, you simply feel like you are someplace else. Growing up in the suburbs of Rhode Island as the youngest child of three, times were occasionally difficult. My parents took me to Disney every April vacation and it was often just the three of us. Being a bullied kid in school most of the time, Disney became my escape from the real world. By the age of seven, I was wandering the parks alone while my parents did “boring” stuff like have dinner at the Top of the World in the Contemporary or going to the luau on the beach of the Polynesian. Often, I would strike up conversations with total strangers while waiting in line. By the time we walked through the exit of the attraction, we would spend an afternoon walking the parks and riding rides. I simply felt like myself with no one else to judge me. Walt Disney World simply filled a void.
There have been many vacations to other places, but we always came back to Florida. As I grew up, the desire to experience Disney morphed into a desire to share it with others. Now I could watch as new visitors got to experience Wishes for the first time or see their tears when they first round the corner of the Emporium and see the castle. The joy I always had as a kid would instantly come back when I could share these moments with others. It’s addicting and comforting and exciting all at the same time. Seeing others have the same reaction is what makes me come back again and again.
Years later, Disney doesn’t need to fill the void anymore. I am not someone who feels bullied or excluded every day. Now I can choose when I want my fix. Going to Walt Disney World still makes me feel like a kid again. The food is still amazing. I still love riding my favorite attractions and posing with my favorite characters. As an adult with a job and bills to pay, my real world has changed. Disney still offers me the chance to escape. It’s still my home away from home. I will always love it over any other place I’ve travelled.