‘It is what it is’ usually means that something terrible has happened and we just have to deal with it. We don’t like it, but there is no way for whatever it is to be changed. I have used the phrase to describe unfortunate meals, disappointing accommodations, and less than stellar attitudes of people around me. I can’t change them, so I just need to deal with them. I could complain, but it wouldn’t help. I am stuck in that time, in that place, with that situation so I just have to suck it up. Poor me. And while this is probably the way most people use the phrase, I would humbly suggest that it can be used at the Disney parks a little differently.
‘It is what it is’ can mean positive things as well. It can mean what you see is what you get. There is no deep meaning to Thunder Mountain. It is a roller coaster. You ride it. You get to see the goat. You enjoy it or not. There is no ulterior motive. It is what it is. The same is true for most everything and everyone there. If a cast member tells you ‘yes’ that is what they mean. If a cast member tells you ‘no’ (usually apologetically) that is you answer. There is no duplicity except for that we all agree to when we get there. (SPOILER ALERT… That is not the real Mickey Mouse. He’s busy filming.) People are upfront. Are there people who get different treatment? Yes. There are clubs you can join and season tickets that can be purchased that can get you some extra perks. But cast members never ask a 4 year old what kind of ticket she has or which hotel she’s staying at. They call her Princess, wish her a magical day, and she falls in love. It is what it is and it is up to us to make it anything more.
There is something comforting in that. In a world where people tells us what we want to hear rather than upsetting us with the truth, I like that. I think I would much rather know exactly where I stand rather having to guess or infer. Very often I would much rather know that it is what it is instead of something or someone entirely misleading. What if we reclaimed this phrase not as consolation prize for a bad situation, but as an accolade for honesty and integrity? What if it meant we got exactly what we expected in a good way? More importantly, what if we lived our lives in such a way that people knew us exactly how we are?