The Princess & I have the somewhat dubious honor of experiencing both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom in the rain. (Mr. Mouse could have had this honor as well, but he went back to the hotel to sleep, the lightweight.) As you could probably guess, Disney Parks in the rain are challenging. Not all lines are covered. Several ride shut down entirely. There are puddles both on the sidewalks and in some of the actual ride vehicles. Shows and parades are canceled. Characters are not out. In spite of ponchos and umbrellas there is no real way to stay dry. It is surprisingly fun.
Lines are short: lots of people have left for someplace warm and dry. Other guests are in good moods: people knew what they were getting into when they made the choice to stay. Cast members are even more attentive, almost as if we earned bonus points by staying in the park and toughing it out. It’s fun dripping on rides and dashing from cover to cover with strangers. There is a shared experience among everyone who stays in the park whether cast member or guest that creates a different feel.
Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely drawbacks. Last time the Princess and I braved the torrential rains of Orlando it took 3 days to dry out my shoes. About a third of the contents of my ‘bag of wonders’ had to be thrown out when we got back to the hotel room. And the soggy bus ride back to the resort is not a good time. But none of those things are enough to send us running for shelter when the rain starts (Except for Mr. Mouse. He likes being both dry and well rested, the slacker.) Some of our funniest and/or weirdest Disney stories start with, “So we were in the Park when the rain started…” Is that how we plan our trips to go? Absolutely not. But if a small (or a large) amount of rain shows up, we deal.
Life isn’t perfect. No matter how much we might want it to be it just isn’t. Plans go awry. Disasters happen. Things don’t go the way we plan. Relationships fail. People get sick.
We have a choice when these things happen. We can give up or we can deal with it. Giving up is easier and less stressful in the short-term. Walking away from a painful situation is the easiest way to protect ourselves. But in the long-term, toughing out through the rain can sometimes bring us new and unusual gifts. We may meet people whose lives never would have touched ours. We gain experience that, while perhaps painful at the time, may help someone else later. We are changed on a fundamental level from the person we were before.
The rain will come down and it will be okay. It may ruin your shoes, but it will be okay. No one is alone in the rain. We huddle together staying dry the best we can. We share shelter and our stories with each other and we are made better by it.