It’s four a.m. here in my world and I am awake. I am very awake. There is no way that I am going to be able to get back to sleep. It’s not because I am in an unfamiliar place, though I am. It is not because it is very loud outside, though that is true as well. I am awake because today I go to Walt Disney World!
The true Disney fan knows that life shifts when you are your Disney self. You wear things you wouldn’t normally wear, eat food that you normally avoid, and do things you normally wouldn’t do. For The Princess and I that includes becoming morning people. It began on our first trip accidentally and now just seems part of our rhythm.
Some times it is intentional. When we are at the parks we know the early bird catches the worm or in this case gets the shortest wait times of the day. But when we are in a hotel waiting to head to the airport there is no good reason to be up early. A full night’s sleep is a good and useful thing but my brain is too excited and tells my body that it’s time to get moving. So here I am up a good three hours before I’m usually awake killing time until we can take the shuttle. The Princess has been up even longer.
There will come a moment when we have a discussion about how wonderful it would be to stay on this schedule in ‘real life’. We could be so productive! In reality we get home and immediately enter recovery mode and are back to growling at the alarm and sleeping in at every opportunity. The Disney energy is contained and situational, sadly.
So here I am.
It’s later now. The breakfast bar is still not open, but it may not be too early to get dressed. I will move as slowly as possible which will still be too fast. I will be ready to go long before I need to be and have to find a way to entertain myself that doesn’t waste too much battery life. It’s going to be a very long day, but I just can’t wait!
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Three weeks from right now I will be winging my way down to Florida for The Princess’s graduation celebration at Walt Disney World. We are in that awkward phase of Disney trips where there is nothing to do. We have made all our reservations, booked our Fastpasses, and paid our bills. The MagicBands are on their way, the Photopass is purchased and ready to go, and we’re checked into our hotel. It is too early to pack, check into our flight, or order our snacks to be delivered to the hotel. There is nothing to do except wait. I hate waiting.
It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other things to do. There is the aforementioned graduation and its accompanying festivities, there is my upcoming move and all the work associated with that, plus there is still all the same day-to-day that doesn’t stop no matter what else is going on. I am not looking for ways to fill my time. The problem is I’ve spent the last several months watching the calendar so I can hop online and book restaurants and rides. It feels a little weird to be done. It would seem to be tempting fate to say that we’re ready for the trip. Right now we are in the space in between getting ready and leaving. Like most in between spaces it’s a challenge to be in.
It is hard to be in between, yet most of our life is spent in these spaces. In fact, there is a theory that says that all great ministries are done in between spaces: in between hope and fear, life and death, death and resurrection, what is and what will be. As uncomfortable as those places are that is where we are needed the most. That doesn’t make being in between easier, but it does give it purpose.
What are you in between? Now and next? Here and there? Preparing and doing? Find the holy in your space and reach out from there to those sharing that space with you. The time is both blessed and stressful. Make the most of it.
Featured image was found on northshoremama.com with no creator cited.
As I have stated in previous postings, change makes me nervous, especially change for change’s own sake. I know this is ironic since I am a pastor and extol my congregations to embrace change all the time. I know that change is a requirement for growth. I know that organizations that are stagnant will die. Change is good and important and crucial. I hate it when it actually applies to me. I especially when it changes thing I love like, for example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
So why Pandora?
That’s the first question that comes to mind. There seem to be other franchises that would be a better fit for a Disney Park. As others have shared with me, even a fairy tale land with dragons and unicorns would seem to make more sense, But what we have is an entirely new land based on a film from 2009 with no Disney connections at all.
Interestingly, some of this debate echos the discussion that happened when Star Tours was first built in 1987. At that point there was no connection between between Disney and Lucasfilm. The Star Wars furor had died down possibly forever with no new movies on the horizon. That was over a ride, not a whole new land! Thirty years on, we can look back and realize that move was prescient. But at the time, who knew that Star Wars would come to belong to Disney and would be getting its own brand new land (though after Pandora which Disney doesn’t own). Honestly, I don’t understand the reasoning.
I am waiting to see what people have to say and, of course, I will give you my own very honest review after my trip next month. We’ll see if the change is for the right reasons or just something showy.
It is an interesting thing to go through the strengths and weaknesses of the two American Disney parks. I have been writing for four weeks about the parks and actually came to no conclusion about which park is best. Interestingly, fans of each park congratulated me on how well I proved the superiority of their favorite. Bias is an amazing thing. All the reasons I listed were true. The majority of them were objective. Each list proved why one park was better than another. Both were right. There is no winner. This is not a result we tend to be comfortable with.
We are currently living in a culture that does not like middle ground. Compromise is viewed as weakness. In every argument there needs to be right or wrong, true or false, winner or loser. Reality is much messier than that. Sometimes people on both sides are right. Sometimes each side speaks the truth. Sometimes winning an argument is a bigger defeat than losing one. Our world is not made up of easy answers and reducing the big questions of our world into a true/false dichotomy does no one any good. Acknowledging the truth in each side is a good place to start, whether the issue is large or small.
As for one small debate, which Disney park is the best? For me it is simple. Whatever park I am in is the best. I will enjoy each one to the fullest extent. I will laugh, ride rides, see shows, and have a good time no matter which park I have the privilege to visit. Where I am is the best place to be at that particular moment. And a day at a Disney park, any Disney park, is never a day wasted.
- It was Walt’s dream
When Walt Disney first began the work on what would become the Disneyland Resort, he encountered several difficulties. One of the largest problem was funding. He was trying to do something new and not a lot of people saw the value in it. Obviously, he was right and the original investors made a wise decision to take a chance on the concept. The problem at the beginning however was that other than the Disneyland Park and its parking lots Disney owned nothing in the area. Other individuals and companies took advantage of that fact and bought up all the property around the park and built their own hotels and restaurants. Even the Disneyland Hotel itself didn’t belong to the Disney Corporation until 1988. In Florida, Walt had the opportunity to rectify that mistake.
When they began buying land for the Walt Disney World Resort, they bought A LOT of it. Quietly and secretly through other corporate names, the Disney Company bought up 48 square miles of Florida land. The Disney brothers did not want to make the same mistakes or have the same problems they had with Disneyland. They worked co-operatively with state and local government to get the necessary authority and freedom to supervise all their own building and improvements. Walt envisioned not only, ‘the greatest attraction in the history of Florida’, but an experimental living community where alternative urban living methods could be used.
Walt did not survive to see even the beginning of his project. But after his death, his brother Roy continued the work. While the final result was not exactly what Walt had originally planned (EPCOT having been retooled into a technological & cultural exhibition rather than a living community), I believe that he would have been pleased. There is an area in Florida that contains not only the greatest constructed attraction in Florida, but perhaps in the world. While not quite an alternative community, the Disney built town of Celebration incorporated many of the urban planning ideas in Walt’s original designs. Most importantly, the park named after Walt has all the room it needs to grow, expand, and change. It can become all it needs to because Walt Disney dreamed of a place that was big enough to fit not only all of his dreams, but the dreams of those who would follow him.
2. It brought Disney magic to more people
For decades, Disneyland has been a dream destination for people. Generations of us have grown up seeing images of the Park on television. Starting with The Mickey Mouse Club that my Mama Mouse watched and moving through the years to the Disney Channel that The Princess watched, Disneyland has been a goal set before millions of children. For most of those children it was an unrealistic goal.
If you have never driven cross country, let me tell you it is not for the faint of heart. In the days before reasonably priced airfare, a trip to Disneyland involved a car trip. It is a long drive and not inexpensive. We took that drive in 1976 in a VW Camper van and had a great time. We were a road trip family. We would drive until the adults were tired and then simply find the closest campground to spend the night. Not every family had the time and resources for a cross country journey to see the Happiest Place on Earth. So the dream of visiting Disney was unrealized for a lot of east coast and Midwest kids. Then came Walt Disney World.
All of a sudden you didn’t need two weeks to get to a Disney park and back. There was one so much closer! From where our family lived in Ohio you could get to Walt Disney World in two days. It was half the time it took to get to Disneyland. Half the time means half the cost. In 1978 we visited Walt Disney World. We didn’t even have to camp. We had family who had retired in the area that we got to stay with. I wouldn’t go back to Disneyland until 1993.
Opening Walt Disney World on the east coast made a Disney trip more accessible to a whole new group of people. That can only be a good thing.
3. There is a lot of it
Four amusement parks, two water parks, four golf courses, two shopping areas, 31 hotels, a sports complex, a lake, two major shopping areas, a Cirque du Soleil show and 341 restaurants: there is a lot to do at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you can manage to be bored there, you are definitely doing something wrong.
You can have a good experience at Disneyland in two days. Three days is better, five days is too long. Five days is a starting point for a trip to Walt Disney World. There is enough to do to easily keep a family entertained for a week or more. Plus there’s plenty for different levels of fun. It’s not just the normal things you can find at a hotel either. In addition to pools and exercise rooms there is boating, golfing, fishing, a running trail, archery, and horseback riding.
Our family tends not to take advantage of all these options. We are happy to spend all day every day in one of the parks, but there are people for whom these other options are very appealing. I understand that. It is good to have downtime to relax and take it easy. There are so many ways to accomplish that at The World. In theory, someone could head to the Walt Disney World Resort, stay for a week, never set foot in one of the Parks, and still have plenty to do. That would never be true at Disneyland.