I’m a Disney kid. Through and through.
Growing up just hours from Walt Disney World in Florida, my childhood was filled with not only Disney movies and television, but trips to the Happiest Place on Earth itself. So when Austin and I started to put together our list of things to look forward to at home, I instantly knew what the first thing on my list would be.
We had to stop in Florida anyway – I wanted to spend some time with my family and also needed to pick up some necessities for my upcoming season at Mesa Verde. So we decided the best way to celebrate a successful trip and our return to the US would be a visit to Disney World.
To me, Disney is my childhood. Time flies, I grow, the world changes… but the feeling I get every time we drive under the entrance sign is always the same. I instantly revert back to my childhood self and am filled with the kind of joy only real magic can produce.
Call me an unwitting child of consumerism, but I will staunchly defend my Disney obsessions. I get that the place is overpriced, and I understand that the product doesn’t suit everyone’s taste, but my Disney World experiences are consistently magical in a detailed-oriented way that other parks and brands just haven’t been able to replicate. Yes, Disney has the advantage of invoking quite a bit of nostalgia for me, but they also put a lot of work into developing back stories for each ride, incorporating themes into every inch of the resort, and keeping their grounds spotless. To me, that is worth the extra cash.
And whatever bad might come from big brands and the power they wield, I believe whole heartedly that the good outweighs the bad here.
The only C I ever earned in college was in an Ethics course taught by a professor who disdained Disney. Her particular gripe was that Disney princesses taught young girls to be dependent on their men and spend their lives standing wistfully at a window waiting for their prince to come. I had heard this argument before, but I speak from experience when I say that that is just not the lesson I learned from the Disney princesses at all. Sure there is Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella… but those came out in the 30s and 50s, they were products of their time – and anyways, those stories were classics, they were not created by Disney to manipulate little girls. “And what about Belle?” I challenged the professor in class, “Or Pocahontas? Or Mulan? Or Esmerelda? Or Meg?” Because really, those gals could kick some serious butt if they had to.
Disney not only kept me entertained for hours and hours as a child, it taught me important values and lessons I still believe in today. It was those Disney princesses who showed me that if I wanted to beautiful, I should strive towards grace and kindness. They showed me to think outside of the box, to value my family, and yes, they may have introduced me to a slightly idealistic view of love (but really, like I wouldn’t have gotten that from other places anyways?). They introduced me to music, really good music, and to faraway lands much different than my own. And most important, as corny as it sounds, they encouraged me to dream.
I remember seeing my grade for that ethics class with the snarky professor for the first time. I summoned my best Snow White grace with a sigh. Her parents probably never took her to Disney World, I thought to myself. And as I watched the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle a few nights ago, I remembered that single C.
It was so worth it.