Thursday, April 3, 2014

For the Love of Disney

A friend, Daniel, wrote this piece. To my knowledge, he loves two things most dearly - music and Disney. He writes often and eloquently on his own blog about music. I asked him to share in this space his love of Disney.

When I was a child, the word "Disney" represented something very different than it does today. In the 1970's, Disney had 2 theme parks, had television shows like "Wonderful World of Disney"  & Mickey Mouse Club, and its hit movies were "Freaky Friday" and "The Love Bug". Its animation was struggling, and Pixar wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eye.

But for a little boy growing up in Southern California, Disney was mystical. 

An excursion to Disneyland was a rare experience, so we cherished each one. Admission was with the old ticket books, so we had to be judicious and smart with which rides we used them on. Each ticket book only had 2 E tickets, which got you on the best rides. And from as far back as I can remember, I have loved every trip. From the moment you walked through the entrance, the outside world ceased to exist. Even today with the advent of mobile technology, you're still largely removed outside life and current events. It's an escape, a refuge, a world all its own, which is exactly as Walt Disney intended. I love being able to leave everything else behind and be transported to the Briar Patch, rocketed through space, or take a creepy jaunt through a haunted mansion.

As I have grown up, Disney has evolved. Michael Eisner's "synergy" and the renaissance of the Disney animation team meant that as I gained independence and discretionary spending, Disney began making movies to love again. Great, classic films like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. This resurrected Disney, and in adulthood I rediscovered my love for the park and the films.

Today, when I think about why I love Disney and remain an annual pass holder even after the price hikes and the corporate greed, the answer is simple: joy. The world we live in is increasingly dark, complex and intense. To have some place I can go anytime and escape, ride a roller coaster and forget the day, that's priceless. I still find great joy in a corn dog on Main Street. I love watching the kids walk through the park in character costumes. And Disney can put a clinic on regarding customer service.

So I cope with the corporate monster and focus on the best parts: the movies that make me laugh, the ability to escape at the park, and the never-ending, irreplaceable memories I have created my entire life with both friends and family in what really can be the Happiest Place on Earth.    

Take-away - Share what makes you happy. It will make others joyful, too.

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