I wrote a column while I was in Disney World. I had lots and lots of thoughts about the "magic" and what it means for our everyday lives. I hope to have some time soon to get more of them written so I don't forget. For now, though, there are these few. And for those of you who have commented on the height difference between Mike and me, I'm 5'2". If you read the column, you can do math and know just how far up I gaze;-).
Updated to included the full text and some more pictures here:-)
I’m writing this column from Disney World. My husband and I have been here for nearly a week with eight of our children. We have had a truly wonderful time. Some would call it “magical.” Surely, it seems magical, but I know that, despite all evidence to the contrary, there is no magic. There is something else at work here. Since we arrived, I’ve been trying to pin down exactly what forces are at play to create Disney Magic. Although I’m certain that volumes could be written about the topic, I’d like to toss out just three ways that the magic makes our days here incredibly joyous, three things we can take home when we want to bottle it up and bring it north.
Embrace a passion for creativity and hard work. The parks are sparkling clean and every detail is thoughtfully appointed. It’s more than just good organizational management. It’s a philosophy of creativity, cheerfulness, and work ethic. Every single person who works here knows his or her job and does it cheerfully, with excellence. Disney Magic is what happens when creativity meets diligent hard work in a well-supervised environment. When confronted with a bump in the road, there isn’t any whining or temper-flaring on the part of the Disney cast. Instead, they work to find a pleasant answer—it’s obvious that they are thinking creatively and it’s obvious that they are putting forth their best efforts to make “magic.” The magic isn’t magic at all; it’s just cheerful hard work. There is an expectation that we will all be cheerful together here and everyone seems to be in on the effort.
Follow Daddy; he’s in the lead. It’s been very crowded despite our best efforts to be here on historically less crowded days. Eight children working their way through the crowds in a place where kids and adults alike are easily distracted can strike terror in everyone’s hearts. In our family, Daddy is 6’4”. He has a different perspective on Disney than anyone else—literally. He can see the bigger picture. He’s also a commanding presence. If he’s pushing the stroller through the crowd, the seas seem to part a little. He’s even keeled. He has a plan and he’s considering everyone’s best interest as we move forward from one experience to the next. It works for Dad to lead.
A corollary to this principle is to snuggle the wee ones close. I would have thought that my three-year-old had long since abandoned the frontpack carrier, but that is where she’s been happiest while we’re here. I have held her close and she’s taken in the sights and sounds from the safety of my arms. It’s done us both a world of good. Almost magically, we are relaxed and we have plenty of energy, despite logging in an average of seven miles of walking a day (no small feat while carrying 25 pounds of toddler). There is much to be said in favor of holding them close for as long they need us.
You are royalty. Act the part. It didn’t take long for us to figure out the every cast member is trained to refer to a little girl as “princess.” And every single time a ticket taker or waiter or bag checker told them to “have a beautiful day, princess” that little girl would stand up straighter, smile wider and walk with a little spring in her step. They aren’t really magic princesses. But they are daughters of the King. They are heirs to Heaven. Do they know it? Do I? Can we treat each other as such even after we drive north from the magical sunshine of this place into the real workaday world? I hope so. I hope magic can meet memories and we can continue to live the lessons of this vacation.