Not too long ago I was asked what made a Walt Disney World vacation special to me and my family. It wasn’t the old, “You know there are other places in the world to take your family on vacation, right?” <said with a sense of satisfied smugness>. And just for the record: Of course I know that! My family has been fortunate enough to go to some amazing places on vacation. Instead, the question was a sincere desire to understand why we love Walt Disney World so much and why we return year after year. Very simply, I can sum it up with this fabulous little video, which interestingly enough wasn’t even filmed at Walt Disney World! It was at a mall in Long Island, New York, a world away from Central Florida and yet overflowing with Disney pixie dust.
Over on Oh My Disney there is a brief interview about the making of the video. You may have already seen it floating around Facebook or Twitter, but it is worth watching again, so go ahead and cue it up. So what is it? What is it that keeps up going back to Walt Disney World (or Disneyland or motivated us to explore Disneyland Paris or Disneyland Hong Kong or plan for a trip to Tokyo Disney)? I think it can be summed up in four words: emotion, connection, inspiration and imagination. Just like the faces of the children when Mickey and Gang walk out from behind those doors in the mall, something about Walt Disney World elicits emotion – joy, surprise, love. Which leads to connection, like the way that soldier connected with Mickey in a dance-off (who knew Mickey could bust those moves?). So much of a Walt Disney World vacation is about connecting as a family, connecting with Cast Members, connecting with other Guests, connecting with our memories and even inspiring us to look into our future. And inspiration gets us every time we are there and we have Mr. Walt Disney to thank for that. Our family’s favorite Disney quote, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” resonates in our minds over and over again as we take in all that a Walt Disney World vacation offers. Like those who passed by that storefront window and realized that it was more than it appeared, curiosity goes hand-in-hand with inspiration. Those unsuspecting shoppers let their guard down and let their imagination loose. They explored and were rewarded with… joy. Well, now we are back to that emotion word again, aren’t we? I’ll second that.