I love Disney. This isn’t news at all to those who know me, and likely isn’t very surprising for anyone who has spent any time on my various forms of social media. Our Friday night movie nights have slowly turned into Friday night Disney night, and one of my favorite workout playlists (or, frankly, just favorite playlists in general) is my “Disney Hits” compilation.
Now, I personally don’t think it’s all that strange to have such an unending love for Mickey and all of his friends at my age, especially considering the generation I was raised in. I mean, come on. My childhood was smack dab in the middle of the Disney Renaissance. (Well, technically, it was at the tail end of them, if you feel like getting really specific, but I don’t.)
I’ve heard, however, that some people think being so in love with Disney in your twenties is odd. I’ve even had some unsolicited opinions targeted in my direction, which, while I don’t take any offense to them, I’m still a bit baffled by. What’s the harm in finding joy in something that is meant to do just that?
The boy and I will be in Disneyland tomorrow. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition, if you can consider something you’re doing 2 years in a row a tradition, which I’m choosing to do. We chose the end of April very specifically: last year, it was because he was working in tax, and a post-April-15th trip to a place that is designed to bring back the magic of childhood was exactly what the doctor ordered. We realized that it was also a really great time to go: right after the spring break madness and before school lets out for the summer. The lines are (a tad bit) shorter, and there’s (relatively) more breathing room. Not that the crowds would bother us regardless, as we know perfectly well what we’re getting ourselves into with a trip to the parks, but it’s a good perk.
That said, we made a pact to come back again the next April. Granted, there’s no more tax deadline prompting us to do so, but we made a deal to do it, and here we are, going back to the happiest place on earth almost exactly a year after our last trip. And I am so stoked.
Because the magic of Disney has nothing to do with the commercialism. I don’t love it because it’s highly Instagramable, or because there’s really cute rose gold Mickey ears. I love it for the smell of churros wafting from the gates, for the anticipation that builds the second you hear that chiming Main Street music. I love it for the lack of responsibility, for the thrill of Space Mountain, and for the genuine excitement I feel when I track down (and subsequently run after) Peter Pan.
I love it because it’s nostalgic, and I think that in that nostalgia is exactly where Disney finds its magic.
Now, I realize that my attitudes towards Disney will likely change as I get older and life changes. If I ever go with kids, I’m sure I’ll experience the frustration of toting a toddler around. But seeing a child squeal with pure elation because they’re about to give Tigger a hug is a feeling like no other — I get excited when it happens now, and I’m nowhere close to having kids! It reminds me of my own visits to the parks before I was old enough to know there was a human hiding in that costume.
And the thing is, Disney’s dynamic draw goes beyond just the parks. Watching a classic Disney movie, or listening to the music, or going to see how the Imagineers have reinvented something that came out when I was a kid… it’s all heartwarming. It makes me feel so happy, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, I’m pretty sure, that’s exactly what makes it so great.
So yes, I love Disney at 23. I loved it at 2. And I can’t wait to love it even more when I’m 83.
See you tomorrow, Mickey.