As a cast member I have really enjoyed being able to create magical moments for guests, but over the past few days I have come to a huge personal realization: It is Disney itself that makes moments magical.
I am a huge Disney fan (which is why I have chosen to work there). My honeymoon was spent there many years ago. I have been an annual passholder, a seasonal passholder, and at times when money was tight, not a passholder at all.
I stopped to think the other day why on earth Disney could be so very important to me. It’s just a theme park after all, and there are other local theme parks we could visit.
A few years ago, my husband and I realized that as our boys were getting older, we wouldn’t have many more family vacations together. So we gave our children a choice (ranging in age from 8-15). They could choose for us to take a week long cruise or annual passes to Walt Disney World. I have to say I was surprised that it was an instant, unanimous decision – DISNEY! These are not young boys, but they all wanted to go Disney.
Disney is so important because memories are made. Memories that last a lifetime. Nothing compares to seeing a 15 year old, 6 foot tall teenage boy hug Pooh like it’s the first time he has ever seen him! (wait it WAS!). Or seeing Tigger arrange my 3 sons so that the picture would be the way HE wanted to be (and that is a picture that will forever hang on my wall).
It’s remembering exactly what I was wearing when I was 5 years old and went to Walt Disney World for the first time. My mom let me wear my FAVORITE dress. It was red and blue and had white stars on it. I don’t remember a whole lot about that day, but I remember that my mom let me wear that dress… and I remember holding her hand while walking down main street. I didn’t know at the time that it was main street, it was just a street. I don’t remember meeting Mickey, or riding anything other than the carousel – although I am sure that I did. My biggest memory is simple. Walking down the street holding my mom’s hand.
So, really, what is a magical moment? I don’t think it is a cast member giving away a stuffed Mickey, or making sure an extra fast pass is there to meet a character. Those are important things, and they can make a vacation nicer. But a magical moment is that moment engraved in a 5 year old little girl’s mind… never to be forgotten, of holding her mom’s hand, with wonder all around.
It is a 15 year old boy, almost a man, putting aside everything and being a child to hug Winnie the Pooh. It is a 10 year old boy bending down on one knee to propose to Cinderella, only to be told that she’s already betrothed to Prince Charming. It is watching your kids dance with random strangers under the Osborne Family Lights because their dad dared them to do it.
A magical moment is that moment that no matter what, will never be forgotten.
(Thank you to my very dear friend who wanted to share this realization with C2D readers.)