The other day I had the pleasure of sitting down with my pal Estelle and our new friend, John from WDW Parkhoppers. We expressed how wonderful it felt to have yet another person who was passionate about Disney and who could talk for a long time (almost 3 hours to be exact!) about what it was like to visit Walt Disney World. For people like us, a trip to the parks is always a new adventure and despite what anyone may think, it never gets old. Every visit is a new experience and over the years, I have gone with my parents, my friends, significant others, and the memories are something I hold onto even today.
What surprised me was that so many people didn’t realize that indeed Disneyland was something that was born from Walt’s incredible imagination, but I also think we have to thank his daughters, Sharon and Diane Disney. It’s safe to assume that Walt was a busy man. Family time wasn’t always so easy to come by for the guy who was in charge of running an empire. He tried to grab as much time with his daughters as he could and Sunday afternoons were for his girls. He would pick them up from religious services and take them to the Griffith Park merry-go-round. They would spend hours playing and Diane remembered him saying that “There’s nothing for the parents to do… You’ve got to have a place where the whole family could have fun.” His trips to amusement parks were now almost research experiments as the wheels in his head began to turn.
Nearly 60 years later, I think the end product would overwhelm even his imagination. He wanted a place for families to come and spend time together. His parks turned into a dream world for parents to bring their kids to and not have to worry about the outside world. There are no worries about your job, your bills, or even your safety. The Disney Parks are an escape from reality where both parents and children have an unlimited array of choices to both entertain and educate themselves with. I also love how these parks never seem to be finished. Imagineers are always looking for ways to make them better and more exciting. Hypothetically, if Walt were still alive and healthy today (at the ripe old age of 110), I think his mind would work in a similar way, never stop thinking of new ideas. With families in mind and the technological advances of our society, his fantastical worlds would always be pushing the limits of entertainment.
I gripe about how expensive Disney World can be; it certainly can take a toll on one’s wallet. But I feel like once I start my own family, I don’t think I’ll be able to put a price on the kind of memories a vacation to Disney World can create. Even if it’s only for a week, I’d welcome that trip to Never Never Land and I hope my future kids would embrace some quality time with their old mom as well.