In the never ending rat race of adulthood, you'd think Walt Disney World would ultimately be lumped in with countless other family-friendly locales as a place that’s “Just for kids.” After all, we logically know that Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy exist only in the world of animation, and that Frontierland and Tomorrowland aren’t actually portals to different times and places.
Yet, there's something about Walt Disney World -- something intangible and hard to quantify or succinctly define -- that keeps people young and old coming back every year with the same child-like wonder they had as kids. What is that something, you ask? We call it showing your Disney Side and it can be expressed in a number of ways.
It's a Living, Breathing, Community
Walt Disney World is far from a simple theme park. As kids, for many of us, it was the honest to goodness home of Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang. It was truly where they lived, and no one could tell us different. Unlike other amusement parks, which are usually nothing more than a fun weekend diversion from everyday life, Walt Disney World is a city with its own stories, characters, and history. In some ways, it’s like any other town, but the fact that you can meet animated legends and tour the town where they live and work right alongside them, makes it an impossibly magical place. Besides, how many towns have their own castles?
It Reminds You What it's Like to be a Kid Again
Inevitably, weight of adulthood takes over, and we forget our Disney Side: how we felt when we visited Walt Disney World for the first time. We forget what it was like to imagine such a place where cartoon characters lived, and something fantastic waited around every corner. We forget what it was like to believe, before we were pushed from all sides to "grow up." That Disney Side of yourself lies dormant -- pushed down by the demands of adulthood. But then, we come to Walt Disney World and our Disney Side comes flooding back; that time when you were single-digit age and the rides weren't rides, but magical passports to otherworldly adventures, and places like Tomorrowland weren't spots on a map, but enchanting portraits of an art deco future.
It's Where Time Stops and You See the World with Fresh Eyes
Time stops at Walt Disney World, where you revert back to the age where the only thing that matters is the strength of your imagination. Suddenly, you know what it felt like to be a kid and to see and experience the world with the fresh eyes and optimism of your Disney Side; an experience you never really can have the same way outside the confines of Walt Disney World.
It's About Giving Back
Walt Disney’s favourite song from his films was "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins. The song is about an old english beggar women asking passers-by for two pence, not for herself, but so she can feed the little birds that surround her. Robert Sherman said that all Mr. Disney would have to say was "Play it", and the Sherman Brothers knew which song he was talking about. As they played, Disney would often gaze out the window and confirm under his breath, "Yep, that's what it's all about." Today, though the price of "Tuppence" has gone up at Walt Disney World, the park still shows its Disney Side by hosting many children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation and other worthy causes completely free.