What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?
So Many Reasonsby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 1/16/2009
Why do we return to Disney over and over for our vacations? That's a question that has often crossed my mind on our travels to Disney parks around the world.
Napping at ALL STAR Vacation Homes
Alexander takes a nap after swimming at our ALL STAR Vacation Home. The bedroom he was staying in was Mickey Mouse themed. What I love about this picture is that he's smiling in his sleep!
So far, my tally stands at 12 trips to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World, two visits to the parks in Los Angeles and Paris, and two Disney cruises; and I can't get enough. There's another trip to the Paris park in the works, along with our first ever visit to Hong Kong Disneyland and plans for a two week vacation that would take in both Florida and California. So why do I keep returning to Disney time and time again?
There are many reasons. The first is that it's one of the few places in the world where you can just get completely away from it all and forget about daily life. OK, so you can head for a far flung beach, but somehow Disney has that feeling of safety whenever you're in the parks. Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating for one minute that you lose all common sense and just leave valuables lying around waiting for someone to take them, but there have been many examples of items being lost and then magically recovered later in the stay. There really is nowhere else that I can think of that such good nature prevails amongst people. It's almost like stepping back into a bygone age when people happily left their doors unlocked at home, knowing that nothing bad would happen. (Again, I'm not suggesting it!)
Another reason is that there's just so much to see. I don't think it will ever matter how many times I go to any Disney park around the world, I think I will always find new things that I never knew existed before. On our most recent visit, we took the Segway tour of Epcot and, as part of that, you get to visit a lot of the pavilions around the World Showcase. As we weaved in and out of them, I kept spotting areas that we'd never walked through before on our travels. That amazed me, as Epcot is our favorite park and consequently, the one we always spend most of our time in, yet there were still unexplored nooks and crannies here that we had just never noticed before.
Then there are all the little touches that perhaps you have noticed, but have never really paused to look at. One of my favorite things to do as we walk along Main Street, USA is to cast my gaze upwards at the windows of the shops and read the signs on them. They're all Disney-related and it's fascinating to think about what they all mean. If that's something you've never done before, do try it the next time you're there. One of the best touches at Disneyland in California was the light in one of the windows in the Main St. firehouse that's always burning. As I understand it, that's done in memory of Walt himself, and seeing that brought a tear to my eye.
Even waiting in line can bring enjoyment. Knowing that the big E-ticket rides attract huge crowds, the Imagineers have come up with so many wonderful things to admire as you stand and wait your turn. Some of my favorites include the lines for Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror and Test Track. Sometimes, just sometimes, it's worth waiting in line for a little while, just to have a chance to admire their handiwork and the thought that went into it.
Something else I love is that there's always some new restaurant or attraction to experience. I doubt there are many people who can claim to have been on every single attraction and enjoyed every single restaurant on any Disney property. I know I can't, although I've had a good go at doing both things. There's nothing more enjoyable than sampling a new restaurant and discovering that it's a hidden gem, although it does leave you wondering why it took you so long to make it there.
As for the attractions, I think we've now done the vast majority of the ones we can handle (the big coasters are well and truly out of our league!), but on every visit, there seems to be something new to enjoy at one of the Disney parks. Almost as soon as we leave, something else seems to open for business. Change and constant improvement is something else that definitely keeps us coming back. On our most recent trip, we were able to enjoy the Finding Nemo musical at Animal Kingdom and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom for the first time, and we were lucky enough to sample the improved Spaceship Earth at Epcot during its soft opening. Then there's a new parade and the new Toy Story Mania attraction at the newly renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios. So many new things to enjoy!
Passporter Shelly & her Mom
Disney's 3-D Dessert Party
But perhaps the main thing that keeps us going back to Disney is the people there. The Cast Members are often what makes a vacation really special, from the server who does everything faultlessly at a restaurant, to someone on the Concierge desk at your hotel who spends a little extra time with the children in your party. Disney magic can be found everywhere in the people who work there, and it's always worth taking that little extra time to chat with Cast Members and find out more about them.
We were charmed by the girl from Chicago in Epcot, who took the time to explain to us where we should go and what we should see when we visit her hometown. Then there were the Cast Members on one of the Friendship boats who created a truly Magical Moment for us. Or what about the street entertainers you find in each park? We enjoyed a dance in Main Street, USA, after stopping to watch the town mayor and some of the park's other famous figures.
These things usually don't happen by accident. They happen because you take the time to talk to those who help to create the magic. More often than not, they have wonderful stories to tell and great memories to share.
Those are things that keep us coming back to Disney time and time again. How about you?
Updated 1/16/2009 - Article #30
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