A Day at Disneyland, is a Metaphor for Life.
Attending the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disneyland, meant I had finally ticked off every Disneyland theme park in the world; from Hong Kong to Paris, Tokyo to Orlando, and Los Angeles.
Whilst each park has it’s own unique rides and experiences, there’s a number of lessons I learnt, not just about the parks but life itself.
Disneyland isn’t just for kids
Walt’s vision was for the whole family to enjoy a day out, so there’s nothing embarrassing being an adult, obsessed with Disney. I freaking love Disneyland. Single, married, divorced, kids or no kids, it doesn’t matter. Disneyland is for everyone.
I love the rides, the atmosphere, the food, the souvenirs, the fireworks, even the architecture and design. Sure there’s rides aimed at children, but what is wrong with forgetting all the horridness of adult-hood and entering a magical world of fun, smiles, and make-believe? It should be compulsory for every adult to experience a Disneyland theme park every year to remember, life doesn’t always suck.
“That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”
— Walt Disney
Disney could almost pass as an ideology
Visit any park and you’ll notice Walt Disney quotes dotted around the park. Combine these with the waving characters and laughter from the rides and it’s easy to imagine Disney as a pseudo-religion. Now imagine if Disney-ology was embedded into mainstream life. If Politicians had to wear colourful costumes when out campaigning, and in parliament If everyone had to wear giant gloves and ears.
Now imagine that everyday, a parade of the most lauded workers, Scientists, Doctors, Teachers, Artists and anyone else who has done something wonderful, were paraded down ‘Main Street’ to wave and smile at the crowd, reminding everyone there is good in the world.
Imagine meeting every week, to eat caramel popcorn, wear Mickey Mouse ears and have lively discussions planning out the future of humanity; with big ideas, making incredible things happen, doing what’s never been done, all while chanting Walt’s famous inspiring quotes. Imagine every night ending in fireworks. Okay so maybe a slightly dystopian utopia but the world would be a much happier place surely?
Disneyland is so much more than just rides
Of course rides are awesome, and exciting, but there’s an army of magic makers to ensure that every day at Disneyland is incredible. The food is as much a part of your Disney experience (like caramel popcorn, Mickey shaped pizza, pork buns, or ice-creams) as is the music, shows and parades. No matter how many times you visit, you will still tingle with excitement at seeing Sleeping Beauty’s Castle lit up at night; and no visit is complete without seeing fireworks fill the night sky, signifying a satisfying end, to a phantasmagorical day.
Besides a fun excursion, a day at Disneyland provides hope; that magic exists, that life can be fun, and it’s a world where anything is possible.
A day at Disneyland is a metaphor for life
You should always have a plan, and you should always have a plan B. Stop and enjoy the small moments (like hidden Mickey ears or the statues in the gardens), sometimes things are easiest accomplished on your own (single rider queues). Queues can be boring but they’re also a great place to make new friends. It’s also okay to take time out every now and then and just relax and do nothing, but most of all enjoy yourself.
No matter what you see, there’s a whole other world you don’t see
At every Disney theme park, there’s an underground city, hidden entrances and a secret VIP club. As public guests you can’t go everywhere; just like in life, you can’t have everything, so be happy with what you’ve got, because it’s still amazing.
Disneyland may be an American icon but everyone loves a fun day out
I’ve seen every possible race, religion and personality at Disneyland, all getting along, all having fun. If this can happen in one place, for one day, there’s no reason why it can’t happen everywhere, all the time.
Don’t be afraid to dream big
Walt Disney faced multiple bankruptcies, the loss of property rights, staff walkouts; he essentially restarted his company multiple times, but he never gave up on his dreams of creating beloved characters, believable and groundbreaking animated films, and finally the Disneyland theme parks. He won 22 Oscar’s from 59 nominations, the most for any one individual. No matter the hurdle, there’s always a way through and no matter how big or crazy your dreams may seem, with the right team behind you, anything is possible.
Lastly those custom made Mickey ears may look adorable on Instagram, but most likely upon returning home, they’ll be shoved to the back of the cupboard, and never warn again; but that’s okay, because it’s nice to have a little reminder, that somewhere in the world, magic happens.
What’s been your favorite Disney park experience?