I’m in a Facebook travel group where a particular member (whom I shall dub “Minnie”) recently stated she was considering Disney World as a Christmas get-away this year. Aside from the expected comments on cost, crowds, and the like, I noticed several comments were negative in that they seemed to judge Minnie’s selection of Disney World as a desired destination in the first place. As a certified Disneyphile (who, coincidentally, is single without children and has also visited the theme park during the holiday timeframe), I felt inclined, no, compelled to jump into the conversation thread to “defend” not only her destination choice, but the institution of Disney itself!
I’m not afraid or embarrassed to admit the “kid” in me is alive and well, for it’s that young, energetic, passionate, persistently (maybe even consciously) naive part of me that exists without bias or preconceived notion that propels me to try new things, things the “average” adult might not consider. I’ve done everything from bungee-jumping to sky-diving. I’ve learned how to do things like surf and ride a motorcycle. I’ve taken solo trips by myself to destinations perceived as “unsafe,” like Africa, Egypt, and Turkey. I’ve initiated conversations with strange new people in strange new lands, building life-long friendships based on discovered common interests. I’ve struck out on sight-seeing ventures, not knowing the local language, and not knowing exactly where I was going or how I was going to get there, just going on a spirit of excitement, curiosity, and child-like wonder.
In other words, I’ve taken risks without regard for the cautionary boundaries that often accompany adulthood. I’m a more accomplished person with a more diverse and passionate life. I’ve achieved things I never thought possible, and even when things don’t work out as planned (in other words, when I suck royally at something), I still give myself kudos for having the courage to try something new, to do something different, to live life beyond my comfort zone. And it is for these very reasons I hope the “kid” in me never dies, that I never completely “grow up!”
In my response to Minnie , I told her about a particular item on my “Bucket List” – to visit every Disney theme park in the world: Anaheim (California), Orlando (Florida), Hong Kong (China), Paris (France), and Tokyo (Japan) – an item I had the privilege of checking off in 2012. I have also set sail on the Disney cruise ship (twice – once with family and once with a significant other), and vacationed at Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii (the only Disney resort not in proximity to a theme park). (Now you’re starting to see why the word “Disneyphile” describes me to a tee)! 😉
I told Minnie if there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to “do you,” without regard for the advice, comments, and suggestions of others, no matter how well-meaning they may seem. We do ourselves a disservice by comparing our lives to others, filtering our desires through the lens of what others consider “acceptable” behavior, and waiting on other people to do the things we want to do (in Minnie’s case, looking for someone to accompany her on a Disney holiday vacation). Doing any or all of these will most assuredly result in missing out on a great many things in life.
The way the comment thread was winding down, some people were interested in a holiday vacation, but alas, not to Disney World…and it seemed Minnie was swaying away from her initial thought of going there. What a pity. As an adult, there will always be the cultured, sophisticated trips that meet the approval of the so-called enlightened and evolved beings of the world. But unless you consciously seek them out and make them happen, there won’t ever be those adult trips where you say “forget everyone else,” leave thoughts of bills, responsibilities, and society’s expectations behind, and let the “kid” in you out for some pure, genuine, unadulterated, uninhibited play time!
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~George Bernard Shaw
“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.” ~Walt Disney
This story was curated by Sonjia Mackey.