What is it about The Mouse?
I admit it. I’m obsessed with The Mouse and all he represents! My first visit to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom started my downward spiral of obsession. It was in the spring of 1978, I remember it well. We’d just been married and took a trip to Florida for our Honeymoon. And of course, you just cannot go to Florida without going to the Magic Kingdom.
This was back in the early days of Walt Disney World when there were only a handful of motels in Kissimmee, when there was only the Magic Kingdom, and when you used tickets to get on the rides. Some of the same classic rides that you see today were there then, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Peter Pan, among others. Now, I’m not much for wild rides, don’t care for roller coasters, so I was in heaven in a park where I could ride almost everything (except the teacups). It truly was magical. After one more visit to the Magic Kingdom the very next year, we decided to move to Florida to be closer to The Mouse. That lasted five years, until our daughter was four years old, and we had gone to the Magic Kingdom, and then Epcot when it opened, often during that time. But family responsibilities called, and we moved back north with mixed feelings.
Then, while our kids were growing, most of our summer vacations took us on the long road south to the Magic Kingdom. We’ve visited Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios over a hundred times altogether over the years. We’ve stayed at quite a few of the myriad of motels along the Irlo Bronson Highway and we’ve also stayed at Disney Resorts. My children grew up loving the Magic Kingdom, how could they not love The Mouse? I can’t get enough of the Haunted mansion ghosts, (I may even decide to be haunt number 1000 to make it an even number). I absolutely love Pirates of the Caribbean, especially the new version with Captain Jack Sparrow. I can ride all of the roller coasters (Except Aerosmith at Hollywood Studios) without being scared to death, and I still love all of the cuddly Disney characters, especially Mickey. I can sing all the songs along with the Tiki Birds, and I get a thrill out of beating my husband’s points on Buzz Lightyear. What more could you ask?
However, prices have skyrocketed since the early days of the Magic Kingdom. In the early days when we lived in Florida, we could get there and back for a total of $50 for the both of us, together with our daughter, and that included food. Yet, Walt Disney World continues to be very crowded, and even filled to capacity on some days. No matter how many price rises there are, people continue to buy the tickets and stay at the resorts. So, what is so special about The Mouse? Why will people pay so much for the fantasy? For me, I think that it’s because you can go into any of the parks at Walt Disney World, and the real world goes away, just for a while. That is a priceless thing in this day and age. It’s so nice to get away from the pressures of the real world every now and then and forget all of your troubles. For a little while, the world is good. For a little while you can live in a Fairy Tale where dreams really do come true. And for a little while you can be a child again and forget the cares and responsibilities of your world. I remember taking my mother-in-law to Magic Kingdom several years ago. It was like that old Disney commercial where you see the child in the reflection in the mirror, but actually, it was an adult seeing and experiencing the world like a child would. That’s the magic! There’s nothing like an amusement park to bring that inner child back to you. And Walt Disney does it best.
I have cut down on my Disney addiction a bit the last few years. The cost has gone up enough that even I hesitate to pay it. And yet the crowds go up too. That tells you a lot about our world, the world we need to escape from sometimes. The world that is incredibly hard sometimes. And thank goodness, there is a place that some of us can go to and make the escape from our world into the Magic.