Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Disney Magic?

What do you do when you've been to the various Disney parks so many times there's no exploring left to do. You explore!

Jill and I are prepping for another Disney World trip in a couple of months and while Jill does her usual prep work I find myself wanting to get as much out of this trip as possible too.

I'm a Disneyland veteran with over one thousand visits notched on many belts. I've gained a considerable amount of weight since my first trip. Some would say that I'm Disney'ed out but I don't think that's possible. Yeah, I could probably do Disneyland blindfolded but that park is more than just a place to go. I spent almost 30 years living within earshot of those fireworks. I held an annual pass for years and went as often as I could. I've probably spent as much time there alone as I have with my wife, family or friends. It was just a comfortable place to be. It was always easy to get to so I'd grab a book, buy a coffee, and plant myself near wherever live music was being played. I may have gone on Space Mountain a few times as well just to make sure it didn't miss me.

Yes, Disneyland did become a casual hangout. I had seen every inch of the park save for the ladies rooms and a few "cast members only" areas I have yet to infiltrate so the need for adventure was replaced with the need for experience. I got to know cast members and many park regulars whose attendance dwarfed my own. Some had gone almost every day for decades! How does that famed "Disney Magic" keep firing for folks like us? It just does otherwise it wouldn't be magic.

Walking where Walt Disney walked and seeing what he built is part of the charm. I love looking at old photos of him walking down main street and pointing out the numerous things I've pointed out. I could never really comprehend what it all meant to him but I knew what it meant to me. Through the years it's matured from "You old, rich bastard. I love this place." to "Thanks for building this for us."

I'll always consider it "my park" even though I divide my time at Disneyland and Disney World now. It's not because I know it better than Disney World but more that it knows me better. The attention to detail and intimacy one experiences there will never be matched by Florida.

So why do I go to Disney World?

I think it's the experience. Some inexperienced travelers say it's the immersion of Disney World which I don't find any more encompassing than how Disneyland isolates itself (which it does better) from the outside world. Really, it's just seeing different things in a familiar setting.

I don't really get into the resorts so it's more about what's in the parks. Jill and I love closing a park almost as much as we love going on all of our favorite rides again and again. We go in with a loose plan of attack that always has room for an extra spin on whatever is nearby if we find ourselves with extra time. We don't get tied down with dining reservations because Jill's not much of a foodie and I am. It's not that I don't like the food there but it's just that I've had better food elsewhere. We selectively dine at more quick service restaurants than table service. I'd rather suck down a burger and hit up Maelstrom a third time than spend a couple hours packed in a restaurant paying too much for glorified Applebee's.

Yeah, we're ride dorks. We've mastered ride hopping at both parks. We don't have to sprint around either. By going with the flow we always find ourselves near an attraction with a short(ish) line. Going during the slow season doesn't hurt either. A successful day for us would be two or three spins on every ride we like with at least one spin on the ones we don't.

So what's the plan for February? Believe it or not there are still a few things we haven't seen at the parks. We're going to make sure our "Family Circle" style footstep path covers almost everything. If that means watching a show here and there so be it. I don't think I could ever become a Disney World expert because there's too many things I don't care to do. That doesn't mean I won't get excited when we arrive. Jill and I get better every time we go. Hopefully the folks at Disney can keep up with us.


  1. Beware of some "planning" soon. I'm trying to figure out which parks we should attempt each day. And you can help me decide. :)

  2. I might even get my picture taken with a character or at least the Troll.