“Disney Day”

“Disney Days” are essential to the mental health of an avid Disney fan. If you didn’t know, I’m an avid Disney fan…times ten.

I know. Shocking.

What is a “Disney Day?” It’s not just a day spent at a theme park (although it can be). A Disney Day can be any ol’ regular day with an intentional amount of magic and pixie dust thrown in.

Disney fans have a way with “fluffy” words, don’t they?

We (my family and I) had our own Disney Day this past Sunday. We declared it Disney Day from the start–we each picked out a Disney movie and sat down for hours to watch some favorites and some forgotten classics. We took a break for lunch and a treat, and we gabbed and napped throughout the showings.

It was pure, lazy, pixie-dusted bliss.

We could’ve made our day more elaborate, with treats and favors fit for Instagram. We could’ve put more thought and planning into the movies we watched. I could have started a hashtag, worn ears, done my makeup, felt like a presentable human being.

But did we do that? Nope! We just sat down and watched some movies. The simplicity of the occasion made the day so much better–free of fuss, free of perfection, free of a bra. (TMI? Probably.)

Here’s how our lineup developed:

  1. The Little Mermaid, followed by a Lean Cuisine for lunch and a trip to DQ for a vanilla ice cream cone.
  2. Aladdin with bouts of power outages due to a summer thunderstorm. It took us a long time to watch and finish Aladdin. Momma cried because she had never sat and watched it all the way through–she adored the song “A Whole New World,” and she was so proud of Al when he set the Genie free. My sister took a hearty nap.
  3. The Lion King, with bonus features included.
  4. Peter Pan whilst sorting through old photos and memorabilia. I found some old short stories of mine, written around the third or fourth grade. One piece was entitled “The Irish Setter Who Loved Golf.” An Irish Setter is a breed of dog, one I was particularly fond of as a child. It was a work of literary genius, no doubt. Find me an agent, stat! (Ha.)

While this wasn’t a stop-the-presses kind of day, it was one of my favorite. It was a Disney Day for the books–I’ve had some pretty incredible park days, but there’s something about intentionally sitting  and watching movies all day with the ones you love that makes every “monotonous” moment magical.

How would you go about your own Disney Day?

 

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Happy 45 “Ears,” Magic Kingdom! 

A little post to say happy 45th anniversary to my favorite place. I love you Magic Kingdom, and I love you Walt Disney World.

That’s all. Have a magical day, everyone.

Fireworks

Let me tell you a little secret:

I was an odd, anxious little kid.

I was afraid of so many things–roller coasters, boats (still not a fan), elevators (ok, I still don’t like those), fireworks, and so much more.

When it was time to go to Walt Disney World for the first time, I honestly wasn’t all too thrilled. I was a freshman in high school, and had never gotten over my fear of thrill rides, fireworks, and large crowds–I sincerely thought Disney would be just another Six Flags, a theme park where my anxiety always took over.

I was so incredibly wrong–I’m so grateful for my younger sister for constantly and consistently pushing a trip to Disney World, or I might have never gone. I even owe the Disney College Program to my little sister–she wanted to go to Disney World gosh darn it, and so my family finally booked the trip.

My first trip was not without its anxieties, however. Yes, I was sixteen and in high school, but I still didn’t like thrill rides or fireworks. I remember flipping through one of those guide books you pick up at Barnes and Noble, reading reviews and expectations of each ride, giving myself pep talks so I wouldn’t let my family down. We wanted to experience everything together, so I wanted and needed to buck up and step foot on some rides that I was apprehensive to board.

A list of some of the attractions I wasn’t looking forward to: Rock ‘N Roller Coaster (I hated most roller coasters in general), Splash Mountain (the drop!), Soarin’ (heights), The Haunted Mansion (I hated haunted houses…still do), and any of the fireworks shows (explosions, loud noises).

When I arrived, however, I was so enthralled by the magic of Disney that I got over my fear and did every one of these attractions. I loved them. Most of these have become some of my all-time favorites. I love Splash Mountain and The Haunted Mansion especially, and I’m so glad I overcame my fear to have adventures with Brer Rabbit and to board a “Doom Buggy” and survive the stretching room.

There was one attraction, however, that I couldn’t bring myself to do on that first trip: the fireworks.

I couldn’t get myself to relax as the crowd gathered to watch the glittering explosions in front of Cinderella Castle. The amount of people and the anticipation of the explosions and the noise were almost too much. I had a small panic attack and retreated to a quick service food place to get away from it all. I ate some chicken nuggets, calmed down, and missed my first chance to see the fireworks that I have now come to love.

I was disappointed in myself for letting those fireworks slip by, for not being brave enough to watch a quintessential part of the Disney experience. That was our last night during that trip, so I didn’t have a chance to brave the show until my senior trip in 2012.

I stood there as the crowd started to gather to watch Wishes!, freshly graduated from high school,  quivering just tad. I was still nervous, but I had decided to overcome my fear once and for all. I wanted to see those fireworks, so I stood among the crowd and decided to just acknowledge my fear and function despite of it.

And, of course, I loved it. Every single minute of it. I cried not because I was scared, but because I had been so moved by the show.

So. I’m here to tell you it’s ok to be afraid, but it’s absolutely wonderful to experience new things, to gather yourself for only a few seconds of bravery. You might still be afraid, but at least you know you tried to work through it, to overcome that particular anxiety. You might be able to push through moments of terror to find moments of wonder and laughter.

I still get nervous butterflies before the end of Splash Mountain (that huge drop!), but my heart always finds joy as we float through the joyous welcome party for Brer Rabbit. A few moments of fear sometimes give way to many moments of joy. 

If you’re a daredevil and not afraid of “silly” things like fireworks or attractions or life in general, that’s wonderful. Just don’t force things on your more anxious friends or family–my mom and sister and grandma did not force one attraction: I  just decided to board the roller coaster, the Doom Buggy, to watch the fireworks. I decided on my own, and I really think it made all the difference. It might not work with every situation, but a gentle push is far more effective than a aggressive shove. Now I love fireworks and those Disney attractions more than anything. People will always have irrational fears; they’re not weak for it. They just need time to decide to step on a Doom Buggy, to watch Wishes!, and to follow Brer Rabbit on his many adventures.

Life can be magical because of its experiences. The magic can be amplified when we can muster up a bit of courage to go after what we want, no matter how scary it may seem.