Any Disney fan can tell you that there is always one individual who groans, rolls their eyes, or generates an insulting comment when another trip to Disney is announced. While not always a family member (although they do exist), these people just do not “get it”. “What is this mysterious draw to Disney?” they ask you.
Disney is not just a place. It is not simply a tourism destination, although it is a fine specimen of that. No, Disney is a state of mind.
Walt Disney hit the proverbial nail on the head when he created a place where families could spend quality time together. He also took precautions to protect his ideals within the Disney Company, and included standards that still remain to this day. No visible tattoos or body piercings will you see on any Disney park employee that works among the guests. It was big news in the late 1990’s when Walt Disney World actually changed the “no beard” clause for their employees, but even now they must remain well trimmed and of a certain short length for those Cast Members working among the guests.
Walt created a clean and inspirational environment for his guests, and the “Disney difference” is noticeable. He took one step further and even empowered each Cast Member to be able to make decisions to improve guest experiences. Cast Members usually list this empowerment as one of their favorite reasons to work for the Disney Company. You see, you can not make a decision as an employee for most companies, but if you work for Disney, you can. As a Cast Member, I once had a family of guests shopping near me in an area of Downtown Disney. The youngest family member, a boy under age 10, dropped ice cream all over his brand new Mickey Mouse shirt. He was crying and his mother was trying in vain to get the chocolate stains off. I was able to dash over to where I knew the shirts were and grab one, then gave it to the boy’s mother. She was stunned, and I just grinned and told her there was no crying at Disney. They were so grateful that they stopped by Guest Services that day and left me a comment card to thank me. Empowerment is something that lacks in customer service these days, so it is no wonder that this is one of the things that contributes to the Disney draw.
As I stated previously, Disney is a state of mind. I have met some amazing and wonderful people who are Disney fans. These people share traits of generosity and selflessness that do not compare to most of the people I know that do not “get it”, I am sad to say.
Two of my dearest friends are serious Disney pin traders. They travel to Disneyland every chance they get and have a specific location that they enjoy trading pins with people in the park. I have seen them give pins away to children that they do not know, simply for the joy of doing it. There are few things in life that are better than seeing a child smile with pure happiness.
On Walt’s Basement Disney Forum, there are people who work tirelessly to mail Disney goodies, post cards, collectibles, and more to their Forum members who post often. Anyone can join the Forum; it is just expected that as a Disney fan they will want to participate and “pass the magic forward” any way they can. It is truly a magical place on the web, and again, it is filled with those selfless Disney fans who “get it”. I am proud to be the Founder of that web site, and even more proud to have been a party to the magic that happens there each and every day.
Disney is not simply a place to go and ride attractions. Yes, we love them and no others compare to Disney attractions, but that is not what keeps us coming back time and time again. It is the youthful and innocent family centered spirit that contributes to the Disney draw, and once you “get it”, there is just no going back. That, my friends, is a very good thing. Don’t you agree?
Leave a comment if you know someone who doesn’t “get it” in your circle. You have my support- and I bet I am not alone!