Thursday, February 18, 2010

Disney Feelings

I think about our Disney vacations a lot. They're very memorable, and when one is coming up, I anticipate it with excitement. Low key excitement, but still.

What makes these vacations so memorable? A stroll through the tunnels at the Magic Kingdom brings us to Main Street USA, and this is where the excitement, the anticipation, has led me to. The smell of popcorn, the balloons, characters in the street and in the center of the circle, maybe a train whistle, and the architecture!

Oh, the architecture! It's not quite real, and I don't mean that in a cartoon sense. It's bright and clean and cheerful, unlike the real world. I look down the street, at the signs, at the facades, at the people and maybe the trolley with its performers, and I get a chill. And there, at the end: A Castle!

I've strolled through the streets of some perfectly charming small towns, in various states. Several of the towns along the eastern edge of Lake Michigan fall into this category. And one that stands out is Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Canada, up the road a bit from Niagara Falls.

But none of those towns have the perfection of Main Street USA. They're clean, maybe, and cheerful in their own ways, but in a lot of cases they feature older buildings, architectural styles gone by. But I suppose it is the real life aspect of them, businesses selling more than Disney merchandise, crowded restaurants, and the more sophisticated (in their own minds at least) wanderers of these streets. Older, well-to-do folks on permanent holiday. Not many kids.

The Disney version of this American iconic image is hustling and bustling. Crowded, yes. Packed with kids, check! Street performers abound in Disney. Photographers accost you every twenty feet or so, it seems. There shouldn't be anything really relaxing about this scene.

Yet for me there is. Relaxing, perhaps, because of the comfort I derive from being in their enviroment. I know it's artificial, I know that it only superficially resembles anything out of real life. And that castle...clearly not from reality.

I guess that's the point. At that juncture, we put ourselves into Disney's hands, give ourselves over to the fantasy, and let it become real to us for a few days. And we come away, even after a lot of rushing around to get to dining reservations, to rides and shows, and finally, back to the hotels, somehow feeling better than we should.

Worn out, exhausted, perhaps. But it's a good "tired".


Brian Resler said...
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Anonymous said...

Amen. Great post!