I recently reconnected with a friend of mine from college. Meet Rich – pictured above. Rich is a goofball, caring, and he has a zest for life. He’s a people person. I recently noticed on Facebook that Rich had just taken a family vacation to WDW. For about a week, whenever I checked into Facebook, I’d check in on Rich. Loosely I followed his family’s travels throughout the four main parks at Disney World, enjoying new pictures as they were posted showing what a great time they were having. I decided to reach out to Rich and see if he’d let me share some of their pictures here on the blog. Now, most people don’t try to get in touch with old college friends to obtain rights to share their photos with the world. But that’s what I did. Fortunately for me Rich is a nice guy and trusting. I’m so glad that I did reach out to him. It’s always such a pleasure to resume a friendship that has been muted, paused, or accidentally discontinued as life journeys on. I smile that Walt Disney World was responsible for that in this case. Anyway, Rich was kind enough to let me share these and some of his vacation with you.
After we filled each other in about what life has given us the last couple of years, I asked Rich what he most enjoyed about his trip. This is the story he shared with me:
“My favorite part of the trip… I totally danced with Tiana! She is outside by the Christmas store and a performace by the castle started and it had a bit of a waltz feel. There were two kids ahead of me and she kinda danced with them. So I looked over at my dad told him that if the music is still playing, I am legit dancing with Tiana. And as fate would have it, the music still played and I swept her off her feet.”
Rich also claims Tiana told him that she likes it when a man takes the lead. I can’t say that I blame Tiana for that comment in that case. What girl doesn’t want a man coming along sweeping her into a waltz at Walt Disney World? (I’m sure somebody out there would mind such a thing. But I certainly would not.)
I loved Rich’s story. Who would guess that a straight man in his mid-20s would give that story as his most memorable moment? It wasn’t a thrill ride, nor drinking beer, or fireworks. It was a moment with a princess where he could just be himself: funny, charming, youthful, uninhibited, and he could share that with his family.
Being so in love with WDW, I very often wonder what makes Walt Disney World so wonderful for me and millions of people around the world. Everyone’s reasons are different, but I think ultimately it’s a combination of youth, wonder, and happiness. It’s a place we are completely safe and free to be ourselves. Adults can let go of adulthood for a bit. Special things happen at WDW, and most of the time we get to share those special times with our family and friends. After all, what is better than being with those you love and watching them feel carefree and joyful? Life is full of special moments everywhere, don’t get me wrong. But at WDW you truly get to stop, step away from all else in life, and embrace the moment.
Since I’m feeling philosophical today, I’ll tell you I really do often think about the question of why I love Disney World. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to completely spell it out – the formula is too complex. Anyone else have the answer?