We have just returned from Disney World, the place of Magic and Dreams. We made lots of memories and they have been added to the many that I have collected from the past.
I grew up getting to visit Disneyland many times as a child as I am a native Californian. My family all enjoyed some trips into the land of make believe, where anything could happen. I remember loading up in the car, very early in the morning with my grandparents, with a promise of a Mickey Mouse pancake when we arrived at the park. It was the days of the E tickets or coupons as they were called. My grandfather worked for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook and scored ticket bundles with all E tickets - the most coveted of the rides instead of the bundle with all the A, B, C, D and E tickets which started at the least desirable - and went all the way to the E ticket which were the most popular, innovative and new rides. It was a simpler time when you arrived in your car and jumped out and you were at the admission gates. I remember as a young girl that it was a very magical place, and yes, a place in my dreams. A land where Dumbo flew, Pirates waged battles, Jungle cruises took us down the rivers in Asia, Africa and South America, the Matterhorn took us to the top of a snow covered peak in the middle of California, and we sang along through "It’s A Small World" as we ventured into other cultures and found that we are all not that different.
This visit to Disney World was magical too. We were on a fun escape from the everyday challenges of life, work, school and fighting cancer. The chemo went with us but it took a back seat most of the time. Tim was amazing in his pursuit to not let his body get him down. Honestly, the Disney experience is a tough vacation for even the healthiest. We did not conquer Disney World like we have in the past but went for the more feasible and gentler experience.
We stepped into Christmas on the day after the election, quite the extreme from the televised news we left at the hotel, to hearing Christmas music on the bus on our way to the Magic Kingdom. Once through the gates, Christmas had come to the Magic Kingdom. There was a huge Christmas tree and all of Main Street was decked out for the holidays. I could have stayed on Main Street all day soaking in the Christmas music and decorations (of course the wreaths were made in the shape of Mickey). I believe everybody in America could have used a trip to Disneyland that day. We rode fun rides, had the opportunity to meet a couple of our very favorite characters/friends and watch them love on people of all different shapes, sizes, cultures and color. It was a mass of humanity to say the least all having fun at a place promising to be the Happiest Place on Earth.
When Walt Disney dreamed, he imagined a place where children and parents could have fun together, along with learning, imagining and sparking the dreams of the guests. His dreams came to reality in Disneyland. What began in a 160 acres of California orange groves has carried on to bigger and better experiences throughout the world. There are parts of me that still long for those old days where things were simpler and there was a little less of everything. But the messages that began all those years ago still beat on today.
And that boat ride where we sang along to "It’s a Small World" is still going in all the Disney parks whether here in America or in the Disney parks in other countries. It is one of their most popular rides. As Mother Theresa put it, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Two people with the same message and one that is timely for today.
It’s a small world after all, that each kindness, each act of love, it all counts and that we are all more connected than we realize. And maybe that is where the magic really is…. and what I believe Walt dreamed of, and so do I for our country…