So I’ve been out of town the last few weeks. The family and I took a huge road trip vacation in our brand new, cherry red, fuel efficient Chevy HHR. Yes gas is expensive. However, I’d saved up some gas rewards and MyPoints and managed to cover a lot of it. Yes, 12 hotel nights are expensive, but I’ve saved up hundreds of thousands of hotel points and managed to book our nights for free. Yes Disney is expensive. What? There’s no second part of that statement. It’s expensive. But you know what? It was Disney.
I’m a big time travel junkie. I’ve been to a few continents, many countries, even more states, and countless cities and towns. One thing I know for certain is that you’ll never see more people from more countries speaking more languages in a single place than here in the United States. Oh, sure, the comedians and the liberal society who think comedians are the source of all news and knowledge would have you believe Americans are all fat, provincial, TV-addled shut-ins who couldn’t identify Spanish without Speedy Gonzalez and the Taco Bell chihuahua to clue us in, but America is, as it has been, a tremendous and unprecedented crossroads for the world. And Disney World is, if anything, even more so.I remember sitting in a hotel lobby in Brussels a few years ago, hearing the front desk clerk speak at least five different languages in an hour. I was duly impressed. Well this trip, my daughter was competing (and kicking butt) in the Dance Masters National competition, which was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. In that lobby, where incidentally they play classic Mickey cartoons around the clock, I heard as many languages in five minutes … more even. The other thing I notice is that in Brussels, all the hotel staff were from Belgium. Some from the southern French section, some from the eastern German speaking section, some from the northern Flemish section. But all from Belgium. It’s that way in Germany or Italy, even India. Local staff. At the Coronado Springs in Disney, the staff were from all over the world. I find that not just at Disney but at hundreds of hotels and restaurants in these United States. I can check in with a front desk clerk from Cameroon and order room service from a Munich native. You can draw your own philosophical conclusions from that data, I’m simply observing.
It was a great trip. It was Disney. Disney magic is as powerful as ever. Walt used to say “quality will out.” His ideals live on, as the staff, or “cast members”, at Disney are unfailingly exceptional. Each individual employee goes the extra mile, tries a little harder, puts an extra oomph into their efforts. I don’t know how Disney manages this, but it’s truly special. You just don’t find attention to detail and dedication to customer service anywhere else like you find at Walt Disney World. For my little girls, it was truly magical. It almost makes the massive wallet bloodletting tolerable.
My family is a Disney family. My grandfather’s barbershop quartet sang there. My father worked there, painting characters’ faces and ride signs. My mother worked food service there. My uncle, retail. I was born in Orlando. My grandparents lived there most of my life growing up around the South. My sister went back there after high school, worked at Disney in one of those old-timey photo places. We’re Disney, baby, it’s in the blood.
The world is a strange place. It’s complicated. Humanity and our dark side … it’s a saga. Even Disney has their shadowy places. But sometimes, you can pile your kids in the car and go for a drive. You can pass giant peach shaped water towers, see sea turtle centers and visit civil war graveyards. You can travel together to Disney World, and your kids get a taste of wonder and magic that will live in them their entire lives.
It’s a fallen world, and often it’s not pretty. It’s sinful. It’s commercial. It’s two-faced. It’s cruel. That’s the world. But sometimes, it has a little pixie dust and it just feels good. Thank God for those moments. My family treasures them. After all, it was Disney.
I can still smell that summer air, with a touch of cotton candy and popcorn. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. It’s a good day, a day the Lord has made. Rejoice, and be glad in it.