Welcome to those of you joining me from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.
I’m not sure there are any more powerful words than “Welcome Home.” And I’ll be completely honest, that little phrase both flew right over my head when we checked into the Port Orleans Riverside, and caught my attention at the same time. In my defense, it was 9:00 at night, we hadn’t had dinner, and were exhausted. I just wanted food and bed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that phrase was a hint of things to come.
For me, home is a place where things work. You can relax and be your best self, because you’re not constantly trying to keep things from falling apart. Home is clean and orderly, well-maintained, and has plenty to do – and space to do nothing at all. Home is a place where you have family who accept you exactly as you are, and choose to see the best in you, and you can relax and see the best in yourself.
Maybe my whole concept of home is a fantasy. It certainly doesn’t exist – at least not in its entirety – where I live! My “real” home has laundry piled in baskets that spill out onto the floor more often than I’d like to admit. In real life, I am always a little on edge, waiting for the next crisis to erupt, because experience has taught me that it will. My “real” life is one where I often see my shortcomings in bright blinky neon lights, while my successes fade into the background.
Disney was completely different.
From the moment I handed my folder of travel documents to the lady at the Magical Express terminal, who smiled and thanked me for being so organized, I felt recognized. Deep down, under all this chaos, I really am a very organized person. Having a total stranger recognize that meant more to me than she will ever know, and it set the whole tone for our time there. Being recognized, being known makes a place feel like home.
We travel a decent amount, and trust me, when you walk into a nice hotel with a pack of tired, hungry, excited kids at 9:00 pm … usually the hotel staff and I share one overriding goal: To get my family out of the lobby as quickly as possible. Not so at Disney. They had cartoons set up with kid-sized chairs, ready to keep my little ones happily entertained while I checked in. They welcomed us, just like when we go visit family for the holidays. The kids get swept off with the grandparents to play while Mom and Dad take care of getting the luggage inside and other essentials. Being welcomed makes a place feel like home.
Disney does one thing I’ve never seen at any other theme park or resort. Everything looks brand new. Even in the harsh Florida sun and rain, Disney keeps the paint fresh. Yeah, it seems like such a little thing. Paint doesn’t keep a ride running, or keep the lines moving. But it makes such a difference in the whole Disney experience! It makes the whole place feel cared for, strong and stable, like a place that will always be there for you. After you go to Disney, you notice the peeling paint at other theme parks. It makes them feel dingy and run-down. Kind of depressing. Seeing a place kept alive and well makes it feel like home.
There are so many little things that make Disney feel like home. I’ve only been to Walt Disney World once, but I’ll admit, there are days when I feel downright homesick for that place, where I felt known, welcomed, alive and well. I’ll be back!
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Magik Mouse.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
2nd Stop ~ Return to Disney
3rd Stop ~ Magik Mouse
4th Stop ~ DIStherapy
Final Stop ~ Delightfully Disney