My family and I just wrapped up a Christmas-time visit to Walt Disney World in Florida. The resort and parks have always been promoted as a magical place. I’m beginning to think the Disney people could be right.
Not in a pixie dust, mouse who talks kind of way. But in a real world example kind of way.
In the last few months, the possibility that our world will ever be at peace again seems to have slipped even farther away. Blacks hate whites, whites hate Muslims, Muslims hate everyone. Democrats hate Republicans. Old school Republicans hate new conservatives and the media hates Donald Trump. All we hear about is how people around the world with different belief systems and ideas cannot coexist.
Or can they?
If you’ve been to WDW or Disneyland in California recently, you know at the end of your trip you’ve had all that you can take. Not because of Disney. You likely know everything they do is exceptional. But those of us who visit…we’re the reason Disney has to be taken in small doses. It’s the strollers, stroller parking lots, scooters, people driving scooters like they’re at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, infants screaming on busses, on rides and at resorts, daily rain showers, toddlers spilling ice cream on their Bibbidie Bobbidie baubles, boys smashing people with Pirates of the Carribbean swords, the lines for Peter Pan’s Flight, people causing bottlenecks while they decide how many quick service meals they have, drunk parents in the Germany and Italy pavilions, parade watching areas, no chairs at the pool, people considering shirts in gift shops, people stopping everywhere to take pictures of everything, everyone checking the app to see how long the wait is at Test Track, and people, people, monorails, people, busses, boats and even more people.
After a day or two navigating the ocean of Disney, not only are you in physical pain, your at wits end. And then you have to battle TSA to get home.
But If you stop for a moment or two, and open your ears, you’ll hear people discussing all your family is dealing with in a variety of languages. It’s amazing really. In the last week, I’ve heard Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Farsi, German, Italian, and a lot of other languages I couldn’t pin point. I heard British, Australian, Brooklyn and Southern accents. I saw a very happy young Muslim woman wearing-glow-in-the-dark green Mickey Mouse ears over her head scarf and a group of Indian teen girls dressed as Jasmine from Alladin. I saw a very imposing African-American dad wearing R2-D2 Mickey ears and a hipster girl wearing a Yoda backpack. They were all bumping into people, strollers, signage, scooters and merchandise trying to get somewhere. But they were ok with it all because they wanted to be there.
And while factors that should have led to major annoyance and perhaps arguments and violence continued, everyone was relatively happy, gracious and hospitable. Disney was piping in traditional Christmas music. A choir, with Neil Patrick Harris as emcee, sang age-old Christian hymns while people jockeyed for the best view in the rain. Santa was everywhere you looked. People were saying “Christmas.” We listened to a Beatles cover band together and watched Asian monkeys swing overhead. No one complained, poked fun, fought or antagonized. People were organized, well-behaved and happy. Weird.
I saw lots of very thankful kids of all ages, and parents who may have been worried about the cost indulging them out of love and true affection. There was no “privilege.” Just people who worked hard to give their kids or themselves something special. There was almost no negativity.
People – at least everyday people – CAN actually get along with and respect one another in non-ideal, maddening circumstances. It’s amazing we can take the stress of rat-mazes like Disney and daily life, yet our leaders don’t trust us-the ones living the American life they discuss-to tell them what we need.
Don’t believe me? Try standing in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sometime. On a Saturday.