I’m going to confess something right now.

Many people in my life actually don’t like Disney.

I know, I know, it’s hard to believe – but it’s true! My siblings are not Disney people and many, many people I know just don’t “get” the whole “Disney thing”. Especially those who’ve known me for years now see me on facebook posting all these links every day to blog entries about DisneyDisneyDisney and wonder just how obsessed one person can be. So I thought I’d attempt to answer.

If you have read my previous entries, or know me personally, you know how much Disney World has always been a part of my life. However, it has not always been happy pixie dust all the time – there were visits where some pretty bad memories were made. Visits in later years without my dad there, where the memories of the past were so overpowering it was almost unbearable…in both good and bad ways. The first visit after my dad passed away in 2004, I pretty much cried the entire visit. Even in the Happiest Place on Earth, sadness can exist. That is not to say I’ve ever suffered at Disney World, I realize relatively speaking this is not the hardest of crosses to bear – I’m still at Disney World, right? My point is exactly that, I was at Disney World, through thick and thin.

I wish I could figure out exactly what it was about Disney World that embedded itself so completely in my psyche. I wish I could pinpoint that moment in time. I know it was the big family trip in 1983. EPCOT had just opened and at 9, it was just the most magical place ever. Sure, there was the Castle over in Magic Kingdom and all those fun rides over there, but this was NEW…and held so much new excitement. The attractions at EPCOT were truly interactive. You could see real live plants right in front of you on Listen to The Land. You could smell orange groves and choose your own ending in Horizons. You could envision the future of transportation – and then sit in a fancy Cadillac at the end of World of Motion. And then…and then there was Journey into Imagination.

Dreamfinder, Figment & me in 1984
Dreamfinder, Figment & me in 1984

I could perhaps write a dissertation on that attraction. I fell in love on my very first ride. I still remember walking in the doors and seeing the cool crystal elevator in the center of the room. Once seated on the moving cars, it was just…perfection. Sure, it was funny little animatronic figures singing at you, but the message was pure. It was not long before I had (and still do) have One Little Spark memorized from start to finish. The rest of the ride was just like a dream. It had crazy parts, parts where you smelled lovely roses before you passed into the beautiful white room, scary parts with thunder and lightening, parts about drama…but what about Science? The end was a cool time-lapse film room where you saw grass grow, flowers bloom and felt your imagination grow. It ended with what I think was the first “take-your-picture-on-a-ride” moment. Once we discovered where the flash was, my family always made silly faces and scenes in our photo and loved seeing other people’s candid shots.

a later trip back to Epcot, 1986
a later trip back to Epcot, 1986

Needless to say, I found my pixie dust at Journey into Imagination. On the last day of that vacation, I cried during the entire ride, because I didn’t want to leave it. My mom broke the rules and took flash photography the whole time because she wanted me to have the memories of the ride when we got back home to Boston. (Sorry Disney!) I just didn’t want to leave the magic I’d found there. Almost 30 years later, I still feel the same way. The ride has changed a few times and lost a bit of its original charm for me, but I still tear up at the end because the memories are still there. That is the power of Disney magic.

I recently read an article on AllEarsNet by Mike Scopa about the phenomenon of “Mouse Tears” or crying during different events or attractions at Disney. Obviously this is not a new thing, and we are not alone in our experience of it. I used to cry at the Festival of the Lion King at the end where all the kids dance around to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” before I even HAD kids. Music and beautiful images are so powerful, there really IS a magic there, magnified within the borders of Disney property. When I did have kids, those memories and tears just became that much stronger…and now we’re giving them memories to last their lifetime as well. Sometimes all my mom and I have to do is look at each other as we walk toward the Castle and we both start the water works while my husband starts the eye-rolling.

the next Disney generation
the next Disney generation

Disney World is more than just a ‘vacation spot’ and I don’t view it as a multi-billion dollar corporate entity out to rule the world. I see it as a place where dreams came true, and can still come true, with each visit. That belief has instilled a passion in me compared only to the love of my wonderful family. If your eyes and heart are open, you can see the magic too.

Sure, Disney can be a crazy, hectic, stressful experience for some. The crowds can be overbearing and oblivious. The heat can be unbearable at times. The prices can be a hardship. But one thing happens for me each time I walk onto Disney grounds…I take a deep breath, and I am home. The memories flood back; the sights, the smells, the tastes…and new memories are welcomed in. I always wanted other people to experience those same memories, to know that it didn’t have to be stressful, it could be full of wonder – but wasn’t sure how to go about doing that.

Then, I discovered Twitter. I started out just posting random updates, but soon found others just like me, that loved Disney too -and more importantly, they weren’t afraid to show it. I had already decided to turn my existing website into a blog, but felt such pressure to *find something funny/interesting to blog about!* that I’d been avoiding really updating. Then it hit me to “do what you love” and make it all about Disney. Once I made that decision, it was simple. My connections and friendships made on twitter gave me such great support. Soon my blogs were being promoted by other people, I was writing guest blogs for other sites – the magic had begun!

It really has been kismet that brought me to twitter and connected me with the people I’ve met there – Disney cast members, pod casters, fellow bloggers. There are so many other people out there with the same passion and enthusiasm for this magical place that we love. My passion led me to ZannaLand and all those Disney tips and stories and memories have a place to live and flourish now. But really, should I have expected any less? This is Disney after all, pixie dust comes with the territory!

I hope this has explained things a little more, given you a bit of understanding of why I am so passionate about this and how its not going to stop any time soon. 😉 I hope it has also served as a thank you for those that have supported me from day one, even with no understanding of what I was undertaking-just cheering me on no matter what.

Thank you all for reading – comments are ♥