Meditations from The Magic Kingdom (And the Power of A Smile)

My family recently did the Disney World trip. It was our second time there with the kids. Maybe it was the shock of the heat, the dehydration, or the eternal lines; perhaps it was simply the “magicof that first visit, but a few things seemed way more apparent to me on this summer’s waltz through Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom…

If you’ve made the “pilgrimage” yourself, I hope you’llbe entertained bythese seven bits of wisdom:

  1. The famous ride “It’s a Small World” begins with the promise “Welcome to the happiest cruise that has ever sailed.” It is one of the truest signs I read ALL week long. Not because of the dated 1960’s cardboard cut-out characters and scenery that looks very similar to the Claymation Rudolf. Nope. In an amusement park of heat and infinite lines – it is at least a ten minute oasis – a bit of air-conditioned heaven in a sweltering world.
  2. “The Country Bears” show can “barely” compete with your local Chuck-E-Cheese. My youngest child loved it. The bear who sings like Johnny Cash made me a little sad though.
  3. Famous people don’t even need fast-passes. That’s right. My wife and children sawa famous NBAplayerand his kids entering via a special route to ride “Splash Mountain.” We were left wondering where you get that pass.
  4. I am a total Star Wars nerd at heart. We arrived early enough to ride the “Star Tours” (the 3D Star Wars ride) three times. However, I decided the people next to us on our second time through who were dressed like Jedi might have a bit of an edge on me.
  5. “Pirates of the Caribbean” — see # 1.
  6. Your kids fight more at Disney than they do at home. But so do everyone else’s.
  7. The only people really smiling at the park are the ones who are paid to smile! If I were a marriage counselor I swear I would set up a kiosk at Disney World. Every 20 feet we witnessed another couple arguing about where to go, where to eat, where to grab the next fast pass or how they were spending too much money!

The beautiful thing about a visit to Disney though is found in #7. No matter how hot, crowded or impatient the visitors of Disney seem to be…the employees of the park are always pleasant.

Disney people greeted us with smiles and patience all week long no matter where we travelled on the property. It made our stay enjoyable. (We did have a great time).

The obvious occurred to me as we passed by sweaty, tired, bickering parents (like us) starkly contrasted by the cheery Disney employees: being pleasant is a choice.

Smiling is a choice.

It is a simple choice that can make someone else’s day a memorable one.

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