SOME CALL IT THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

Happy Place

My friend Grant has posted another fantastic Facebook post about losing his happy place, at least for a little while. I’ve reposted it here because I know not everyone wants to access Facebook and I think it deserves an audience outside of the walled garden.

Here’s the thing about Disneyland, Disney World, and Disney parks all over the world —

You either get it, buy in to it, and have strong associations with it… or you don’t.  You either love it… or you don’t.  And it’s okay if you don’t.  Missy, my dear wife, doesn’t at all.  She dislikes the crowdedness, the bustle.  She dislikes the sense of frenetic movement.  Her relaxation place is a lot more… well, relaxing.

But I’ve seen Disney parks at many stages of my life, at many times, and with many people, and I *get it*.  I love it.  The memories I’ve made at these places are indelible.  The feeling I get walking into Disneyland is like a life-shaped weight being lifted from my chest.  I know that when I’m there, I’m going to have a great day.

And yes, we can talk endlessly about whether or not Disneyland is a constantly-overflowing cash register.  (It is.)  Or whether it’s designed to take advantage of your wants and desires in a somewhat insidious way.  (It is.)  And whether it is designed to prey on one’s nostalgia and carefree youthful days to wring dollars out of one’s wallet.  (It *so* is.)

But let’s also say that that doesn’t matter.  At least, to me.

The word has come down that the Disney parks are unlikely to reopen until 2021, or at very least as soon as a vaccine has been developed and rolled out.  I suppose I knew that, on an analytical and rational level.  But knowing that this place that’s been responsible for so many of my favorite memories won’t be open for guests for so long… it hurts.  It gives me a lot less to look forward to each day when things are tough and every day feels identical.  I always knew that when things were especially rough, I could always jump in my car, spend 5 hours driving, and find myself in the one place where responsibility didn’t exist.  Knowing that that aspect of life is gone for the foreseeable future has removed a small measure of my hopefulness.  And I know that that’s just silly, but again — I know that on an analytical, rational level.  And emotions aren’t necessarily rational.

Anyway, I know that what we face as a society is a bazillion times more crucial than piddly little OMG CAN’T GET A DOLE WHIP lamentations.  Further, I know that the sacrifices we’re all making now are necessary, and just, and right.  I know all those things.  At an analytical, rational level.  It’s not worth breaking a quarantine to get this back if it puts even ONE life in the path of harm, and it would be undoubtedly much more devastating than that for both the patrons and the cast members.  But I hope you can forgive me for lamenting the loss of a place that made me profoundly happy.  Disney was a respite for me when times got difficult, and I hate not having that refuge in my back pocket as we move forward into the rest of an uncertain 2020.

I hope you can also find some commonality in the sense that the only thing keeping us moving forward as a society is faith in the return of Better Days, however that looks in your mind’s eye.  Even if Disney isn’t your thing.  And personally?  I hope you can get a taste of your own Happy Place again, wherever that is, very soon.

Keep the faith and the hope.