• December 22, 2014

Disney isn’t just for kids — but for kids at heart

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Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014 4:30 am

Hi. My name is Vanessa, and I’m addicted to all things Disney.

I can sing “It’s a Small World” in several languages and can recite the “Carousel of Progress” by heart.

My most recent purchase was the “Frozen” soundtrack, and the ice cubes in my house are shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. Whenever I hear “When You Wish Upon a Star,” I tear up.

I’ve marched down Main Street U.S.A., both as a Princess HalfMarathon participant and as that person who forgets she doesn’t work for the mouse and who gets a reality check by a Mickey’s muscle.

Fireworks displays still make me “ooh” and “ahh,” and I’m a sucker for a good parade. I blame my parents wholeheartedly.

They hooked me as a kid, and now I go every year, sometimes twice, as an adult with my Disney freak of a husband. If he wasn’t down with the M-O-U-S-E, it would have been The End.

When we tell our friends about our annual pilgrimage to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” they look at us sideways and almost always say: “Isn’t that a place for kids?”

Wrong!

As an adult, you get a unique perspective that you don’t get as a kid.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s still more fun than just about anything, but you haven’t lived the grown-up Disney life until you’ve been to Jelly Rolls, closed down the Dance Hall and experienced drinking around the world in Epcot, bar crawl style.

It’s definitely not as easy as it seems. Take it from me. Four countries in, I got my face painted like Sleeping Beauty. I have a chance for redemption next week, where if I follow my plan, lessons learned intact, I will emerge the victor, fingers crossed.

Some people like to kick back on a beach somewhere, fruity umbrella drink in hand. But as for me, I’ll take a ride on Space Mountain, a Rice Krispie treat and a photo op with Belle any day.

When our friends ask us why we keep going back, being kidless and all, our answer is simple: It’s fun to be a kid again and live like Timon and Pumbaa for a few days, worry free.

Walt Disney World is a place where you get to leave the outside world behind. You forget about bills and mortgages and work and troubles.

Once upon a time we were all mesmerized with wise advice from the beloved Walt Disney and his famous mouse, Steamboat Willie.

Through clever subliminal messages we learned “to let it go,” that “a dream is a wish your heart makes,” “a spoonful of sugar can make the medicine go down,” and with courage and motivation, “we can go the distance.”

Many of us grew up on these life lessons.

Unfortunately, while transitioning into adulthood, we’ve buried these morals in the attics of our minds along with Woody and Buzz.

It’s time to dust them off and take them back out and explore your “Disney Side.” It’s OK to sing and dance and act a little Goofy every once in awhile.

Grown-up life is stressful and we can all stand to take a cue from kids and stop taking ourselves so seriously all the time. It’s exhausting.

I can’t wait to get wrapped up in the magic next week, consume way too many Mickey ice creams and lose my voice howling on the rides.

Like a wise crab once said, “The human world is a mess,” so go back and get lost in Disney movies and let the kid inside come out and play.

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