While my mail is addressed to a house in Texas, I prefer to call Walt Disney World “Home.” Even though my family only visits the World about one time per year, how can it not seem like home to me? Every time a Walt Disney World Transportation bus drops me at my resort, they tell me, “Thank you for riding with us, and WELCOME HOME!” I mean, my minivan doesn’t do that when I pull into my driveway.
Sometimes friends and family, who just don’t get the appeal, ask me why our family keeps going back to Disney. In fact, my sister, who used to take her kids to the World every year when they were growing up, recently told me that they prefer to go a different place each time they travel. She said they don’t like to go to the same place over and over. I thought, first, that she used to go to Disney over and over, but I let that one slide. Then I thought, you know what, in some ways Walt Disney World is the same each time. Its familiarity, its comforts, its welcoming solace all remain constant. But in many ways, Walt Disney World is an entirely new experience every time we go.
Walt Disney World is ever-growing and changing—plussing, in Disney terms—as most recently evidenced by the new Fantasyland expansion. Rides get revamped, seasons change, we change. Our most recent visit marked a first for our family: It was the first time all five of us were able to ride Big Thunder Mountain together! My younger two kids are getting big enough and brave enough to dare the big rides, and it adds a whole new layer of magic to our trips. One thing we’re looking forward to this fall will be a Daddy-daughter date at a Disney Signature Restaurant.
I think what makes Disney feel like home to us is that we just belong there. It’s a place we can be who we are without life’s other concerns interfering. We can embrace a mouse like he’s our bestest best friend in the whole world, and he hugs us back like that’s the truth. We can change and grow and go through seasons—and be plussed—right along with the resort, and no matter what, they always, always welcome us back “home”!
Jodi Whisenhunt is the author of MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort, and operates a blog by the same title. Her book is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace. (Kindle and Nook versions also available.) Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!
*A previous version of this article originally appeared at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse.