As odd as it might seem, I have not set foot in a Disney theme park since May of 2015.
And even more interesting, is the fact that I am okay with that.
Yes, I was an Annual Passholder. Disneyland Premium, to be specific. It expired in early December and I struggled to decide if I should renew it or not.
Part of me kind of leaned toward the Nostalgic side of the coin. Lots of great memories of visits with family and friends over many years of having an AP. I still see the value of one and will likely get one again at some point in the future.
But after having paid for one (on a monthly payment plan) and not making use of it, I could not see continuing to pour money from my pocket into Disney’s.
I have mixed feelings about the expansion of a Star Wars land in the Anaheim parks. I get that the company wants to exploit interest in the newly acquired franchise by bringing it from theaters into theme parks. I think they could do better by creating a new theme park that focuses on the universe that is Star Wars. Something in a gate all its own, something perhaps not even located near Katela Avenue and Harbor Blvd. Why tax the overcrowded infrastructure there with something designed to bring more people and more cars there? With Disneyland reaching capacity more often than it ever used to, going for something new somewhere else makes far too much sense from this corner of the Internet.
Not to mention Florida, where the company does have plenty of space for expansion. Why not an all Star Wars gate somewhere on property? It is no secret that the Boy Wizard is stealing customers there (and will shortly do so in California). A theme park from a galaxy, far, far away seems just the thing to compete.
Yet… It is moments for me such as walking through the turnstiles at Disneyland, only to have a train arrive at the Main Street station; drawing guests aboard for that Grand Circle Tour of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It is the start of a great adventure for the day ahead. And it only gets better as the day goes along.
Perhaps what makes it special is that it is not something that I experience every day. It is not the usual, not the same thrill experienced catching the train into work five days a week. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Even Walt did not spend all his time at the Park. With the apartment above the Firehouse or if the apartment above New Orleans Square had been completed, they were places for the occasional visit. Maybe a chance to get away from everything outside the berm. Now that I can understand. But you can’t hide from life that way. It goes on outside no matter what we might like.
If I never went to a Disney theme park again, my life would not be over. I have great memories to look back upon; photos and videos to enjoy; souvenirs to tie special moments to a particular visit – but all with family and friends. That is the real treasure. What Walt wanted us to take away most.
Works for me.