I must have “sucker” tattooed to my forehead. Rare is the marketing ploy or movie plot that doesn’t manage to tug at my heartstrings. I’ve been known to cry at toilet paper commercials, and I well up during nearly ever sports film ever made (“The Indians win it; the Indians win it. Oh my God, the Indians win it!”). And let’s not even mention the likes of Old Yeller or Bambi. But nothing gets me blubbering like a baby quite like Walt Disney World.
It begins before we even arrive. Heck, it starts when I’m not even consciously planning a trip. The minute I see one of those commercials, I perk up like a dog near a grilling steak. The “It’s Time to Remember the Magic” campaign was particularly poignant, and I absolutely adored “You never talk to me in that special way”, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you”, and “I’m too excited to sleep”.
There are a few “magical moments” when planning the trip, like when you actually book your trip or when your confirmation materials arrive in the mail. I’ve been known to jump up and down in excitement (hopefully no neighbors were looking out their windows at that point).
The closer we are to Walt Disney World, the more the hysteria grows. I don’t think I’ve ever passed under the welcome signs without tears streaming down my face (albeit for very different reasons, depending on if I’m coming or going). My first sighting of a topiary or a monorail prompts a similar “bouncing up and down in my seat” attack.
The first theme park I visit on a trip is always the Magic Kingdom. I’m not truly home until I’m passing under the train station. Speaking of which, the attraction posters that greet me at this spot might just induce another intense emotional reaction. Once I see those, I know that all’s right with the world.
The next thing you know, I’m skipping, singing, and half-crying “Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA”. After all, the place was made with a magical plan, and just around the corner is a Fantasyland. “For the time of your life you ought to find yourself here. You’re welcome anytime you have the mind to appear.” Okay, I’ll stop singing. For now.
Part of the Disney magic comes from remembering previous visits. One of my favorite Disney memories happened at the Country Bear Jamboree. My grandparents joined us for that trip. My grandmother had been confined to a wheelchair for as long as I could remember (she passed away when I was nine), and the cast members at CBJ made a point to make sure she was well taken care of. You know it must have been pretty spectacular service to impress a small child! Therefore, this attraction is one of my all-time favorites. I sing along with every song, (yes, I sing a lot at WDW. Too bad I’m not any good at it) and I well up as “Come Again” kicks in.
While most of my misty-eyed moments tend to occur at the Magic Kingdom, I’m not exactly immune at the other parks. Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a guaranteed tear-jerker for nearly any Disney fan, and I always get a tad weepy at Epcot as we soar over Disneyland in Soarin’.
I’m getting a little verklempt now, so I’m going to pass this topic onto you. What Disney moments tug at your heartstrings? Please fan me at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Disney-Gene/340155003315 and tell me your emotional Disney hotspots!