I’m #1!

It has taken me a lifetime to figure out some of the mysteries of life and it goes without saying that there is no substitute for experience.

As we get older we come across situations and experiences that may seem vaguely familiar and we sort of figure out how things usually play out.

The old New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra had a famous saying, “It’s déjà vu all over again!” and although we may smirk at his words, there is some truth to the fact that we really do encounter so many things in life that serve as life lessons and this education helps us later in life to figure things out.

So along this road of life as we learn these lessons we begin to understand more and more about the world around us and more importantly we begin to understand ourselves and what makes us tick.

It’s a long journey and when we first appear on the scene all we think about is “Me! Me! Me!” However, we learn all too soon that we are NOT the center of the universe”¦notice I said we learn ALL too soon and not we ALL learn too soon”¦there are some who still have not gotten past that point.

If you’re wondering, yes, I will tie this into a line of thought that deals with Disney”¦read on.

As we grow into a young child, pre-teen, teenager, and young adult we learn the ways of the world and to accept a number of things in life”¦some pleasant and some not so pleasant.

For instance, we learn from an early age that, although, play came before work, once we were of school age reality hit and we learned that actually it’s work BEFORE play.

Yes, life is tough.

Over the Thanksgiving Day Weekend I reflected on this and it lead me to some heavy thinking about life and the love I have for all things Disney.

Now I’m sure you, like me, have come across something like 43,724 blogs that start off saying “I keep going back to Walt Disney World because”¦” and then we hear all the same reasons over and over again.

You’ve heard them all”¦escape from reality”¦quality of entertainment”¦I love Mickey…great fireworks”¦love those parades”¦and so on”¦and so on.

When I think of all those reasons I tend to agree but I can also say”¦nonsense.

Sure you can make an argument for every one of those reasons but there is one primary reason why so many people list those reasons”¦at least there is for me”¦because frankly, I used to list those same reasons”¦but now I know why”¦and I’m about to share my revelation with you”¦but you must be patient.

Let me start by asking you a question: Have you ever really put any deep thought as to how life plays a part in this love for the home of talking mice and ducks?

Have you?

Let me ask another question. How many of you reading these words right now can honestly say that you are the #1 person in someone’s life? Be honest.

If you said yes then you are in a very select group. It’s hard to be #1. You can be #1a or #1b but being exclusively #1 requires so many stars to be aligned that honestly it is a rarity.

Sure, as babies we are #1, #2, and #3 to our mothers. To our dads, maybe”¦but I can tell you that I will be forever envious as to the relationship or bond that a mother has for her child. That relationship is certainly one in which the child is #1 in his or her mother’s eyes”¦.and vice versa.

Of course your number #1 status will not last too long…’cause when a younger sibling comes along you will get bumped to #2″¦and if twins or triplets follow you”¦well”¦let’s not even go there.

As we grow into teenagers we learn more about this evasive #1 status. As we begin to date and as relationships come and go that status sort of works like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”¦one second you’re up”¦the next you’re down”¦oh I’m #1″¦oops”¦no more…some number but definitely not #1″¦wait I’m there again”¦.erh”¦no”¦gone.

So what am I getting at here? How does this connect with our love for Walt Disney World?

Think of the first time you have ever stepped onto Disney property”¦.it could be Disneyland”¦or Walt Disney World”¦.any Disney property.

Do you remember how you felt when you were first greeted? The smiles? Do you remember saying to yourself, “Wow, this is cool!”
Do you remember the number of times during your visit that this feeling came to you over and over again?

Let me put it in simple terms”¦do you remember how you were treated?

Well, even after visiting Disney parks for 35+ years I still get that same feeling. Sure it varies from time to time but I truly believe it’s what brings me and you back over and over again.

It’s a very unique and novel feeling to be treated like that and obviously the folks at Disney have caught onto what breeds success and it’s making their guests feel like they are not just their only guests but their favorite guests.

Think very carefully again. Are you #1 anywhere, with anyone? If you are then consider yourself to be very fortunate.

If not, then you can join me and the rest of Disneynation as we recall and love the fact that as far as the Walt Disney Company is concerned, we ARE #1.

I may not enjoy that status anywhere else, and have learned that over time, but when I step onto Disney property, I can smile and say, “I’m #1.”

And that my friends is the primary reason you and I keep going back!


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10 Replies to “I’m #1!”

  1. I think you were able to put into words the feeling I have when we return to Disney every time. I’ve tried to express to other people what it is I like about Disney that gets me to visit so often. Usually I explain it isn’t for the rides, shows, etc., but for the environment, the peaceful, relaxing way you can enjoy everything Disney has to offer. A big part of that enjoyment is the cast member interaction. I have just as much fun being able to talk to the cast members as I do riding Space Mountain. I would add to your observation that when you take the time to treat the cast members with respectful and courteous manner the #1 feeling you get in return is even greater.

  2. GREAT AS USUAL, MIKE!!!! Right on the money…nothing like walking into a Disney Resort and they say “Welcome Home! and 95% of the time, it sounds as if they truly care that you are there in front of them! Is there a better feeling than crossing under the MK train station and having more than one Cast Member great you with a sincere smile and a kind word? These are 2 of the moments that tell us we ARE home…and to borrow your words, that someone really feels that we ARE #1.

    Keep up the good work, Mike!

  3. We have been going to Disney since 1993 and bought the Disney Vacation Club in 1994. We feel it is one of the best investments we have ever made. But really made us love the Disney experience was when we were there in 1993. We bought annual passes for all of us and I lost one of our girl’s passes in the Magic Kingdom that day. I did not realize this until that night when we were having dinner at the California Grill. I can still feel the panic and horror till this day. I called Guest Services and they directed me to Lost and Found. To my utter astonishment, someone had found our pass and turned it in. I think then passes were aabout $250, to me this is the ultimate Disney experience and try to pass that on to all the people I have met in the parks since that fateful day!

  4. My wife and I are planning an extra trip to WDW next year because of the “special” trip we had this past September.

    I truly hope the “powers that be” understand that it’s the small, personal things that keep us coming back to Walt Disney World.

    I’m excited about the Fantasyland Expansion and all the new things, but what keeps me coming back is the personal attention they give to my wife and I. It is rare to find that level of customer service, and it’s what causes my savings account to get wiped out year after year. Just gotta go back…..one more time!

  5. there’s a good reason why the hospital I work for adopted a theory called “If Disney ran your hospital”… and, Mike, I think you just nailed it with this blog. Looking forward to being treated like #1 at Scopa Towers in 43 days 🙂

  6. As always, Mike, you have great insight. The customer service level that Disney provides is the true reason I keep returning time after time. It doesn’t matter if you are staying at the All Stars or club level at the Grand Floridian, the cast members all have the same training to try and make you feel like you are a VIP. It’s the same reason that I love my job, trying to make my customers feel that same way! It’s the same reason I fly a certain airline and eat in certain restaurants. Some companies have just proved time and time again that they provide a little something extra. Disney wrote the book!

  7. We are heading back to WDW in January 2011 for our fourth trip, and when anyone asks why we like it so much, I tell them “it’s the only time in my adult life that I can say I felt 100% carefree and like a kid again–even with my own kids to care for while we’re there”. It is incredible how Disney can make us feel so light and carefree 🙂

  8. Excellent blog Mike, I have often felt the same way but never really put it in this perspective.

    Keep up the wonderful blogs, I always look forward to your thoughts and opinions.

    Have a magical day!

  9. Wonderful post. Couldn’t have said it better myself and I agree 150%. Disney is the one place where no matter what, you can feel special.There are many readers of these boards who need to read and heed your words and realize that they are number 1 even though a particular down situation happens on a particular trip.

    Disney is magical, but it’s not perfect every time a person visits. You get out of it what you put into it and that attitude is part of life as you say……VIC

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