Where Magic Works
ALL EARS® Guest Columnist
This article appeared in the February 10, 2004, Issue #229 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
Disney World and Magic. The two seem to go together as easily as Walt and the "little fella" in Blaine Gibson's marvelous statue "Partners," which watches over the hub of Magic Kingdom. On Disney newsgroup message boards, across websites and of course, in letters to ALL EARS® vacationers returning from the realm of the Mouse have happily passed on their own personal accounts of magical experiences.
They range from the stories of lost autograph books returned in the mail, to heartwarming remembrances about the treatment of those for whom everyday life is a challenge.
They tell of kisses from Princesses, hugs from hound dogs and priceless once-in-a-lifetime moments between families and friends. The recent Disney slogan in fact boasted that Disney World is "Where Magic Lives."
In fact there is, without question, abundant REAL Magic in Disney World.
Many believe, as I once did, that the magic is in the illusion created by the parks. Like the smell of cookie dough outside Main Street USA's Confectionery. Or the way the castle spires glisten in the late day's sun. How backstage is so well hidden, and, no matter which park you're in, one location "dissolves" so seamlessly to the next. How the "storyline" of each park unfolds perfectly before you. It is the Magic of perfect theater.
For others, the magic is found in the resupplying of shops, and removal of trash, without large bins constantly rolling by. They see how easily the crowds are handled. They notice how you're directed personally to each parking space in the morning, when you drive in. Early risers at the resorts notice an army of workers power washing the driveway and wiping every surface clean. It is the Magic of perfectly orchestrated organization.
Some believe that the Disney World Magic is, in fact, the Fountain of Youth that Ponce De Leon searched for during his quests in Florida. It brings childhood bedtime stories to life, and finds the place where youth still lives in everyone. It seems to make all aches and pains of time go away. It brings smiles to even the most forlorn faces and puts a skip in the walk of even the most "historically experienced" guests. It is the Magic of dreams come true.
While these are certainly all small pieces of the Magic potion, they are not the key ingredient. That ingredient is priceless. It wasn't created in an Imagineer's sketchbook, and can't be found in any guide book. The Magic flows as it always has, from the people who serve The Mouse.
The Cast Members.
During my most recent trip to Mousedom, this once again proved as true as ever. It started the moment we arrived and never stopped.
While signing in to my beloved Beach Club, Cast Members Hazel and Hanane greeted us like old friends, running over to Zac, who was handling our check-in, with a warm hello and to see which room we were given. Had we last been there two months ago, it still would have been impressive, but the fact of the matter was, we hadn't been there since 4th of July, 2002. Thirteen months earlier.
I was amazed.
I have trouble remembering from moment to moment where my keys are, not to mention one person's face in an endless incoming sea of others. It went way beyond the DVC's "Welcome Home." It was more of a "Welcome back, we missed you."
She Who Must Be Obeyed (Zamgwar's wife) requires a constant supply of tissues to keep the continuous allergies she endures in check. (She's been sneezing since first we met. I live in constant fear that she will some day find out she's actually allergic to me.) Upon entering our room she proclaimed our tissues "sandpaper" and marched downstairs to purchase new ones. There were no boxes of Kleenex for sale, just packets. Packets would not do.
Packets are like shower cap in a typhoon.
Julie, a Cast Member at the register, apparently suffers the same fate my wife does and GAVE my wife her own personal box of Kleenex from beneath the counter. My wife was impressed. Her nose was grateful.
In Magic Kingdom, at the Winnie-the-Pooh attraction, the cell phone rang of the Cast Member who asks "how many?" He answered it, looked at my wife, and without dropping a beat said, "It's Tigger, and it's for you." He then put the phone back to his ear and said, "She can't talk now, Tigger, she's on her way to see you right now."
While I was preparing to take a picture of my much better half in front of Tower of Terror, another Cast Member stopped me by warning, "Wait, you're taking the wrong picture! I can fix it." He took the camera, pushed me next to my lovely bride, and snapped.
Then there was the waitress at Tony's Town Square restaurant. She Who Must Be Obeyed counts Weight Watcher points. She wanted spaghetti. Viewing the Mt. Vesuvius of pasta that erupted on an adjoining table, she sighed and told the waitress she would just have salad, because the spaghetti serving was "just too big." When the waitress returned with the salad, she also placed a child's portion of spaghetti in front of my wife and whispered, "Mickey counts points, too! This one's on him."
At the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, the loading CM saw my anticipatory smile and said, "You have front seat, front car written all over your face," then placed us in the front car slot. It was during "Fantasmic," so the wait was short, and we decided to ride again immediately. Upon entering the queue again, the CM spotted us entering the queue and announced, "I need two right now for the front seat, front car. You two will do!"
In fact every single Cast Member we encountered the whole five days added a bit more Magic.
The bell hop that brought our bags. The security guard who provided our DVC resort guest windshield pass. Karen W., the fabulously funny weekend bartender at Martha's Vineyard Lounge in the Beach Club. The ticket booth clerk who validated our annual passes. The waiter in Boma. The waitress in France. The hostess in Norway. The landscaper who took time to tell everyone about the challenges of maintaining an outdoor train layout. The bus driver who picked us up in the rain and kept us laughing. Last but not least, the wonderful folks who were the cartoon characters brought to life around us. It is all these wonderful people, and thousands more like them, who continue to bring people back again and again.
While there is Magic in Disney World, I'm not exactly sure it lives there. Perhaps the phrase should be, "Walt Disney World: Where Magic WORKS."
As I've always said, "Walt only created the Mouse -- it's the people who make him real."
That's My2Cnts! What's yours?
Office of Jobs Well Done
The Zamgwar Institute
Don't miss Zamgwar's other articles for ALL EARS® http://allears.net/btp/zamgwar.htm
Speaking of Guest Columnists...
Have you ever read something in ALL EARS® and thought to yourself, "Hey, I wonder if they'd like to hear what I have to say about Disney World?"
Well, of course we would!
If you're a regular reader of ALL EARS® you know that each issue includes a feature article that provides a more in-depth look at some aspect of Walt Disney World -- often it's an informative restaurant or resort review or perhaps an interview with a guidebook author. But sometimes we run an opinion piece or editorial looking at something uniquely Disney.
We know that that some of you have a LOT to say about WDW. Since we are always looking for Guest Columnists for the newsletter, we'd like to invite you to submit a column for publication.
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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.