Why Walt Disney World Matters

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When I tell people what I do for a living, I get one of two reactions: “That’s a real job?” and “That’s a real job!!?”

It may not seem like there’s a difference — but those exclamation points are important. You see, the first response is usually accompanied by side eye and disbelief, and not in the excited way. In more of the “Who would watch/read that?,” or the “Are there enough people that even care about Disney World for that to even be a thing?” type of way.

Trust me — I can’t believe this is my actual job. It seems like it isn’t real. It feels like a dream but I’m incredibly grateful that it is.

Which, if we’re being perfectly honest, I’ve asked myself the same questions. How is this a job? Why do so many people care about Disney? Why is the Magic Kingdom the most popular theme park in the world when it doesn’t have the biggest thrills or newest technology (even compared to other Disney parks)? Why do people spend thousands of dollars and go back year after year?

Why does Walt Disney World matter?

The real answer is that Disney World doesn’t matter… except that it does. (Stay with me.)
From a purely logical perspective, some might say Disney World doesn’t matter. It’s incredibly expensive — the ultimate definition of a luxury. It’s not crucial to our survival like healthcare. And beyond that, it’s crowded, hot, and complicated. You spend hours in hot lines to ride 90 second rides or wave at a parade or hug a “mouse.” So why is my inbox full of people asking when they get to go back?
Magic Kingdom
That’s the easy part of this question, and it can be summed up in one word.
Disney World matters because of JOY.
You can hear it every time Tinker Bell flies during the Magic Kingdom Fireworks or Mickey appears on the mountain at the end of Fantasmic!
Mickey in Fantasmic!
You can see it when a grandmother with a first visitor button sees the castle for the first time, or when a toddler in a toy story shirt hugs his hero — the REAL Buzz Lightyear.
My nephews meeting their hero, Buzz!
I’ve been lucky enough to experience this joy — as a guest, as a guest relations cast member, and now, as a Disney blogger.
When I worked for Disney I met hundreds of families, from guests celebrating a 60th wedding anniversary to a young family who just found out the husband was being deployed. I met Make-a-Wish children. I met couples that got engaged on Space Mountain. I met mothers who just beat breast cancer. I met families celebrating perfect report cards, adoptions, 16th birthdays, and remembering loved ones.
Tinker Bell flying during Happily Ever After
As a blogger, I’ve been messaged by families surprising their kids with their first visit and couples going on their honeymoon to Disney World. I was once stopped by a family who watched our videos while Dad was getting dialysis treatments, because planning their Disney World celebration was what gave them something to look forward to during a scary time.
There’s a reason all of these guests, who are celebrating everything from life’s hardest triumphs to its everyday moments come to Disney World. It’s joy.
Dumbo
Those parents waiting in line for an hour to take their kids on Dumbo? Their parents did the same for them 30 years ago and they still remember it — and they hope some day their kids grow up and take their grandchildren on the same elephant.
That father who waited in line for an hour in Norway? He’s never going to forget the look on his daughter’s face when sees Elsa.
Meeting Elsa in Norway
No matter who you are, we all come to Disney World for the same thing. We escape reality and make memories with our friends and families. Joy is found in the grandest fireworks shows and the first bite of a Mickey bar. It’s in the first trip to the Briar Patch or a haunted hotel — and those moments after where you can’t stop talking about it. Joy is found in forgetting the real world and simply spending time together in a place that gives us hope, happiness, and pixie dust.
The iconic Mickey Ice Cream Bar

So no, Walt Disney World isn’t the most important thing to worry about while the world continues to navigate this unprecedented time. And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter when they reopen.

But when the time is right I’ll be there, ears on, ready for a little magic — and a lot of joy.

 

Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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26 Replies to “Why Walt Disney World Matters”

  1. Molly, you are absolutely correct about why Walt Disney World matters. I am hanging on to happiness knowing I have planned trips to Disney this year. I had the pleasure of meeting you in February, and you are as wonderful, relatable and personable as you are in your videos. Thank you for offering a ray of sunshine during a cloudy time.

  2. It’s weird. You see an article like this in your social media feed and think it’ll be a nice way to kill a few minutes. 5 minutes later, you are still ugly crying, remembering all of the happy memories that Walt Disney World has brought. We took my mom for her first trip in January, and I honestly wasn’t sure if she would like it. It was great to look over during Festival of Fantasy to see her waving at Mickey and the gang with just as much joy and gusto as the little kids around us, or to see her rush up to watch the castle show, or ask us if we could stick around to watch “Move it, Shake it” a little longer. The world is a scary place right now, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot to feel hopeful about. Maybe that’s why Disney World feels more important than ever (even if, in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t) – it makes people happy and makes you feel like everything is going to be ok. I can only speak for myself when I say that the world is going to feel like a much better place when I can go to bed that there is a Disney park open somewhere in the world. Even if it isn’t in Orlando, and even if I won’t be able to go, it’ll make me feel a lot better about the state of things when I know that somewhere in the world, people are having fun at Disney. Until then, I’ll have to get my Disney fix in by re-watching AllEars videos and mentally planning my next Disney adventure. Thanks for a great blog, Molly, and for all your great videos.

  3. Thank you Molly for the wonderful piece. I have been going to DW since they used tickets for the attractions. Got my wife hooked on our honeymoon, and have been taking kids ever since (and now grandkids). But the most important reason is my youngest daughter. Her first trip was as a Make a Wish kid, not certain if she would survive a necessary surgery. She is 33 now, and since the first visit, Disney and everyone involved have given her a vacation experience she never forgets every time. Characters stop where ever she is and say hello. She rides EVERYTHING (though some take some doing as I need to transfer her over), but always worth the effort. WDW is the only place she can do anything everyone else does, and it means so much to myself, my wife and her siblings. This year was going to be therapeutic again as another major surgery and the recovery after nearly did her in. She lost 25% of her body weight (from 82-60 pounds), but was promised a trip if she would eat. We are up 10 pounds and coming now in December (were originally scheduled the end of May). You are right, Disney is Joy. It brings out the joy in life, and our hope is the necessary changes coming to re-open don’t take away from that. Knowing Disney, they won’t.

  4. There go’s Molly carrying on Walt’s spirit. Molly is the best, we watch her video’s all the time. Pushed our trip back two times already, and hope to see the “Mouse” and “Molly” in June, or soon after. More article’s and video’s please!

  5. You have captured the magic and reason we go over and over. Thank you for saying so beautifully what so many of us feel.

  6. Wow! Spot on Molly! I was teary reading this, but reading the comments just made me break into a full cry. Perfect article 🙂

  7. MollY Walt Disney would have loved you because you hit it right on the nose. DW is filled with Joy and thank you for this wonderful piece.

  8. MOLLY, MOLLY, MOLLY so TRUE. Disney does matter!!! (True there are other important things, but there needs to be JOY also!). It has now become a tradition in this family that this Granny takes you on your first WDW trip when you turn five. OH the Joy! Oh the anticipation! for me and my grandchildren!!!!

  9. This is wonderful, you are wonderful, Disney is wonderful! I’ve watched your Question and Answer video and loved it, too. My question is, what other jobs have you had and how do you think they prepared you for working with allears.net? Thanks for all you do!

  10. Thank you. I’ve been planning my family’s first trip this November since November of 2016. It’s been the thing keeping me going, working so much and saving money a little bit at a time. When I got tired or down, I’d open up my Disney travel blogs or books (or spreadsheet) and play around with the planning. The last few days, knowing that the trip I’ve been planned for coming on 4 years just isn’t going to happen the way I imagined it, have been rough. It feels stupid to be so depressed about something that doesn’t actually matter. But like you said, it’s the Joy that was taken from me. Reading this at least made me feel less crazy, maybe a little hopeful.

  11. Such a beautiful piece! You hit it dead on, it is pure JOY that Disney provides. In these uncertain times it is the certainty that Disney will be there that allows me to stay positive.

  12. Loved this! Every bit was true! Disney is always on the mind so thank you for helping bring joy into our households every day!

  13. From the Red Scare in the 50s to this virus and everything in between.

    I get asked why I went so often over the years. And my answer was, name one other place you can take kids from 3 to 16 that’s better, other than the great outdoors. Seeing the little kids so excited is priceless, how can you put a dollar value on that ?

  14. Thank you so much (trying not to cry)! You put my thoughts into words. People ask me why we love Disney so much and visiting the parks. I cannot always express it in a way, but a close friend once told me to stop trying as he could see the reason on my face. I am hopeful for our June trip but also know that if it doesn’t happen there will hopefully be future trips. We are blessed to travel so often but also make travel a priority. It is one way our family connects and planning future trips is how we get through tough work weeks some times. Disney is not perfect, nor was Walt, but they stand for something that is missing in day to day life. We are Disney people and love that there are so many of you out there too.

  15. We should have been there this Saturday……hopefully we will be in October….and you have it absolutely right….the reason we are lucky enough to have been there multiple times and the reason we hope we get there again……joy….we need that always, but now more than ever!!!!

  16. What a great piece of written art! Walt Disney and the whole company matter because if every single word you wrote. My family and I religiously watch all things Disney because it is our escape and a way to smile at past, present, and future trips. We always invite my parents and it is something the grandkids will cherish for years to come. Thank you to EVERYONE at Allears.net,Molly and the whole team, y’all keep us wanting more. Great Job, “A Great job” indeed!!! I hope we meet y’all when we get there in August!!

  17. Beautifully written! Disney embodies that pure happy feeling! The nostalgia of it all is what I love too ! I can’t wait to go back!

  18. Great article Molly! You said it best! Disney sparks joy! I went to Disney as a kid with my family and we had the best memories shared there together.

    Going to Disney after my mom passed away has helped me grieve her loss and seeing my kids enjoying Disney with me and my husband has made my heart smile.

    Our trip in March was cancelled due to the virus, but we look forward to rescheduling it for the future.

    Thank you for all your videos and blogs. My 5 year old daughter and I watch your videos each time they are released.

    Thank you for sharing the joy of Disney!