It Is Magic

April 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Ruda Tovar

The crowd gathered slowly but with purpose, it was a small intimate amount of people.  We were the ones who had left early, the ones who stayed late enough for some of the night festivities, but not the grand finale.  Above us, the sky was dancing with the lights being cast into it.  Bright reds became blue, yellow turned to green as the night-sky was painted by the fire from below.  The exploding circles transformed into spiraling clusters of light, almost teasing the clouds for being so static.  I understood why people stopped and watched, why it felt so good to just stand there and look.  After all, this was Disney World.

That’s right Disney World, the place, better yet the culture synonymous with childhood, fun, and fantasy.  At least, that’s what they want everyone to believe right?  Right.  When I was a kid I watched Disney movies. Who didn’t?  What’s more is I watched them not because all my friends did (which they did), I watched them because my parents had and they passed the torch to me.  That’s how long Disney had been at it, since my parents were kids and even before that.  So it was no surprise that I came up watching Disney, that most of my friends did, and that pretty much everyone sub-consciously accepted Disney—anything to be one of the great backdrops to American life and more specifically childhood.  Now I had a child, a boy who had been exposed to those same movies.  To be clear: My wife and I never made our son watch Disney, we never made him watch anything, we didn’t need to.  Disney is everywhere. They can afford to be, their annual revenue routinely exceeds $30 billion dollars a year.  With money like that and a legacy that’s interwoven into “regular life,” Disney will probably have a part to play in the lives of my grandchildren.

Yet, all of that aside, here I was knee-deep in the Magic Kingdom, watching my son have the time of his life.  You could see it on his face, on the face of every non-screaming, non fit-throwing kid: All of this is for me.  All of these rides are for me, all of these little stores with toys and fun are for me, and all of this ice cream and cake is for me! That’s what my son was thinking; that’s what the other kids thought and that was the “magic” of Disney World.  I too got a little lost in the sauce.  This trip brought back memories of my own adventure into the realm of Disney more than 20 years ago.  I went with my Dad. Iit was just the two of us and all the fun a kid could conjure up. I drank that trip up with fervor of a hurricane and here was my son doing the same thing. Granted he didn’t know all of the characters, the movies, or the story of Disney, I’m not sure he’s ever seen Mickey Mouse cartoons, but he knew enough about some of the newcomers to have his literal day in the sun.  So my wife, her parents, and me, we did it all.  The long lines, the Florida sun beating down, the screaming babies who were trying to say “SYSTEM OVERLOAD,” and the screaming kids who were actually saying “SYSTEM OVERLOAD,” we waded through it all and came out as unscathed and intact as one could wish for.  As for my son, he was perfect.  I don’t use that word often when it comes to describing him or kids in general, but this time it’s the only one that came to mind, perfect.  He behaved well, he never argued, he didn’t fuss, he stayed with us, and he did it all with a huge smile on his face and the kind of enthusiasm we only see in kids.  I’d like to chalk this up to extraordinary parenting on behalf of my wife and I, but realistically this was the calculated design of the Disney World creators, at least the intended result.

As the night fell, we watched the sensorial buffet known as the light parade. Afterward we left immediately. As we exited the tram towards the parking lot shuttles, we stopped and gazed up at the sky, captivated by the distant booms and radiant spreads of light eclipsing the dark.  My son was dripping with a sensation, a feeling, it covered him, and if I stopped thinking about him, it would have covered me just the same.  That feeling is something distant to most adults: being young and having your mind filled with possibility, with an unknown future full of possibility.  Even if the kids don’t know it, they “know” it, it’s there swelling inside of them waiting for words and thoughts to express it.  That was the honey-like gel dripping from my son as the end to a “perfect” day was manifesting itself above us.  If there were ever any doubts as to the “magic” of Disney World, they were rapidly disappearing like the stars erupting over our heads.  I, as the part-time misanthrope/full-time adult still had a hard time grasping all of this, then my mother-in-law asked my son if he was enjoying the fireworks.  He turned to her and with the warmest of tones reflecting the joy permeating his body replied: “Those aren’t fireworks, that’s dreams come true.”

Comments

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!