It's kind of fun to do the impossible
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Disney. Where all your dreams come true!
Welcome to the idea of Walt Disney.
Disney Land is a special place in every child's heart. It is a place where dreams come true, a land of magical adventures where anything, and everything is possible. When you visit this place your heart is filled with excitement and joy! You live out your wildest dreams. There is mystery and magic around every corner. Life is grand in Disney Land! Your dreams become your reality. Fast forward a few decades, you are an adult now. You have responsibilities to tend to, you have planted a garden, you have nestled your roots, maybe you have children of your own. When you think of Disney Land what comes to mind? Has your perception of the once magical awe-inspiring place changed?
This morning I posted a status on facebook asking people what they thought when they heard "Disney Land". I was expecting this.....
"a large power hungry profit driven corporation".
Surprisingly I also received this.... "magical, clean, timeless, excitement, adventure, endless possibilities"..... Thank god. They are both correct. Disney is a corperate money making machine, rich off our dreams. And Disney is a magical place, rich in wonder and possibilities.
Let's face it, much like the wonder that is Disney, our dreams have aged. In some sense they have become ugly, tainted with power, money and greed.
Our idea of Disney Land is different from when we were a child, we have a new perception. A more realistic approach to the once magical kingdom that is Disney. No longer blinded by optimistic ideologies, we see the world for what it really is....We see you Disney. We see through the glitz and glamour, and we question it.
My point, is when did we catch on? When was it that we stopped seeing the world through the magical eyes of a child? When did we grow up?
Walt Disney built his forture on an idea. The idea that dreams really do come true.
For a moment, let's imagine.....
The original idea of Disney was born in 1955 by Walt Disney. As Walt sat at a bench watching his daughters play at a small amusement park he observed people's reactions to different rides. He noticed the children's parents had nothing to do. They would grow anxious to go home, while their child were still having fun, and playing. Had we forgotten how to play? "Walt Disney had a vision. It was a vision of a place where children and parents could have fun together. The more Walt dreamed of a "magical park," the more imaginative and elaborate it became." ***** www.justdisney.com
This is where Walt was conjuring. He would build a new type of amusement park, one where children and their parents could play together. A place where everyone was welcome, a playground for all ages. A place where no matter your age, dreams came true.
A place where the adult you, would meet the child self. You could say Walt was a dreamer, Disney Land was expensive and elaborate. Walt once said "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible, because dreams offer too little collateral." He had many obstacles in his way. To create a place where anything, and everything is possible, would take everything and anything he had in him. It was not going to be easy.
In 1955, a mere 12 months after construction began Disney Land was open to the public. Opening day was a disaster. A 15 day heat wave raised temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to a plumbers strike few of the water fountains were operating, asphalt still steaming only being laid the night before. After opening day, the heat wave continued and almost destroyed the park.
Against all odds, Walt Disney's dream lived on. The park did eventually pick up and by 1965, ten years after opening day, 50 million visitors had come through the gates.
I can only imagine opening day with Walt. A frantic, chaotic mess of a man with a dream. Having investing everything into one idea, this had to work. There was no back up plan, no safety net. Thousands of people relying on him and his work. And yet, Walt never gave up, and his dreams became his reality. I have a special place in my heart for the person that, against all odds, makes their dreams a reality. The simple act of doing it, makes all the difference.
"the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs founder of Apple
Besides the fact that Disney Land is now a billion dollar franchise that many of us adults no longer visit as a "happy, healthy place" (maybe we are envious, I personally would kill to live in a castle there), there is an important life lesson here. Walt's idea of establishing communal grounds between parents and their children is a lesson many of us have forgotten. We most relate to children when we play. I respect his vision of unifying the old with the young, a gentle reminder to play on the playground, no matter the age, no matter how silly you look, just play.
On June 19th 2015, Walt Disney Pictures released the animation film "Inside Out". The emotional truths presented by Pixar and Disney in this film present phenomenal life lessons. Again, revisiting the child self and the many "firsts" we experience. The film's leading lady is Joy (the emotion of Joy inside her "persons" brain, her person is called Riley), followed by Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.
"A girl named Riley is born in Minnesota, and within her mind, five personifications of her core emotions— Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger—come to life. The emotions live in Headquarters, Riley's conscious mind, where they influence Riley's actions and memories via a control console. Her new memories are housed in colored orbs, which are sent into storage at the end of every waking period. The most important or "core" memories are housed in a hub in Headquarters and power five "islands", each of which reflects a different aspect of Riley's personality." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Out_(2015_film)
Riley's core memories as a child shape her personality as she ages into her adolescence youth. Is this true? What are some of the first memories you can remember? Do they reflect the person you are today? Have they shaped you, whispered hopes and dreams to you throughout your life? Have they guided you intuition in the choices you make today?
The core memories from my childhood have shaped me into the woman I am today, writing this. So what does "Island Ideology" have to do with Walt Disney's dream of Disney Land?
I have a strong belief that as we age, we forget about whom we were as children. We forget about the magic within, the magic of imagination. We forget about our first dream, our first disappointment, our very first desires for what we wanted out of this life.
How many times have you heard an adult say "you're just a kid! You do not know any better!" It's partially true, they do not know any better. That is the beauty of it. As children we dream because we want to dream. We believe we can be anything we want. We dream without fear of failure, we love without fear of being loved back, we play without fear of falling. Walt's idea of creating a safe place for both the child and adult to play and Disney's idea of core memories shaping who we are and what makes us happy, are speaking a very similar language. "Listen to the child self, they know you best. More then a phase, this is the first sense of self you have ever known. The self that knows you best. Everything they are has shaped us for whom we are today. Do not ignore them, they deserve every breathe gifted in their direction" The more attention we give to the child self, in both ourselves and our community around us. The more we can understand what makes us, unique. The more we can love ourselves, the more we can breathe easily into the person we are. The more we can learn to be the greatest version of ourselves. So I ask, what are your islands? When you were a child what was important to you? Has this changed as you aged? Have your island crumbled and rebuilt? For better or worse? When I was 12 I studied gymnastics, and I loved it. I remember the day my gym teacher told me I could not continue practicing. I was too tall, it was a waste of time. The practice was not going to benefit me in the years beyond my school days. I never realized how heart broken I was until I started practicing circus. I had been deprived of something I loved for 8 years. Now living my life in circus, I argue that I did know best. The confused gym teacher that told me otherwise did not believe in me. But I believed in myself. That is all that should have mattered. I am living proof, a 12 year old knows what they want - regardless of what is appropriate or logical. Without gymnastics I sought out other ways to release tensions in my life. I started using drugs when I was 14. I was losing my innocence. I was angry, my potential was fading away.
If someone would have listened to the little girl that wanted nothing more than to swing around the high beams, my life would be very different. I was living my life realistically, I had no future. I saw no potential for myself. I was fading away.
There was no Disney Land. Not all of these core memories are happy ones. I did not have a "family island" because until recently I never had a family. I never talked about my problems at home, I tried my best to ignore them. I cried myself to sleep. Only now do I realize that by acknowledging this little girl, she is allowed to heal.
It has taken me years to dissect every inch of the broken child, the men that abused her, and who I was before the shift of perception took place. It will take a lifetime to fully understand how these core memories power my various personality traits. I am not looking for a pity party. What I am trying to say is that by revisiting the child self I find a space to heal a broken heart. To discover who I was before my perception of the world was... shit on.
Ever so often, visit this space. Visit the person you were before your garden was ever planted. Visit the seed before it was ever nurtured. Visit the soil in which you would one day flower from. Visit the person that "did not know any better".
Visit the idea of Disney Land. Visit the idea of a more collective self. A community within.
And when you visit this place, remember.
Remember the fearless child who played on the playground. The child who would run until they could not take another step, the one who would fall down and always get back up. Remember, they are still with us. In every breath we take, in every moment that passes. Our childhood dreams trickle through our lips, it is our choice if we chose to speak of them. We live in a world where dreams do come true. We live in a world with magic and wonder around every corner. We live in a world where the choice to be happy is a choice. Every day you wake up and have the choice to move forward in the direction you see most beneficial.
If you are not sure about this space, and have not been there in quite some time do not worry. I have good news.
There is a door to this place. The door will take you to a very special space. This place is found within each and every one of us. They say the door will take you to your very own Disney Land. A place where you are free to live without fear. A place where every choice you make is the right choice, and the impossible is entirely possible. This door is found within your heart. I can not help you find this door.
But there is someone who can. You.
And if you get lost and need a friend, there is a smaller yet much larger version of yourself that would be more then happy to help. You just have to ask. "Hey child self, would you let me in?" Remember, dreams really do come true. Remember, a life without limits.
Remember...... And they lived happily ever after.....
In Search of Circus, My Disney Land.