Many people scrimp and save in order to be able to afford a vacation to Walt Disney World. Often times, these trips may be something that they dream about for many years and, in turn, these vacations become once in a lifetime experiences. This is why I tend to overlook grumpy parents or jostling groups of guests pushing by me, because I know I’ve been given more than my fair share of opportunities to be able to visit Walt Disney World, to the point that I can slow down, notice details, and impart them to others. More and more, however, I’ve begun to find myself soaking up each experience with more of that sense of urgency, as if it might be my last opportunity to enjoy it.
This is due in part, I believe, with the fact that I am not as young as I once was and recognize now that what I have in a trip to Walt Disney World is something special that shouldn’t be taken for granted. In my youth it was all about having fun and finding the biggest thrills, or hanging out with friends and taking silly photos. Although it is worth noting that the silly photos part has never ventured too far away from my core though. I understand that one illness or life change could greatly impact my ability to partake in all that the Vacation Kingdom has to offer. Call it seasoning or becoming wiser with the passage of time, but I do think that plays a role in how I view my time there.
Secondly, and perhaps the most important, is the fact that Walt Disney World is in a constant state of refurbishment and expansion these days. While nothing typically closes without some sort of notice, the lead time given to shuttering attractions, such as Universe of Energy and The Great Movie Ride last year, is not typically long enough for most people to get a trip set-up to visit these experiences one last time. While I highly doubt things like Space Mountain or the Jungle Cruise will be closing anytime soon, I would have been willing to put The Great Movie Ride in the same category last year, which makes me wonder if any attraction is ever really safe.
To Walt’s point that nothing is ever really finished, I think that’s fair, I think we should look to each attraction as a limited time opportunity. They should be viewed as something to be treasured in the moment that we have it, because even if it doesn’t vanish entirely, it could always be changed. The fleeting nature of attractions, and the constant speed with which technological advancements are achieved, make them experiences to capture our memories of because we never know when or where the next refurbishment might come.
My last thought is perhaps the most important, and that is who we are with when we visit and make memories. I’ve said it before, but a meal at Walt Disney World is so much less about the food itself than it is about the company I share it with, and that goes for any attraction, parade, show, resort, or any activity within the parks and surrounding areas. I have fond memories that I cherish of friends and their children, children whom are now teenagers. An idea I struggle to wrap my head around constantly. I can remember touring a specific park or area with a near and dear friend who isn’t as close to me as they used to be, not for lack of want, but just out of time and effort. There are memories of my family members that I can never recapture. Even my wife, who has been by my side for almost every visit over the past fifteen years, isn’t the same person she was on those first visits. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just what time does to all of us.
My point is, if I have a point, that Walt Disney World changes just as we change, and that is the only constant in this world. We may have one visit a year, a week, or in a lifetime, but that doesn’t make each trip any less unique. When you’re visiting or vacationing, let the attractions and experiences offered to you seep into your heart and mind, you never know if you’ll have the opportunity to take part in these offerings again. More importantly, take time to really capture the moment of who you are there with. These are moments you are going to cherish one day, so the more you absorb those flashes when they’re happening, more the more real and vital your memories will feel to you later. Above all, just make sure you’re enjoying what you have when you have it.