Sat all too far away from the action right now, I have been watching the 40th birthday celebrations with interest in WDW. The Magic Kingdom, being probably the most appropriately named venue on the planet, has this week reached forty years old. I wonder if it is possible to calculate the amount of birthdays that have been marked, celebrated and enjoyed within the boundaries of the park?
Having helped countless others make their birthdays special, it is only right I felt that I take this chance to wish my friend a Happy Birthday. What is slightly depressing though is the fact that the Magic Kingdom is just ever so slightly younger than me! I do not wish to hold that against it though, as it has brought me countless joy over the years, from my first ever visit at the age of ten, to watching my girls discover the magic in 1999 for their first visit, right up until present day, with two girls at the very cool ages of 16 and 14 still telling me they’d rather go there than anywhere else for their holidays.
This is some spell the place casts, that it can appeal to such a diverse audience, and mean so much to so many. One of Disney’s greatest skills I feel is their understanding of demographics, and how to structure their entertainment to ensure there is something for everyone, all the time. On a recent trip, we had my parents with us, and we had been able to book one of the first Wishes Dessert parties. Having of course eaten far too many desserts than was wise, we were then treated to the pinnacle of every magical day in this magical place, and were again, astounded and delighted with the quality and wonderment of a Disney fireworks show.
Shortly after this drew to a close, I was stood with my Dad, an old fashioned working class northerner, waiting for females to restroom, as we tend to do a lot, and neither of us could really speak. This was for many reasons, but primarily we were both too emotional!! My Dad had just had nearly forty years of Disney memories replayed in front of his eyes, and seen the childhoods of his two boys represented in the music and magic of Disney. Add to that his five grandchildren, and the memories of watching them discover WDW, and we both “had something in our eyes!”.
Being British, male and not prone to massive displays of emotion, we managed a knowing look, and a hand on the shoulder, before turning away from each other to save making fools of ourselves. This mixture of nostalgia, absolute top notch production values, and an absolute understanding of their audience is powerful stuff, and for me, and I’m sure many others, the Magic Kingdom represents all of this in one place.
I have enjoyed almost every element that Disney has to offer over the years, some on and many off the more familiar tourist tracks, but nothing compares to the Magic Kingdom. Still countless trips in, we have to start the holiday with a walk up Main Street, to visit our memories, and of course create some new ones. Via music, smells, scenery, superb shows, and rides that never change, but at the same time just change enough, it delivers a potent cocktail that I have yet to have enough of.
Enjoy your birthday my friend, I have enjoyed growing up with you, and look forward to the many years to come when we will visit you again, remember the things we have enjoyed with you in the past, and see with interest what new peices of magic you are yet to deliver.