By some strange alignment of the stars, I’ve managed to visit Tokyo Disneyland on both my trips to Japan, but missed the childhood rite of passage that is the (American) Walt Disney World vacation. Last December I was finally able to fix that when two of my friends and I spent a fun-filled week together at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Now wait, some of you might be saying, why would three adults (without children) want to go to Disney World? I’m sometimes told it’s childish to still love Disney at my age, (I like to call it “young at heart“) but I think I enjoyed the parks as an adult even more than I would have as a kid. Or at least in a different way. Instead of focusing only on the rides, even just taking in the gorgeous scenery, the enormous amount of detail put into every piece of each attraction, felt like an adventure. My Disney-expert friends pointing out the hidden Mickeys and other secrets scattered about made it feel like I had joined in on a treasure hunt. (And of course once we got on the rides, we enjoyed those too.)
I also found myself greatly enjoying the character meet and greets, especially with the various Disney princesses. Each one had their own unique and authentic way of interacting with everyone who approached them for autographs or pictures. (Did you know each character has their own unique signature? You can even collect them in special autograph books. Learning this, my brain, trained from years of Pokemon, decided that I would have to “catch ‘em all” someday.) Even though I know they are actors, as a cosplayer, I appreciated each encounter as the ultimate in bringing my favorite characters to life, which is something I enjoy doing as well.
But the most magical thing about the trip was that we were having so much fun, we forgot for a little while that we were a few heads taller and a few years older than the other kids in line to see Cinderella or ride the Dumbo ride. We had fun anyway, without feeling self-conscious… and we saw other adults right along with us, clearly embracing their inner child. This is what vacations should be, I’d thought to myself. A chance to feel like a worry-free kid again, caught up in the magic, is the best kind of de-stressing there is.
Not even a month has passed since my return, and I’m already thinking about when I can go again. Maybe next year the lines for the newest princesses, Elsa and Anna, won’t be quite as long, and I can complete my princess autograph book!
Start planning a trip to Disney–whether it’s your first or your 100th–using our travel guides, or read about other people’s adventures at the parks through some online blogs. Embrace your inner child and enjoy some Disney movies and music, or other Disney stuff here.