I am thankful for Disney. Like most 80s babies, I grew up with the Disney renaissance. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King were all an integral part of the soundtrack of my childhood. My sister Kelsey and I would hours pretending to be Disney characters, attempting to construct costumes out of the odds and ends in the dress up box.
We took our first trip to Disney World in 1998. We packed up the van, and made the drive from Maryland to Florida in one day. The van only had one bench seat in the back- that meant there was always a girl in the middle seat ready to inadvertently touch or breathe the air of one of the adjacent girls, which was bound to happen in twelve hours of driving. But it was worth it. We were able to see the sun rise on Daytona Beach and then we arrived at Disney World.
Space Mountain was my first roller coaster- I can remember still being apprehensive but thinking, "What could be cooler than a ride through space?" Going through each land felt like stepping into another world- something I had always longed to do with the books I read. Disney's attention to detail and dedication to preserving the magic were things I didn't notice until later, but are definitely what made my first DW experience wonderful.
When my sister Kelsey attended the Disney College Program and had a blast, it didn't really occur to me to do the program myself because I was on the right track to finish my double major in four years and I didn't want to interrupt my studies, but when I was facing graduation and facing the prospect of "the real world" I found out that recent college graduates could attend the program if they applied before graduation. So I did and I spent a wonderful nine months working for the Mouse.
I was a character attendant and it was perfect- I worked with the Power Rangers (my 9 year old self was sooooo jealous), I could go to what ever park I wanted whenever I wanted, and I was able to see behind the scenes, which you would think would ruin the magic, but it actually added to the fun to be able to see how the magic was made and especially to be a part of it. I would still be there now if they had hired me full-time, but the job market was looking bleak and no one was leaving. Maybe one day I'll go back.
From my Beauty and the Beast pillowcases (which I only use when all the rest are in the laundry...), to the tape of me singing "Part of Your World" when I was four, and the anticipation of the look on my little brother's face when he sees Mickey for the first time, I am thankful for Disney.