Have you ever tried to help people who don’t “get” Disney to see it through your eyes? The attempt can be daunting. Perhaps your spouse is starting to make those unwelcome hints about going somewhere “other than Disney” for once this year. Maybe you’re trying to convince your mother-in-law that Disney World would be a truly great place for next year’s family reunion. While you certainly don’t have to justify your vacation choices to your co-workers and friends, it’s nice to feel understood. But how do you explain Disney?
First and foremouse, consider your audience. A campaign t-shirt might not be the most subtle way to get your message across, but whatever works! So, sport your “Disney Life, Happy Wife” or “Mickey Mouse, Happy Spouse” logo. If it’s your spouse or someone very close to you, the best way to communicate your Disney feelings to them is going to be tears. Yes … cry! Probably you already do. These aren’t crocodile tears that are being recommended — but real tears! Picture it – your car or Magical Express Bus is approaching the Welcome Arch. There it is!! Crowned with the shining castle, topped with bright pennants, bolstered on either side with Mickey and Minnie, arms outstretched (they are SO happy you are finally back right??). How many of us pass under that arch and fail to shed a happy tear or two? Here’s the thing. Some people make the mistake of surreptitiously wiping away those tears, perhaps feeling embarrassed by them. No, no no. Make sure your significant other sees them. (It’s not as though the tears are not 100% genuine. THEY ARE!) Choose this moment to turn to the love of your life, happy tears on your face, and say, “Thank you, honey!” And that’s 100% genuine, too. We Disney folk are truly grateful to the family members who keep coming back with us. (The tears just help ensure they continue coming along … forever.)
With the reluctant grandparent or in-law, practicality rules the day. Impress them with your knowledge of Disney discounts. Show them there are affordable ways of doing Disney. Tell them you have the best travel agent ever, and Mouseketrips will get the best deals – whether it’s a smaller family group or a huge reunion of kith and kin. Talk about value resorts and how much fun the theming is. (Introduce them to the concept of various upgrades after they’re hooked). There is nothing nefarious about this. If they don’t come to Disney with you, they may be missing out on the experience of a lifetime – and memories you and your family will all cherish. Explain that the winter months are going to be best for seniors when it comes to Walt Disney World, as they can avoid the punishing heat – and of course if their home is in the north, the Florida sun and palm trees offer powerful persuasion. If you visited Disneyland or Disney World as a child, get out the photos! Wouldn’t it be fun to reproduce some of these poses with the grandkids??
We Disney people are very comfortable with superlatives. Disney is the “most magical,” the “happiest place on earth.” To us, these are statements of fact. We know them intellectually and feel them in our hearts. But to people who’ve never been to Disney, our superlatives sound like hyperbole. So avoid such expressions. Be sure not to use insider acronyms (admit it – you know them all!) or Disneyesque terms like “cast members.” Try to talk about Disney a little dispassionately. And again, consider your audience. People who don’t “get” Disney may have developed a negative response to seeing other people go again and again. Maybe co-workers or (so-called!) friends are – down deep – plain old envious of your trips to see Mickey Mouse. Maybe their childhood dream of being taken to Disney was never realized and the disappointment left a scar – even if they’re not even aware of it! Perhaps they deserve our compassion rather than our censure at their failure to understand why we keep going back to Disney. A gentle explanation, delivered with diluted enthusiasm, might best help them to see your point of view. Talk about California and Florida weather, lovely landscaping, beautifully clean and maintained properties, friendly people.
And of course, the best way to a person’s heart is sometimes through their stomach. Talk about Disney food! Decades ago, comedian Dave Barry wrote about buying a hamburger near “Salmonella’s Castle” at Disney World. There are people who (very) wrongly continue to assume that all Disney offers is greasy or undercooked counter service. Tell your boss or co-workers that Disney has some of the highest rated dining experiences in the world: Victoria & Albert’s, Citricos, and Jiko are all on Zagat’s Best of the Best list for Orlando (and are only a few of many other fine dining locations at Disney) while Napa Rose and Carthay Circle are just two of the stand-outs at Disneyland Resort. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words – and maybe you just happen to have a few of your favorite Disney dishes recorded for posterity on your smart phone. Show your boss a photo of an artfully decorated entree from Flying Fish or Yachtsman Steakhouse. Maybe you have a photo of the handcrafted charcuterie board from Artist Point or a display of cakes at Amorette’s at Disney Springs, a plate of crispy Tonga Toast, a Kitchen Sink from Beaches & Cream. The mouth-watering food might just cause them to rethink their bias and lead them into the heart of Disney. They may find that what they come back for is the magic!