Understanding The Disney Obsession
Article and Photos by Florida Diva
We all know one. That person, who by all appearances, seems to be a normal, functioning adult, but when it comes to anything Disney and especially a trip to that well known theme park, they revert to a giddy and abundantly enthusiastic child. Or so it seems.
So what’s up with this breed of people? The ones who don’t feel the need to have a young child with them in order to catch the latest animated Disney flick. Or the middle aged couple who actually have Disney themed accessories in their home. Just what is it about a cartoon mouse that feeds this seemingly juvenile obsession?
Well, let me explain as best I can.
To be honest, it’s not about a preference for the animation style, or some unresolved need to relive our childhood. For most of us that are Disney fanatics, it’s about a lot more than the material paraphernalia. It’s a cultural thing.
Our love for Disney is rooted in the kindred spirit we find in Walt himself. His optimism, his love for sharing imaginative concepts and his desire to create a place built on the simple idea of spreading cheer. We admire the tenacity he had, his ability to vividly share his visions with others that were able to then bring his dreams literally to life; and most of all, his desire to share this dream that he had with the world.
So many people think Disney is about commercialism, and, for those that aren’t captivated by the concept and ideology, this is the reality of Disney. They see it as nothing more than a version of a giant advertisement for a product that their children will beg them for tirelessly, until they cave. They see Disney through the eyes of a consumer wrapped up in theme parks and pricey souvenirs. But a true fan sees Disney through the eyes of an explorer, a philosopher, an artist and a pilgrim.
Does a historian balk at the cost of a trip to Egypt? Does a marine biologist think twice about building a life around the sea and its inhabitants? Does anyone question their pull towards a concept that makes sense to them because they have a deeper understanding of its intention? No. All these acceptable examples are simply pursuing an interest, idea or concept that makes sense to them.
For those of us who are Disney obsessed, its really nothing more than a connection through an appreciation and understanding of the idea and concept that Walt was trying to capture; and, in turn, share with the world. The place he imagined brought him so much joy, peace and happiness that he became obsessed with being able to share that magical place he’d envisioned with everyone.
Those of us who are Disney fans, not only do we get what he was aiming for, but we cherish it and seek to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere, culture and magic he created. We have a deep appreciation and gratitude for his belief in whimsy, the innocent spirit of happiness and joy that we’re all born with but somehow lose along the way in our journey toward adulthood. We, like Walt, believe in the power of a song, and its ability to show us the world in a positive and uplifting way. We believe that magic exists in the world around us, if we only stop long enough to see it; and we believe that good triumphs over evil when man pauses long enough to listen to his conscience. We believe that dreams can come true if you only persevere and most of all, that there is still plenty of good in the world.
Disney, to true fans, is way more than a place to get souvenirs and see fireworks; it’s a reminder to never give up, to be strong in the face of adversity, and to keep smiling; because for dreamers like Walt and us, this ideology is real and has the power to make the world a better place.
That’s what that famous mouse truly represents.