This post wasn’t really planned, but after I was asked AGAIN why I’m going back to Orlando when there are so many beautiful places in the world to visit, I kind of felt compelled to write the words down on paper.
Because the truth is, there are lots of couples without children in their 30s who love Walt Disney World just as much as we do, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I can very clearly remember the first time I stepped foot in Magic Kingdom. I was 17 with my family; my mum who worked harder than any woman I’ve ever met, my dad who spent every working day trying to keep the house in-tact so my mum didn’t have to worry about cleaning when she was home, my brother who was six years younger than me with very different interests. We were a strong family unit, but when we were at home, we all had different things we were focused on.
Then we arrived in Orlando and it’s like the rest of the world fell away. I turned from a boy-obsessed moody teenager to a sweet girl desperate to get lost in Disney films again, my mum left work behind and instantly looked less stressed, my dad got excited over riding the rollercoasters and my brother and I bonded over our love of McDonald’s fries and water rides.
Because Walt Disney World is a place where people of all ages can truly escape. Where they can forget about the jobs that make them stressed, relationships that cause them pain and cleaning that hasn’t been done.
The second you walk onto Main Street you can’t help but be transported to somewhere else. Where the air smells of popcorn, the buildings are freshly painted and brightly coloured, the sun is (usually) shining, kids are screaming over the sight of Mickey Mouse and absolutely everyone is smiling.
It’s difficult to get that feeling and not want to experience it again and again.
This is no more pertinent than it is to people like us. People who are beyond the carefree years of their twenties and rapidly reaching the ‘you need to settle down right now’ age of their 30s.
Let’s be real; salaries are stagnant, house prices are astronomical, we’re about to leave the EU, kids are getting killed at music concerts and fucking Donald Trump is leading the most powerful country in the world – there isn’t really much to feel hopeful for.
But at Disney, all that disappears. Sure, you’re still slaving away at a job that hasn’t seen more than a 1% pay rise in the last five years, but you kind of forget about it. When I go on holiday to an all inclusive in Spain, it takes me a good few days to start putting work to the back of my mind. At Disney, it is instant. From the moment I step into the hotel, I’m completely taken away and immersed in the Disney way of life.
Times are tough, but at Disney, it’s really bloody easy. The pressures of buying a house, having children before your ovaries stop working, putting money away for your pension, doing your managers job for half the pay – they all become mere memories of a time when your biggest stress wasn’t how quickly you could get to Flight of Passage in early magic hours.
As for those of us who spent time there as children, there is a great feeling of nostalgia whenever we pass through the Walt Disney World sign. My dad is no longer with us, and I don’t remember him much happier than he was on Tower of Terror or Big Thunder Mountain. When I go back, I can’t help but think of the fun times we shared in Orlando together.
And surely that’s why thirty-somethings go to Walt Disney World, because it’s there that we spend the best quality time with the people we love. And if we want to escape the reality of our world at Disney, then why the hell shouldn’t we.