For as long as I remember I have been in love with Mickey Mouse. As a child my father would tell me stories about Mickey Mouse while we were driving to our cottage. In the 8th grade I did a school project on Walt Disney and Walt Disney World. I was totally fascinated with Disney World from that moment on. I wore Mickey on my clothes, have a collection of watches with MIckey on them and started collecting all sorts of Mickey items. I can’t even remember how many times I have visited Disney World. I have been going there for 32 years … sometimes even more than once in a year.
My children love Walt Disney World and my grandchildren associate me with Mickey Mouse. So what has happened?
Today I decided to sort out my collection of Disney pins. I just started collecting these pins two years ago … started with one of the Beach Club .. special edition showing the Christmas carousel. I saw the chocolate masterpiece for the first time in December 2009 when my son Adam and my granddaughter Emily went to Disney with me. My husband was to come but pinched a nerve in his shoulder the evening before we were to leave and he decided to sty behind. The trip was magical. My granddaughter discovered the “fun” rides. My son came out of his shell … the three of us laughed, screamed and discovered things together. I needed this holiday … just prior to this holiday I found out I needed surgery right after Christmas. It was a holiday to remember .
The next year was one of the worst years of my life. My annus horribilis. I lost much that was dear to me … never to be whole again.
At the end of the year I talked my husband into doing the trip with us again in December. Again at the last minute he cancelled. This time it was myself, my daughter Amanda and my granddaughter Emily. Again … it was a perfect holiday. We laughed, played … delighted in the Christmas atmosphere … sang Christmas songs and I felt myself turning a corner … however the year of loss had changed me. I looked around at all the happy Christmas carollers and felt a sense of emptiness. I wanted to feel that Disney magic again … the sense of wonder and discovery … the feeling of childhood joy. I was beginning to lose it.
In May 2011 I went to Disney World again with my oldest daughter and her family. My husband came along this time. Unfortunately it was hot and we were tired from tax season. While there were moments of happiness with the family generally I felt tired and worn out. My husband did not enjoy the holiday and I felt his displeasure with it everyday. I began looking at my beloved Disney World with a jaded eye … began to see the flaws, the crowds annoyed me and I could hardly wait to leave.
I was desperate to reclaim my feeling so I booked another Christmas holiday. My daughter Amanda, my husband John, stepdaughter Laura and granddaughter Emily came. We stayed at my favourite resort, concierge level … I planned everything. Favourite restaurants, wanted to attend the Christmas candlelight show, I researched all the different Christmas events and wanted to share it with my family. The holiday started out badly … we pull up and my husband waves away the welcoming staff. Instead of the Disney welcome I ended up having to go out and search for someone who could help us get to the proper level. Once in the room everyone was complaining … it just went downhill from there. My granddaughter totally ignored me and hung out with her mother. There were bright moments … my beautiful daughter Amanda made me laugh, included me on the rides and hugged me when I was down but generally it was just a so-so holiday.
My daughter and her boyfriend wanted to go to Disney in September 2012 so we planned a holiday. I had thought it would be a romantic one with my hubby …. Amanda and I talked about renting a boat to see the fireworks at night … I wanted to do all the adult things there with John. Unfortunately John decided not to go so Adam stepped in. Then Adam brought his girlfriend. Suddenly I became the fifth wheel. A romantic setting and I was the outsider. I went through the motions on the rides … there was nothing there for me any more. Just emptiness. It was not anyones fault … my children tried to include me but my I just couldn’t get into it. I felt I was getting too old for the rides (even though I still love Mission Space) and I was tired of all the walking from place to place. I was almost content to just sit and read in the garden of the hotel. It was so beautiful, peaceful and calm there.
Is this part of my evolution? Does this make me happy? Do I want to get the magic back? Do I want to feel that childlike wonder again? What do I do with my Mickey collection? Do I box it up? Move on?
Or do I evolve? Do I change … rediscover my beloved Disney on an adult level? Do I try and find the same joy discovering the corners of the world, trying foods in the different countries, watching the fireworks with the one I love? Or do I close the old door and bolt it shut or open a new one?