24 December 2012

Where the lovelight gleams

Christmas in Walt Disney World, and I’m talking the day and week surrounding it, not the season that begins in November and runs smack dab into January, is seen by some as the most horrific time of year to visit the resort. It is, without question, one of the most expensive times of year to venture to the Vacation Kingdom, but it also happens to be the only time of year many families can work out schedules to be there together. It has been many years since I spent Christmas, or one of the adjoining days, in Walt Disney World, but I can tell you one thing, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

You can tell me all the stories you want about the advent of Christmas, from solstices, pagan celebrations, and being halfway out of the dark season, to Bethlehem and the stories of Pere Noel, Father Christmas, and Santa (and FYI, I most certainly do believe in Santa Claus, but that’s a tale for another day), but that isn’t why we still celebrate the holiday. You can also lecture me on commercialism, the burden of cooking, baking, buying, and gifting, but that isn’t the holiday I see. What I see when I look at Christmas is a time to take pause, take a deep breath, and share a bit of ourselves with those we hold near and dear to our hearts. Whether they are family or the friends we’ve chosen to take up a special place in our hearts reserved for family, they are the people we truly want to be with during this time of year.

Walt Disney World allows us to come together in a safe and friendly space to share the company of our loved ones. When you head to Walt Disney World at Christmas you are not, or at least you should be, thinking that you are going to hit every attraction in the guide map, and you know there are going to be long lines for even the most meager of attractions. But it doesn’t matter, because you are laughing and sharing stories of “Remember when…” with those you are with. Sure there are special meals to be had and entertainment to share in, but those aren’t going to be the times that are going to make lasting memories. It is your brother downing ten cups of Beverly, Your sister swooning over Gaston (even if only for the photo), and it is the feeling you get, at the end of the day, maybe during a parade, a meal, a fireworks show, when you take pause and remove yourself from the conversation long enough to look around, smile, and feel a warmth spread from your heart to every extremity you have. Heck, it may even bring a small tear to the corner of your eye.

You don’t go to Walt Disney World at Christmas to experience everything the parks and resorts have to offer, you go because you and your kin share a love of the place, as if it were the old family home, or to begin a new tradition. You go with your family, or as many as can make it, and you carry the rest with you in your heart, because you want to share this place and this moment with those you love.

Christmas is about the people you share it with, no matter where they are. In Walt Disney World at Christmas, you may see some jostling and some grumps in the mix, but I’m willing to bet you will see more hugs, more smiles, and more sharing than you see in a park, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, at any other time during the year. Christmas in Walt Disney World is a gift, but you can’t put it in a box or put a bow on it, but when you are there, arm in arm with those you love, you realize the gift you are sharing is unique.

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