In ten days we will be at Walt Disney World, getting ready to ring in the New Year at the Happiest Place on Earth. We will, of course, have a lot of company, and I have written in the past about what the parks are like during this busiest week of the year. Yes, we know what to expect….and still we choose to go then, even though things would be much calmer, less crowded, and we would see/do a great deal more if we went at another time.
So if we know all this, why are we making a conscious decision to visit at this time anyway?
Well there are a couple of reasons. Partly it is because if we want to experience the wonderful Holiday atmosphere at Disney World as a family, this week is our best chance to do that, due to our daughter’s college schedule. And while we don’t go at Christmas every year, we try to visit at this time of year every few years if we can….and we miss Disney World a lot on the years that we don’t.
But there is more to it than that.
Honestly, to me, there is just no better place to say good-bye to one year and welcome a new one. There is something inherently hopeful about Disney World that makes people, no matter their age, believe in that happily-ever-after that seems so elusive in real life. And when that is combined with the hopes and dreams that everyone has when a new year begins, well it makes Walt Disney World a very special (and yes, magical) place to ring in that New Year…despite the crowds, and the noise, and the lines…..
And I have to say that my feeling about this somewhat stems from personal experience.
In 2003, just a few days after Christmas, my wonderful father was diagnosed with leukemia. He ultimately passed away just a few weeks later. During those weeks, as we struggled to comprehend and deal with this tragedy, we also struggled to provide care for my mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease. My dad had been her primary caregiver, and the loss of my dad took its toll on her health as well.
Not to overly dramatize the situation…I’ll just say that the New Year’s Eve that we observed that year was heartbreaking.
As the end of 2004 approached then, we were prepared for our Christmas season to be a difficult one, filled with some very sad memories. But we didn’t want to focus on the sad, we wanted to say good bye to that horrible year, and bring in the new one, in a way that focused instead on looking forward. We wanted to create new, happier memories…and we realized that for New Years, it was important for us to be someplace other than home.
The one place that we knew would help us create happy memories was at Walt Disney World.
So that year, New Year’s Eve 2004/5, we celebrated the holiday at Disney: we watched that terrible year end, and welcomed the start of a new one in a way that truly honored my parents, who always believed in the importance of faith, and belief, and hope, and optimism.
Always at its best when helping to create happiness, Walt Disney World remains for us, a place to focus on the joyful, the special, the hopeful, and the promise of something better. And that is why we are looking forward to ringing in the start of this next year in the best place we know to do so.
Wishing you and yours the most wonderful, magical, and hope-filled Christmas and New Year!