If the Disney Parks Were Seasons
As summer approaches (though it feels as though it’s been summer for a month here in Georgia!), my heart aches more and more for the moment I can skip down Main Street with a giant iced Jamaican Me Crazy from Joffrey’s coffee. While summer isn’t typically when I visit the parks, it is the season leading up to the most magical of times for yours truly and when my countdown to the ‘see ya real soon’ signs officially begins. We all have our ‘must dos’ ‘first dos’ and some of us even have a Disney bucket list wherein we check one or more items off of each vacation making our Disney adventures nothing short of magic. This new and albeit, much different approach to enjoying the parks and beyond has inspired me to be more like the seasons and change/accept change for the good of the galaxy and all of us who inhabit it. Let’s take a cue from all of the brilliant imagineers at Disney as well as a page or two from our own Disney nostalgia book and explore the four seasons in the Walt Disney World parks!
Winter in the World Showcase
Epcot may be blooming with gorgeous topiaries during the spring festivals, all a buzz (literally) for Flower and Garden and full of visual magic for the aesthetically pleasing Festival of the Arts right before spring, but to me, Epcot and the World Showcase is for the Festival of the Holidays! Aside from the delicious comfort foods, the magical cookie stroll, and the gorgeously festive decorations, is the culturally rich entertainment of the festival all around the World Showcase. The Story of Befana in Italy makes me daydream of my Italian ancestors tucking their littles into bed on Christmas Eve with this story (and proud that my heritage honors a lady Santa!). Mexico is a non stop fun Christmas celebration, and Canada, Festival of the Holidays or not, always reminds me that Shania Twain is Canadian!
Spring Into Life at Animal Kingdom
The trees, plants and flowers are blooming, new life is being brought forth, and the Tree of Life has more meaning now than ever in the Animal Kingdom! Spring time is such a special season in this park. In addition to all the new baby animals taking up residence, the park comes alive even more so at night! The noises in Pandora almost sounds like springtime crickets, and the animals in the Kilimanjaro Safari are still cool enough to find a shady spot for guests to catch a good glimpse of them close to the trail. It’s cool enough to survive without feeling suffocated. And if you do get warm, Kali River Rapids is there to cool you off!
Beat the Heat at Hollywood Studios
Nothing says summertime like Hollywood Blvd! I always feel like such a star when I enter this park. Something about it just screams summer and sun dresses and lemonade and it isn’t just the Florida weather. With three sons orbiting the planet, there couldn’t be a better spot for Batuu, either! Not to mention a trip to Andy’s backyard will have you waxing nostalgia of your childhood summer vacation play dates with your adolescent buddies. My absolute favorite thing to do on a hot summer day in the studios? Grab a creamsicle from the ice cream cart in front of the Chinese Theatre, wait for the First Order March and withhold the urge to fling yourself at Kylo Ren like a sixteen year old girl at Shea Stadium in 1965.
Falling for the Magic Kingdom
Spooky season, the best of all the seasons! I have been obsessed with Halloween since I was old enough to understand what the holiday was, and typically have three to four costumes in rotation to showcase from August to the 31st of October. Magic Kingdom is almost indisputably the most festive park out of the four, going all out for the big guys like Christmas and Spooky season, to the bank holidays and even Valentine’s Day and Easter. There is something so overwhelming about walking down Main Street USA and seeing the first peek of a Mickey pumpkin on the light fixtures as well as the hidden Disney themed decorative pumpkins on top of the shops on Main Street. But nothing can compare to the lighthearted spooky-ness of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. From the eerie color change of the Castle, the Jack and Sally meet and greets and the otherworldly ambiance of my beloved Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom has taken the bar for all things spooky, autumn, and delightfully creepy and set it on a pedestal too high for any other celebration to compare.
As we all scan the globe, our hearts and even our favorite brands and entertainment for some sense of normality and understanding in uncertain times, I know that Disney will be there to grant us just that, and like the seasons, change accordingly for the good of humanity and Mother Earth. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t emotional about what is to come for my happy place, but I implicitly trust every single cast member from the smiling guy or gal who provides me nourishment on a hot day at the quick service stations to the ghost hosts who makes my tour of the Haunted Mansion the perfect blend of creepy and delightful, to the brilliant imagineers who have brought Uncle Walt’s magic to the table. Adapting to and even embracing change is what Disney does best and I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a fan than I am at this very moment.