A boy’s dreams. Ideas of what could be and what was – disappearing all too soon from everyday life as he knew it – watching it vanish like a shadow in the length of the day.
A passion for trains, a love for spending time with his family. A gift of creativity, happiness and joy that touched his mind, heart and soul, and for generations from around the world, ours as well. Walt Disney, with the able and often overlooked help of brother Roy, created a household name, a place of rekindling youth and bringing about childhood delights – no matter your age. Walt Disney World was his gift to us, and on the eve of it’s 40th anniversary, signs are starting to show that the celebration is ready to begin.
Take a walk through the stores at the Walt Disney World Resort and along side 2011 gear and plenty of Mickey, Minnie and Goofy faces laughing back at you, find them subtly starting to take their place: merchandise reflecting this 40th anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World just outside Orlando, Florida.
My first visit – my family’s first – was in December of 1971. The park was a mere three months old, my brother Cary 9 months. I, a whopping 4 years old, met the main Mouse in his very own house is something I don’t remember outside the photo that sits in my living room, yet it sparked in me a love of Walt Disney World and Florida that I treasure every day these four decades later.
I’ll be picking up a few items, my way of remembering. Perhaps something with the original tickets – who can forget the ‘E’ Ticket? I do love this baseball – it’s a great way to play and remember the ultimate place where play is alive and well every day. There are a couple of shirts and sweatshirts I’ve got my eye on.
Whichever one of these items I decide on, whichever ones I bring home, they will only be a physical representation of something so much more; a place created on a dream so that others dreams could come true – with generations from around the world sharing in the joy of a laugh at a Mouse, a memory of a spiel in a favorite attraction, the smiles on the faces of those spying the Castle the very first time.
For whatever our ills in the world, whatever the tarnish that time has placed on our earth, our creations, our own minds and souls, it is in one magical world where all that washes away as easily a leaf on the surface of a river, as quickly as breeze carries a breath, as effortlessly as a wish for better days, as much a promise for what could be as what he has created.
This year 40 years of magic, dreams, laughter and promise are celebrated – while 40 more years are only the beginning of what could be.
Thank you Walt for making your dream come true, and showing the rest of us that our’s too are but a wish away…