Disney World turned this Chicago man into a five-year-old boy

Disney World turned this Chicago man into a five-year-old boy

Disney World recently turned me into a five-year-old again.

We were visiting my son in Orlando, and I was finally going to go on “Rise of the Resistance” and “Flight of Passage.”

I’m not going to talk about the rides themselves, because I really do believe that everyone who wants to — should have the chance to experience them for the first time… as the first time.

I know I’m glad I waited and avoided reading articles or blogs, or watching videos of the rides beforehand. It helped turn me into that child more easily.

First, “Rise.” My son had stressed with me ahead of time that it’s an “experience,” not just a ride. That it is.

Going on it turned me into a teenager again, with all its excitement and energy. And it is possibly one of the most complex rides I’ve ever seen, which was just plain cool, or in the vernacular of my teenagehood, “boss.”

Then, we went on “Flight of Passage” the next day. Again, I knew very little about Pandora at Animal Kingdom and the ride itself.

Standing in line turned me into a nine-year-old, as I looked at what I believe is the best queue the Disney Imagineers have ever created in the U.S. (I haven’t been to the international parks). With Disney, the details are always amazing. But the “Passage” queue has details IN the details.

Once we settled in and were waiting for the ride to start, I felt my heart beat faster, my breath quicken, and my palms actually get sweaty.

Finally, the ride began and all I’ll say is that it turned me into a five-year-old. I literally felt wonder, which when I checked “Webster’s” dictionary later, is described as “rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience.”

Yep, that.

At several points during the ride, which again felt more like an “experience,” not only did I get goosebumps, but at one moment, my eyes actually began to well up. Yes, somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I believe that’s exactly the emotional effect that the Imagineers were looking to create.

And, really, isn’t that the power of Disney? To not only give children a sense of wonder, but adults, too, by helping them see through the eyes of a child again.

And I’d be willing to bet that, at some point, when Walt was walking along Main Street in Disneyland in the early morning hours, thinking about how it all started with him wanting to create a place for his daughters — and, by extension — all families, he’d sometimes get goosebumps, possibly a lump in the throat as he’d look at the storefronts, and when he’d slowly look up and see the castle… maybe a tear or two.


(I’d highly recommend that anyone who has Disney+ watch The Imagineering Story. It shows just how passionate and talented these people are — and how committed they are to creating moments of wonder for everyone who loves Disney.)


Contact me at james@jameswarda.com and learn more at jameswarda.com.

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