Having put it off for some time, last weekend we finally succumbed to the attraction that is Disneyland Paris.
I have to confess that I can’t really be doing with large crowds and lengthy queues... life’s too short and they always seem to bring out the worst in humanity. However, it was the right time for the kids and a break in France was attractive.
Of course, we had a fantastic & exhausting time but this is not a review of Disneyland Paris. What I’d like to share are some reflections from the journey about the different “worlds” we inhabit...
Walt & Mickey are clearly the kings immemorial of Disney. In the park, Walt stands proudly on a pedestal welcoming visitors telling us this is his kingdom, his creation. Alongside him and throughout the park appears Mickey. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that Mickey wears the crown in Walts World.
Yet they play very little active parts in the rides and amusements. They are more like a standard or a symbol of what you can expect to experience. A standard and ethic that is visible everywhere saying loud and proud “This is who we are and this is what you can expect from us!”. You may not get a sense of the Disney organisation but you do get what you came for.
In Walts World they are the Masters of Delivery, providing pleasure on tap at a price.
Belgians are mad. Not my viewpoint but those of two lovely Belgian journalists we had dinner with en route at this fab hotel. Apparently, their Royal Family with the exception of the King are an embarrassment. There is no decision making government in place. The country is irreconcilably divided along French (Walloon) and Dutch (Flemish) lines in a perpetual stalemate.
Does all of this matter? Not really. The country ticks along fine. The journalists have something to write about. Tourists still come for the architecture, beer, chocolate & diamonds. The European Union makes them significant. Nothing is likely to change anytime soon.
In Walloon World they live happily, knowing that they are broken but unable to change.
In the UK we like to think that we are considerate and fair. Yet regardless of nationality, when faced with the prospect of photographing their kids with Mr Incredible some parents turn into right Wantwits.
With no queue or ticket, they give themselves permission to thrust their kids to the front. It’s OK to trample others to pursue your own cause. A photo with a faceless actor, who is wearing a costume of a character from a cartoon, is more important than showing your child how to behave.
In Wantwit World only the selfish survive living off momentary & meaningless gratification.
OK, here’s the confession... There were rides that the kids wanted to do that both us parents were scared to do. On some occasions the height limits saved us, on others the 100 minute queue dissuaded everyone. However, you can’t always run away!
Together we tried different rides and attractions, learning what was fun and how little was in fact scary. We stretched ourselves and learnt together – you can read more of my thinking on this here. We trusted our sense of adventure and were not disappointed. We found wonder in our shared experiences.
In Wonder World unforgettable trust reigns. New experiences & difficult journeys are shared. Fears are overcome.
*Image by Wysinger at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons