It took me 27 years but I finally made it. I finally made it to the Happiest Place on Earth–Disney World that is. I’m sure people have had terrible trips to Mickey’s hometown, in fact I have heart the accounts of a few. However, mine lived up to it’s name better than I thought it ever could. As I walked through this magical place I wondered how it got this prestigious title. With around 52.5 million visitors annually, it is the most visited attraction in the world. But is it it that attracts all of these visitors? I took a stab at answering that question.
One of the main reasons that Disney World has acquired this title, I believe, is the customer service that is shown to the visitors. The people that work there and the incredible detail that goes into every aspect makes each person feel not only welcome, but at home. Customer service has always been a part of my professional life. I have studied it at length and have been through countless training classes and seminars regarding this topic, so I have a pretty thorough understanding of what it takes for stellar customer service. Walt Disney World (specifically the Magic Kingdom where we visited) does an incredible job of making sure that, though there are millions of visitors, you feel special and create beautiful memories. The first thing I noticed on our visit was our “first visit” button we received at the ticket counter. With these buttons each of the workers asked us how our first time was going, welcomed us to the park and a few even asked if there was anything they could do to make it better. Each person regardless of where they worked, whether it be a character or a cook, treated us kindly with a joy that poured out of them. To be greeted with a smile wherever we went and see the happiness that each of these workers had was contagious. Though this seems like an insignificant gesture, it shows when someone truly enjoys what they do and makes for an exceptional experience.
Besides the amazing customer service, the precision, detail and exuberance each of the rides, attractions, and events makes you truly feel like you are in a far off magical land. Life can be overwhelming sometimes and to escape reality into a different world is just the medicine we need to regroup. Disney World allows us the chance to escape. It allows us to see world from the eyes of a child, to see life before it became too hardened and complicated. To be in a world filled with genies, talking elephants, fairy godmothers, wizards, mermaids and countless other mythical characters. To see the world as a magical place where anything could happen. The creative thought behind making each experience memorable carries on the legacy of Walt Disney better than even he ever could have imagined.
Finally, the resort was built around stories that all have happy endings. I believe that everyone, whether they choose to admit it or not, hope for a happy ending. It is this hope that Disney inspires, cultivates and creates. The hope that we will live a happy life. The hope that our days are filled with laughter and imagination. The hope that the dreams we have as a child will eventually come true. Though there will always be struggles and obstacles that may temporarily stand in the way of our happiness, our hope remains.
Though it took me 27 years to make it to, what I now believe, is The Happiest Place on Earth, I think I appreciated it much more as an adult than I ever would have as a child. And sometimes as adults we need to be reminded of three truths that Walt Disney World has a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) way of encouraging:
1. It’s ok (and recommended) to act like a kid every once in a while.
2. There is constantly magic in the world.
3. Happiness is fostered by sincerity, kindness, imagination, magic, creativity and overall, hope.
“Trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”-Walt Disney