Simple living and Disneyland… Really?
Surely what I actually mean is that it’s simple to:
- spend a lot of money at Disneyland
- come home with a suitcase full of plastic souvenirs and mouse ears after a few days at Disneyland
- have an emotional meltdown before breakfast at Disneyland
But no. Last month we visited Disneyland for the first time as a family and it was magical. It was tiring and occasionally overwhelming for all of us, but magical. And what I found most interesting was how much I learned about life while we were there.
Yes, I learnt how to avoid patented Disney Store meltdowns. Yes, I learnt that the mint juleps at the French Market Restaurant are exceptional, and only made better by the beignets also sold there. Yes, I also learnt that Martin Luther King holiday weekend was not a wise time to visit.
But the biggest lessons? Well, they were somewhat more surprising and apply to a great deal more of life than five days in Anaheim.
1. Slow down to enjoy the details
One of the things I loved about Disneyland was the depth of detail. Lining up for rides never felt boring because there was always a hidden Mickey to find or a tiny, delightful detail created simply to capture the imagination. If we charged through the park, never taking the time to look closer, we would have missed so many of these tiny, delightful details. A lot like life really.
2. Explore and go deeper
Take a different route, go against the crowd, ignore the guidebooks, toss the maps and see what you stumble upon. Some of the best experiences in life come when we don’t take things at face value. That applies to people, places, thoughts and assumptions. And Disneyland.
3. Embrace your inner child
Skip, run, jump in puddles, ride the rollercoaster, laugh loudly, get lost in the fantasy. Those experiences that seem so vibrant as a child are available to adults too, you just need to embrace it.
4. Be content in the moment
It’s easy to fall into FOMO – that constant fear that whatever is happening over there is better than what you’re experiencing. That line is shorter, that parade is more exciting, that food looks tastier, those seats have a better view, they’re having more fun. Let it go and look a little closer at what you’re doing. Really put yourself in the moment, soak it up and be content.
5. It’s OK to check out when you’re not feeling it
We all get tired. We all have low-energy moments. We all think maybe we will lose our minds if we have to hear that freaking song from Frozen one more time. It’s OK. Take a moment, take an hour, have a rest, opt out. We’re not designed to go and go and go forever, and it’s perfectly wonderful to check out sometimes. I may or may not have rested my eyes on a bench on Tom Sawyer’s Island when I really wasn’t feeling it.
6. Look after your spine
Slightly more practical in nature, but this lesson is vital to your enjoyment of both Disneyland and life in general. Particularly if you find yourself carrying a lethargic 4-year-old around for great lengths of time. So, look after your spine! Future You will thank you for it.
Happy Monday, friends.