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Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Disney Experience - Part 1

I may have already let it slip in my blog somewhere that I am a huge Disney fan.  I bring this up because we recently went to Disneyland and created some enduring wonderful family memories.  What does Disney have to do with my family tree?  Well, probably not a whole lot except that Disneyland is approaching their 60 year anniversary coming up in 2015.  It does represent a piece of living history.  It also has truly become a huge part of our culture and many share this experience in the United States.

Looking back over my family photos, I see Disneyland here and there.  When I look at others' family photos, there's Disneyland or Disneyworld.  In my own children's lives, they have experienced a Disney Cruise or two.  One hundred years from now, will Disney still be around?  Let's hope so!  It will be reflected in many family histories from this time-frame.

I am amazed how much Disneyland looks the same and yet has changed some since I was a child, a teen, and a young adult.  Every time I step foot onto Main Street U.S.A., I feel the rush of the "Happiest Place On Earth".  It is an attitude set in motion by a man who's spirit still lives on in this place.  Walt Disney's legacy is really quite amazing.  Even the most serious adult can feel like a child again.  That is what its all about.

Now, I must admit that the days of complete politeness, manners, and courtesy of people have dwindled some.  I witnessed people cutting in line a bit for the rides and people just not minding their P's and Q's.  However, considering the day, age, and everyday attitudes of people in 2013, everyone was quite wonderful at the park.  Our pin shop experience was quite the example that people still teach their children to do good deeds.

Collecting and trading pins has become quite a big deal for Disney fans these days.  Children and adults alike walk around with lanyards around their necks that are pinned with Disney characters or other special pins relating to the overall Disney experience.  Some of these pins are quite sought after while others are just for fun.  It really is all about the fun but the trading experience brings about fellowship and community with people who share a common interest but are strangers for the most part.  

I took my family into the pin shop in Frontierland to look at the pins and trade with the cast member (Disney employee) working the front counter.  Cast members are given a set of pins to trade.  In the pin shop, it is a whole wagon wheel that you can trade one for one.  My five year old was really getting into the thrill of the trade and finding some special pins to her liking.  She traded a few and then ran out of what she was willing to trade away when she spotted another pin that she wanted.

As we were trying to convince her that we were done in the pin shop, a young girl gave my daughter one of her pins to trade for the pin that she wanted.  This young girl did not want a pin in return.  She simply said that my five year old could trade it and get the pin that she really wanted.  This young girl did this without hesitation.  She was probably about eleven years old.  My five year old thanked her and so did I.

After we walked out of the shop, I pulled my five year aside and said that someday she should do the same. Good deeds like that should not go unnoticed.  I explained the concept of "paying it forward".  My five year old is still working on absorbing that concept.  She is grateful and still talks about the pin trading even today.

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