It’s the Happiest Place on Earth…

Recently I visited Disneyland with my younger daughter.

We were away for two weeks and had an absolute ball. But the thing we remember most and still talk about is how we FELT while we were at Disneyland.

Disneyland California is really like no other theme park. Ask people who’ve been about their visit and they’ll tell you how they FELT first and what they thought of the park second. And what’s more, they’ll tell you how they FEEL even months after their visit.

It’s been four months since our visit but I still keep thinking about our four days there and the feeling of absolute and utter joy, something this old gal hasn’t felt for a very long time.

It got me thinking. Why is this joy so hard to find that we need to go to a theme park to experience it, and god dammit, how do I recreate this feeling at home, because its pretty bloody expensive going over for a fix every 12 months!


Now let me tell you about the ‘Disney Effect.’

Major corporations and businesses talk about this… a lot. Essentially it means that the level of detail that Disneyland goes to create this magical world means it has to run like clockwork, down to the last coffee cup in Starbucks on Main Street. Disneyland is famous for it. The profuse sense of detail on every single ride, house, character, restaurant, garden, aesthetic… everything down to the very last detail is considered. The effect is one of ‘sense of place’ and the feeling it generates is one of total happiness and unity.

When you walk through those gates, you enter a world of absolute certainty, a world class planned environment – the perfect offset to a crazy, chaotic world. A place you can go and truly relax and escape reality, a place where you feel reassured that everything is going to be all right. A difficult feat considering the state of American politics right now!

The order of the place or ‘Disney Effect’ as it is known, rubs off on people as they move around because it is so effortless. People are ALWAYS smiling, talking to one another and shockingly, actually polite to one another. We did not see one cranky Disney staff member. Not one! And we spent some seriously long hours in the parks. The complete order and natural flow of the park rubs off onto everyone (apart from toddlers unfortunately).

I gotta admit, we saw some pretty crazy things in there. Whole groups of families wearing identical t-shirts saying things like ‘Clarke Family Vacation’ or ‘Williams 2016 Christmas’ or individually named t-shirts such as ‘Mom’ ‘Dad’ ‘Grandma’… or ‘His Beauty’ and ‘Her Beast’. And every single one of those family members were smiling. Smiling I tell you!!!!

And then there are the mouse ears. There are ears in every colour combination, style, fabric, size and price. And EVERYONE wears them, even husbands, SMILING HUSBANDS!

I lasted a day before I got my ears. In that environment it seemed almost sacrilegious not to have a set on my head, so of course I brought three sets, plus three t-shirts (as you do).

Walt Disney believed that people were decent, that his park could bring out the best in people. Because the Disney Effect isn’t just a parkland filled with rides and mouse shaped food on sticks, it’s about the feeling it invokes in you when you are at the resort and, more importantly when you get home and move around your day-to-day life.

As I reflect on our visit, I can recall the absolute Joie de vivre I felt in the park. I try and bring that into my everyday life.

Clearly not everyone can get to Disneyland. And really you don’t need to. Disney have starting doing it for us.

Disney have recently started remaking all of their animated classics. Beauty and the Beast is their latest movie and in its opening weekend was a global box office sensation. It debuted to a majestic $A454 million during its first weekend in theatres and earned a towering $170 million at the US box office, setting an incredible five box office records. It is the seventh biggest opening of all time, behind the final Harry Potter film and the biggest debut for a female-led film.

When Olivia and I saw it at our local cinema, it was a full house with narry a child to be seen. Yes that’s right, testament to the Disney effect was a v-max theatre full of adults, desperate to get that Disney feeling and take some home with them. Ask anyone who has seen the movie and they’ll tell you how it made them FEEL.

So what can you do at home to recreate the Disney magic?

  1. Hold a Disney movie marathon with your friends
  2. Google Disney park recipes you can make at home
  3. Go as a Disney character to your next fancy dress party
  4. Hold a party with a Disney theme and invite your friends
  5. Install the Disneyland app on your phone and reminisce
  6. Check the ride times on your Disneyland phone app and see how long the wait for your ride is, almost like being there.
  7. Incorporate Disney lyrics into your everyday conversations, perhaps even a bar or two of your favourite Disney song?
  8. Look up YouTube videos of all the Disney rides and pretend you are waiting in line.
  9. Print out your favourite Disney park photos and create a photo montage
  10. Start planning a trip to a Disneyland park, you know you want to…

The last word goes to Walt Disney, who created the happiest place on earth…

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

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