If the Internet has done one thing, it’s made us more aware of the world around us. No longer are we insulated by ignorance. And frankly, it’s not easy being happy in a world where so much is wrong and so many suffer. But we have to try. We have to take time out and walk in a different direction every now and then to clear our minds and escape reality. Or at least, I do.

My greatest reality is my wife and daughters. They’re also my greatest escape. They insulate me from the things that the Internet lets in. Next week we’re going to Disney World. The ultimate insulation, as it turns out. Some people take their kids back to places they grew up. But neither my wife nor I have places like that to return to. My family is scattered and fragmented and so there’s no familiar old house to visit where white-haired people sit around on front porches shelling peas and talking about the old days. But what I do have is Disney World.

I grew up in North Florida and was seven when WDW opened. We were there a week later and returned many times over the years until we moved west when I was thirteen. I’ve since visited fairly regularly – to see the same stuff over and over. But somehow, it’s never the same experience. Whereas once WDW represented a magical place for my fertile imagination, it’s changed over the years to a place where I see that same magic sweep over my own children.

For me and my family, Disney’s a complete getaway. There’s no way I can go there and still worry about work or world poverty or human rights struggles in Syria or even where the next natural disaster will strike as a result of more people moving around creating friction on the planet. I can’t. I won’t. Rather, I’ll be selfish and wrap myself up in my wife and children for a week, and enjoy their company in a place that I hold dear from childhood.

I know it’s not tough, cool or intellectual to like Disney. But I do. I always have. To me, Disney represents the greatest shrine to the imagination that I know. And frankly, I’ll take a well-told fairytale over well-documented news any day. Sure, Disney’s a massive corporation. Yes, visiting is expensive. And no, a trip to Walt Disney World with your kids is NOT relaxing. But I’m ok with this. Because for just a few days every few years, I get to hang out with the three most important people in my life and mindlessly frolic in a brilliant make-believe world that just so happens to be a perfect getaway from the real one.

Click here for a nice post about the history of WDW.


Jim Mitchem #imaginationgeek

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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