What We Can Gain from a Trip to Disney World

By Matt Heet

I read enough to know that some research in connection to social media suggests that bragging about your own life can lead to depression for others. While it is true my family got to take a wonderful vacation to Florida (with the majority of it spent at Disney World), I can also say that the second mortgage on the home is coming in handy now (this is my futile attempt to provide balance to this blog post). My family got to spend a week staying on the Disney campus, visited the parks five times (Magic Kingdom twice), played two intense rounds of miniature golf, overcame multiple seven year old breakdowns due to exhaustion, had more homestyle food in one week than I had all year, and rode Ric Flair’s favorite ride five times (if you don’t know what I’m taking about I encourage you to discover the answer).

While walking through the parks there were times I felt there was more to be gained than just what was on the surface of the park. The rides are fun, the food is good, and the characters are great to the children, but there is more to Disney World that can guide our lives in a positive direction. If you will indulge me, here are a couple that stood out to me over the week:

Patience: The most common frustration heard about attending Disney World is the amount of people that have your same idea at the same time. Yes the amount of humanity can be staggering, and length of ride lines without a Fast Pass are long. However, there is something to be said for having to wait your turn. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the Fast Pass system and used them all, but I also liked to see my children have to WAIT, God forbid. Occasionally your going to have to wait your turn for good things to come your way, and sometimes we lose our patience and never allow ourselves to discover the good thing. Stick with it, good will happen.

Importance of Everyday: One thing I discovered real quick at Disney World was you have to work hard to find an employee who isn’t happy. I don’t know what Disney employees make per hour, but they should get raises. I love how they understand that this maybe a person’s only chance to visit and they are going to put their best foot forward everyday. We don’t do this enough in our everyday lives. Lets take a tip from Disney World and try to make someone feel special everyday.

Comfort Zone: Children and parents alike have so many opportunities to participate in events that force them into an uncomfortable realm. These are the situations were mental growth can occur. At moments both of my children were not comfortable in the idea of Jedi Training, but as the pictures show below both relented and faced a full size Darth Vader to become one with the Jedi. These opportunities present themselves often at Disney World and show that escaping from your comfort zone isn’t a bad thing.


Physical Fitness: We’ll just participate in a little math here. Thanks to Apple Watch I could track my miles walked a day.  Number one: Animal Kingdom with 14+ miles walked. The bottom number was Epcot at 11+ miles. More impressive; the two seven year old’s that were there every step of the way.

Dream Big: I lost track of how many times while in Disney World I thought to myself that the brain behind this was born in Marceline, Missouri, a small town which feels like it is in the middle of nowhere. This is such a big deal to me because I teach in a small Missouri town and I notice we are losing our dreamers because their is such an emphasis on realism. Could you imagine if an adult convinced Walt Disney that this idea shouldn’t be pursued because it was unrealistic? Disney World was unrealistic, it was imagined, no one had done it before. At times we want our youth to be realistic so we can decrease their chances of getting hurt. In that line of thinking we are also increasing the chances of our youth living their adult years with regret, which is worse? Disney proves that greatness can be obtained anywhere; greatness will find you anywhere in the world if you have an idea that can make the world better. Keep dreaming young people, one of you is going to cure cancer, change media, revolutionize sports, and think of a million different ways to change the world for the better.