Walt Disney’s famous theme park, Disney World, invites more than just Florida residents to experience the magic and joy associated with childhood dreams—but instead, attracts people from all ethnicities across the globe with similar aspirations; aspirations to feel even the slightest caress of happiness the park promises through its even still growing franchise. Within the states, at least, if one has never been to Disney World, the worst may be assumed. Poverty struck, oppressive parenting styles, or even the lack of a heart or quite possibly a soul are conceivable conclusions. These are all, yes, dramatic conclusions but with the hype about Disney and its general franchise, I sincerely doubt that at least some of these conclusions have not aroused in the minds of select individuals. It is collectively known that the whole Disney franchise is extremely expensive. To this, I ask, whatever happened to being unable to purchase happiness? In fact, material possessions can being happiness—if only for a short period of time. Disney provides more than material. More than material aside from the princess crown and the glowing wand you just had to have. Disney provides an experience that will be cherished and looked back upon on fondly for years thereafter. However, it is money that is still the issue. This inescapable truth isn’t as unavoidable as it may seem. Downtown Disney is the safe haven of a family on a budget looking for a pleasant evening.
Do not misinterpret, Downtown Disney is open during the day as well. And it is unlikely you will go there and spend nothing. It is simply to be noted this is a less expensive alternate route than going to one of the Disney parks, while still maintaining the “magic”. In light of my own personal interest, focusing on the night life is more favorable. The air is heavy with Floridian humidity and neon lights’ siren song attempts to sway passerby into indulging in the service their store provides. Tension is high for a parent with a begging child, easily seduced by the whimsy of the night. This is still, to the parent’s delight, inexpensive compared to the parks. While this may be a highlight for a parental consumer, this is not the focus of my attention while walking the well lit path with my family. Lights dancing on every corner, it’s hard not to become intoxicated with the night. You begin to realize that the air isn’t heavy with humidity, but rather anticipation. This anticipation is met with live music and the opportunity to indulge in activities such as bowling at Splitsville, virtual gaming adventures unique to Disney Quest, and my personal favorite, the House of Blues. I set this apart from “live music” simply because it’s a separate fee to be admitted, and let’s face it, there’s a whole different league of musicians playing there. Evident from the list I provided, there is a variety of different activities in Downtown Disney for all ages. However, despite the many attractions that are more suitable for my age group, the attraction that entranced me most heavily was not one I participated in, nor one meant for my age group. The carousal warranted the majority of my attention. With the mere sight of children enjoying themselves, I instantly became elated. From this short encounter, I learned a valuable lesson. This lesson was not life-altering, nor was it humbling like the vacations to developing countries. But it was, in fact, eye-opening. I realized that to be truly happy I didn't need Disney passes—I needed only the vicarious experience of childhood wonderment.