I had a chance to hang out with my friend’s 11-year-old kid tonight, Gabbie. She’s getting ready to go to Disneyland with her mom and sister in two weeks and since I’m a Disney expert and, according to her – “my favorite babysitter” – she came to me for some pre-Disneyland prep. As we swung our way through 18 holes of miniature golf and finished off our evening over a hot fudge sundae at McDonalds, I shared with her fact after Disney fact. Totally enraptured with each little tidbit I threw her way, she just couldn’t get enough and I loved every minute of it.
Besides being a total self-esteem booster (let’s be real for a second – really, most people run the other way when I start to “talk Disney”) I realized the importance of passing on a bit of Disney heritage to the next generation. The Disney Channel alone is not a proper foundation for the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow. Do we really want our children believing:
– A musical repertoire should only consist of High School Musical, Camp Rock and Hannah Montana.
– A movie roster should only include Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Herbie Fully Loaded and Life-Size.
– That Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and Superman should someday have a place in the Disney Vault.
Somewhere along the way Vanessa Hudgens out-sang Annette Funnicello, Lindsay Lohan became the new Haley Mills and Spiderman kicked the crap out of Mickey, Goofy and Donald. Vanessa, Lindsay and Spiderman (well…maybe not Spiderman) have fought their way, fair and square, into the Disney family, but as keepers of Walt’s torch, I’m convinced we should all have our own “Top 5” to pass onto our kids. Here’s mine:
1. The center of the original Disneyland can be found in the shadow of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, marked by a golden nail.
2. Walt Disney had an apartment in Disneyland, found over the fire station. They leave the lamp light on in the window today to honor his memory.
3. When you enter into the world of Disney, be it a theme park, film or otherwise, it’s okay to leave the cynicism behind; that according to Walt, “There is no cynicism in me, and none is allowed in our work.” Good is good, bad is bad and its okay to have fun and check your sarcasm, negativity and doubt at the main gate that the world might be telling us to hold onto.
4. When you’re at Disneyland, its okay to sing-a-long, out loud, with your favorite song, have popcorn for breakfast and spend $40 on a tee shirt.
5. That, according to Walt, while we savor the challenge and promise of the future, it’s also important to relive fond memories of the past.
Those are my five. What are yours?