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Monday, April 18, 2011

Making Magic

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I’ve been thinking about magic lately.

No, not the type of magic that Hogwarts seems to evoke, or the type that comes from wands or spells, but the type that is created by the places and people around us.

You know, the magic of believing.

I took a trip to Disneyland this past week. It’s been dubbed The Happiest Place on Earth, and I found myself wondering just why that is. What makes Disneyland this Mecca of wonderment and delight that brings us to a belief that it is a perfect place?

I think it is really all about attitude.

When on this last trip I noticed something about most of the employees who worked at the Magic Kingdom…it didn’t matter if it was the person sweeping up bits of trash on the streets, the woman selling Churros in the broiling sun, or the operator of the ride listening to It’s a Small World playing incessantly for eight hours straight.

They all smiled.

They all had a cheerful attitude.

They all seemed happy.

I wondered about this as I wandered around the park and noticed that there was a type of magic generated—it even seemed to exude from every brick and causeway.

It was from the smiling.

It was from the friendliness.

It was from these—such little things—that make such a big difference.

As I walked by one of the doors labeled, “Cast Members Only” it opened and a man walked out. On the inside of the door was a sign that I only was able to read the bottom part of before it closed which read something along the lines of, Remember to SMILE!

I thought of this as I walked through the park and noticed that, with the exception of only two employees during the entire visit, everyone seemed to be in a great mood, and were bent and determined that all of the guests there would have a wonderful time.

At one point I even approached three of the cast members standing by the Matterhorn and said, “Everyone here at the park is so friendly and helpful…you all seem so cheerful and smile, too. Do they tell you to smile all the time?” The three young men all looked at each other, then back at me, and continued to smile.

My suspicious were confirmed.

But what did all this smiling and cheerfulness do for all those who were visiting?

Well, I know what it did for me. It was magical. It made the visit something so much more than it might have been otherwise.

At the end of the day I was waiting for the shuttle to take me back to the hotel; I watched a few of the Disneyland cast members as they walked past on their way to their vehicles. They looked completely exhausted.

I thought of what I must look like when I leave school at the end of each day…

I could so relate to how these individuals must have felt…putting on the show, becoming sage on the stage, being the person who tries to be positive and fun the entire day, trying to be the teacher who makes education a fun experience…and while I love my job, it certainly does take a lot out of a person and at the end of seven plus hours working with my motley little crew of fifth graders I crawl out to my car completely exhausted and ready to collapse.

Most days I work at Disneyland; I know this because there is magic…but only when I choose to create it.

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

By the way, I posted over at my own blog today, just if you were feeling saucy…

Second photo courtesy of visitingdc.com


Karen Peterson said...

As with so many other things, happiness is a decision. It's not always easy, but I've learned there is a lot of truth behind that adage "fake it til you make it."

And it's exactly that smiling attitude that keeps me going back to Disneyland often.

Sand Castles and Snow Forts said...

My fabulous four and I enjoy the neverending smiles in Orlando. We are the first to arrive... the last to leave. Our discussion at the dinner table turned to the home of the big mouse last night and I have finally convinced them all that we could move there and be so very happy. It's Florida after all, and who wouldn't want to smile forever?

Anaise said...

That is exactly what amazed me when I took my little ones to Disneyland! I was so impressed that they could treat my kids like they were the first and best kids they'd ever met in their lives; and these people deal with kids all day every day.

I guess I ought to work a little bit harder at making magic in my own home.

Shawna said...

Disney cast members (be they in costume or ride operators, etc) are all considered to be "on stage" as soon as they are in public, and smiling is a must.... but, according to one cast member's blog that I follow, it really is a fun place to work. She has a tag for her Disney posts if you want to read some of them...its quite interesting to get an insider's point of view.... http://bri-chan.livejournal.com

Gerb said...

It's kind of like the saying: "If you could choose to be any of the seven dwarfs, always choose to be HAPPY."

tammy said...

I've noticed that at Disneyland too. And I've also noticed in my own life the more I smile the more smiles I get in return and the happier I feel and things and people don't bug me as much.

I'm really sad I couldn't meet up with you at Disneyland. That really is my happy place. In fact, just thinking about it now is making my heart excited.

Richard & Natalie said...

You know you're a magician when you can charm a class of 5th graders... All of your magic is as appreciated, if not more so, than the all the magic produced in the happiest place on earth.

M-Cat said...

I need a trip to Disneyland. I need to be surrounded by smiles! And churros

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