Nine Reasons Disney Fans Are Thankful This Year
For Americans, Thanksgiving signifies a rare opportunity to take a moment to reflect on all the best parts of life.
No, everything isn’t always perfect, but as long as we’re living on our terms, we’re pretty satisfied, right?
For Disney fans, we spend so much time enjoying our favorite stories that we sometimes forget to show gratitude for their existence.
Here are nine reasons Disney fans are thankful.
The people who work at Disney blow my mind. They dedicate their lives to enhancing the vacation experiences of others.
Disney actually empowers its cast members to create magical moments for guests. Sometimes, people receive free stuff just because it’ll brighten their day.
The generosity in play at Disney theme parks warms my heart.
If anything, I appreciate cast members even more during the pandemic. They added a new job title: protecting public health.
These added duties led to more job stress, but Disney workers did everything they could to protect the magic at the parks. They’re heroes.
In the immortal words of Cinderella – the band, not the Disney Princess – you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.
Okay, somebody else said that first, but the point is that we appreciated some Disney experiences more when we didn’t have them.
To wit, since the opening day of Disneyland in 1955, park guests have expected encounters with their favorite Disney characters.
Then, during 2020, social distancing requirements prevented that from happening.
Now, Princess Fairytale Hall and Town Square Theater are hosting guests again. So, we get to say hello to Mickey Mouse and our favorite Disney Princesses!
Somehow, these character interactions are even more satisfying now that they were gone for a while.
The Disney Bubble
I’m apparently in a musical mood, as my first thought here involves the Cheers theme song.
Sometimes, you DO want to go where everybody knows your name…or at least acts like you’re a long-lost friend.
The Disney Bubble refers to that soothing vibe you feel when you’re on a Disney vacation.
You’re among people who love Disney the same way that you do, allowing you to lay down your burdens and relish the relaxing environment.
During a Disney vacation, you’re among friends, even if you’re never met most of them. They’re still folks who share a common interest.
Life’s been harder the past few years. But, inside the Disney Bubble, everything feels better.
Disneyland Finally Reopening
Many years from now, Disney trivia champions and historians will obsess on this seemingly impossible fact.
Disneyland never closed completely on consecutive days until 2020. Then, the parks shut down for more than 13 straight months. It’s almost inconceivable.
I wouldn’t even believe the statistic if I hadn’t lived through it. Nothing could shutter the Happiest Place on Earth before Coronavirus…which feels like a fitting metaphor for the pandemic.
Thankfully, the past is the past. Disneyland Resort has since reopened and even triumphantly opened a new themed land at Disney California Adventure.
We’re all thankful for this event. How could we possibly feel better about life with the Happiest Place on Earth not allowing guests?
Disney+ Opening the Disney Vault
Here’s another one for the trivia books. Back in the days of video cassette tapes, hoarders would buy Disney animated classics…but not to watch them.
These “fans” viewed the VHS tapes as collector’s items that would one day sell for exponentially more money.
I had a manager at Blockbuster who referred to his Disney VHS collection as his retirement fund…seriously.
Nobody would believe that story thanks to Disney+. In 2019, Disney abandoned the Disney Vault forever when it entered the modern era.
Now, with the click of a button, fans can direct-dial their favorite Disney animated films straight from the Disney+ app. It’s magical.
The days of VHS tapes, laserdiscs, and DVDs will serve as mere historical footnotes from now on.
Future generations of Disney fans will always expect to have Cinderella available whenever they like. The Black Diamond edition will mean nothing to them.
Here’s the other option in the “missed it after it was gone” category.
Disney fireworks only returned to theme parks on July 1st.
Suffice to say that there was much rejoicing on this date. But, of course, Disney wouldn’t even start with well-known nighttime presentations until October 1st.
We’ve got Harmonious and Disney Enchantment instead. These entirely new shows dazzle us with their technical wizardry.
They also prove that Disney remained busy during the pandemic. Speaking of which…
In 2021, cynics have spent more time talking about Imagineers’ employment status and real estate purchases rather than their work.
Even as Disney has lowered park expenditures due to the pandemic, Imagineers have just kept creating. Here’s their latest thing:
That’s Project Exo, which will allow cast members at the parks to walk around like they’re 15-feet tall.
Characters like Wampas from Star Wars or The Incredibles could feasibly perform unplanned character interactions.
Imagineers are also working on a Disney metaverse, something we’ll discuss at MickeyBlog more next week.
The MCU at Home
Disney+ does more than connect us with our favorite animated tales of yore. It’s ultra-modern, too.
Starting this past January, Disney+ introduced entirely new stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each of which has entertained in its own way.
Loki reminded us that even the most mercurial dude in the universe has feelings and can fall in love.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed the struggle for self-worth in a world where those with power look down on those without it.
With What If…?, we learned that the original Ant-Man is a real jerk. Also, Marvel Zombies are evil.
Then, there’s the unquestioned masterpiece of the first batch, WandaVision.
Friends, if you haven’t watched this one yet, it should be part of your holiday weekend plans.
The fact that we get to watch all these programs thanks to our Disney+ subscription is fantastic.
Even better, Hawkeye just started this week…and it’s set around the holidays!
Walt Disney World Staying Open during the Pandemic
While Disneyland remained closed for 13 months, cast members bravely went back to work after only six weeks away from the parks at Walt Disney World.
First, Disney Springs returned on May 20th. Then, on July 11th, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopened.
Four days later, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios joined them. Since then, the theme parks have operated every day during the pandemic.
Florida has suffered 2.3 million COVID cases since then as opposed to only 300,000 before then.
Remarkably, Disney has avoided any reported outbreaks during this entire time.
As I’ve said before, I felt safer at Walt Disney World than at the grocery store a block from here.
Like millions of other guests, I will always be thankful for Disney reopening and safely operating its theme parks during the pandemic.
We all needed those moments of escapism during these turbulent times.