The Disney Experience

After Christmas this year, Patty and I took our boys (all grown now) to Disney World. Sarah and her husband Nate didn’t join us, as they had just been there in November for their honeymoon. We had a great time. Five adults in Disney.

There is much to be learned from the Disney experience, but here are three thoughts that immediately come to mind.

  1. Anything that reaches a child stands a good chance of reaching an adult.
    Someone who has never visited the Magic Kingdom may think that it is all about children, and adults will be bored there. But adults get completely caught up in the experience, whether they have children with them or not. Our imaginations, which may have been asleep for a long time, come to life, and we get it.

    This reminds me of advice to preachers and teachers given by Charles Spurgeon:“ Always put the cookies on the lowest shelf. The children can reach them, as well as the adults, and everyone will keep coming back. ”It’s not “dumbing down.” It is having the wisdom to make the most important message in the world readily understood.

  2. Life naturally honors preparation.
    Long lines at entertainment parks are legendary. A restaurant that acquires a great reputation has long lines at the dinner hour as well. So, a great restaurant has “ call ahead seating.” If a diner thinks ahead and prepares, they can make the best of their arrival at the restaurant, and be swept to the head of the line.

    At Disney, this is the “fast pass.” If you plan and budget, you can get a pass that enables you to avoid the long lines, and really take advantage of your time.

    Most of life is like that. You may get a few lucky breaks without planning, but the most satisfaction and the best wins go to the ones who have prepared. “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” Proverbs 21:5

  3. The best results come from extraordinary service.
    I know a young man who worked at Disney for several summers. Now, I am aware that there are always detractors who criticize, but this young man’s experience was fabulous—perhaps because the code of conduct he was supposed to use in handling Disney guests so closely mirrored what he had been taught was the way to serve as a Christian.

    At Disney, the needs of the guest are the highest consideration. Everyone, from the street cleaners to the performers to the costumed characters roaming the streets, are to be alert for how they can welcome, help, and serve the guest. In fact, it is a stated goal that when a person has visited Disney, this day will become forever an entry on their “best experiences of my life” list. If a child’s ice cream cone drops, whichever employee is closest is to immediately comfort the child and provide another free cone, then clean up the street.

    Where else have I been taught about no limits serving? Yes, from Jesus. The One who in His own words “came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:25). That’s the kind of service that makes life magical for everyone.

Ideas like these originated in the heart of the God we serve. Followers of Jesus have the opportunity, the strategy, and the mandate in our world to build, not the Magical Kingdom, but His Kingdom. Attitudes and choices like these will make life so much better, it might just seem magical.


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