Disney World welcome back magic is bigger than a visit to the theme park

(Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
(Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images) /

The Disney World welcome back magic is a whole new experience.

The smiles might have been hidden under a mask but the Disney World welcome back magic has many people excited about being back into their Disney happy place. As the first few guests had their magic bands scanned and walked through the gates, one sentiment was clear. People were grateful for the experience.

In today’s world, the negative stories often outweigh the positive. While people will disagree over the opening of Florida theme parks, some people are willing to step onto Disney World property and enjoy the magical moments that they have missed. For my family, we chose to visit Animal Kingdom on a preview day and I was happy that we did.

Although some people will not agree with my choice, those opinions are their prerogative and my experience is not meant to change their minds. Instead, a few things that we found while walking through a sparsely filled theme park could provide a moment of pause for everyone right now.

While it is impossible to capture an entire day in one word, there was a feeling that seemed to hang in the air, almost like a sprinkling of pixie dust. In a way, there was a sense of being grateful. Not for the guests feeling excited for being able to be surrounded by the Disney Magic. Of course, that sentiment was there. But, it was more than that.

In a way, people were grateful for all the cast members who welcomed people back to Disney World. It was a time to say thank you to the cast members cleaned every table, who wiped down every wall and who said a kind word to guests throughout the day.

As we sat and enjoyed our lunch at Saut’li Canteen, I took a moment to look around the room. It was different, but in a good way. People seemed more gracious to Cast Members, conscious of the people around them and just a little more aware. Granted, some of these ideas are a sign of the times, but it is a little more than that situation.

During the day, I heard my kids say thank you more often, strike up a conservation with an animal expert and just wave at characters. While I always expect my children to be kind, it was more. They seemed to appreciate that they were at a Disney Park, not that they took the experience for granted.

Truthfully, the idea of not taking an experience for granted seemed to add to this moment. Everyone knew the rules before walking through the gates and they accepted them. There was no arguing over masks or congregating too close together. Almost like going back to childhood, there was an idea of you follow the rules, you get the reward. That concept seems to have be lost along the way.

As businesses open, close and hopefully re-open again, this idea of not taking things for granted might serve as a reminder for everyone. While that beef bowl at Saut’li Canteen might be one of my favorite Disney meals, I don’t know when I might enjoy it again. Every bite was savored for that moment.

More importantly, the meal wasn’t about scrolling through my Instagram feed or updating a status. My family took the time to talk while sitting at the table. From how close the rhino was to the truck during the morning safari to the owl getting incredibly close to my son’s head during the bird show, it was a time to be in the moment. An idea that is often forgotten.

At the end of the day, we said goodbye to Animal Kingdom. Whether or not we get another day to stroll through a Disney World theme park in the near future is not the point. We enjoyed this day and that part of the Disney Magic will last for a long time.

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Do you have a special Disney World memory with your family?