Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Green. Enjoy the ride as we share with you ways we keep Disney magic alive at home.
I was lucky enough to grow up about an hour from the entrance gates of Walt Disney World. I went to Disney several times a month as a child, even more often once I got a Drivers License, and lived right around the corner for half a year. When you’re that close, Disney becomes less of a vacation destination and more of a hang out spot. Some kids went to the mall to meet their friends, but I went to Tomorrowland. As I’m beginning a new chapter in my life, I’ve found myself now around 1,000 miles away from Walt Disney World. It’s the first time in my life that Disney World seems like more than a dream away. As the summer bleeds into the fall and the echo of the elevated train lingers through my Chicago home, the Magical World of Disney has never felt farther away.
So what can you do when you’re so far from the Magic Kingdom, with no next visit planned, but a desire to keep the feeling of magic and wonder alive, especially (in my case) as exams and papers loom on the horizon? For one, I visit the Disney Store quite often.
I find that spending time (and far too much money) in the Disney Store is a fantastic way to keep up with what’s going in the Disney Universe. When Brave was released, I stopped in to see some of the Limited Edition Merchandise. I bought a bunch of Chicago-exclusive Disney items…and I occasionally break down and buy a vinylmation (or two).
I do feel slightly alienated by the Disney Store. They serve their demographic well and have all the requisite princess gear as well as an ever expanding Marvel section for the young boys, but as an “adult” Disney fan, I am often disappointed by the selection (or lack thereof) available to grown-up kids like me. To be fair…My Local Disney Store has historically been either World of Disney at Downtown Disney or the Emporium on Main Street, so I must admit that my expectations are high.
Alas, the Michigan Avenue Disney Store, despite its prime location, has yet to receive the flashy tech upgrades that the Times Square store and others across the country have received. It retains a more classic look, with pillars featuring carvings of Disney characters and etchings of Walt Disney quotes lining the outside. I actually prefer this look and feel to the flash of Times Square (but that’s a Chicago v New York argument for another time) and I hope the store retains this look.
I don’t get to stop in as often as I’d like, but every time I walk in and see children getting excited about a new Stitch plush doll or I see some fellow Disney nerds (we are everywhere!) picking out yet another item to add to their ever growing collections, I realize that while it may be much colder here than in Lake Buena Vista, there’s still plenty of Disney Magic to be found.
When I was a kid, I remember seeing TV specials filmed at Walt Disney World. I remember watching the Muppets run around Epcot, I remember watching Corey and Topanga (from Boy Meets World) kiss in front of the Living Seas. I remember the Disney Company used to do a lot more to keep the wonder of the Disney Parks alive for those who couldn’t always be there. Sadly, these specials have been replaced with whatever it is the Disney Channel decides to air nowadays. I can’t even name one of their shows, to be honest.
So, for many, The Disney Store is their strongest connection to the Walt Disney Company. Some of the other customers I spoke to have never even been to a Disney Park, but the spirit of their favorite Disney films and characters can still come alive (on a much smaller scale) by just taking a look around. Even if my bank account doesn’t let me buy all the cool things they have for sale, I’ll still stop in there once in a while to remind myself that a little inspiration can go a long way. That’s what I do to keep the magic alive. What about you?
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Disney Point.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Your Highway in the Sky
2nd Stop ~ The Disney Point
3rd Stop ~ Disney Living
4th Stop ~ A Disney Mom’s Thoughts
Final Stop ~ Walt Disney World: Not Just for Kids