Every year, like clockwork, at the beginning of the holiday season, I can count on one thing.
Bing Crosby. Disney. Ichabod Crane. Even Washington Irving. Halloween night, we watch the "Headless Horseman". The Disney version. That's it. That's all the scary we can handle.
And this year is no different. Except. As much as we've loved Disney. We've actually stopped going to Disney. After 10 years, maybe more, as "Passholders". We haven't darkened the Disney doorsteps since 2020. And I dare say, I have no thoughts of ever going back again. Really.
And it's not because we don't love Disney. I've lived, breathed and cliented Disney. I've paid, membershipped, hoteled, resorted Disney. I know so much Disney trivia it would be counted on as gauche in some circles (most).
I can't help but love the history, the animation, the beauty, the Americana, the sentimentality. But, I gave it up.
Because I am old enough to know now that I cannot love something that doesn't love me back.
When faced with the pandemic, Disney lost its way. So its C-level execs could keep their salaries. Gone were the furloughed 30,000 employees, who collectively could have continued to make car payments if the execs would've given up part of their millions.
OR. If Disney had actually honored those of us, who for years, financed thousands of dollars to visit their parks. But they only refunded our money after accruing several quarters of interest - AFTER we'd said we'd no longer like to keep our year-long passes during these uncertain times.
At least during the time we had our passes, I didn't feel the company was only in business to make as much money as possible. I honestly - naively - thought they were actually in business to make money AND make people happy. Gosh. I'm still so sad.
Gone were the innocent days of being able to go on your favorite ride or eat at your favorite restaurant. Even in the halcyon "Fast Pass" era, we were only able to finally get on the Mine Train once, and that was a scandal all its own. (See: Accidentally skipped a line of fancy people that we thought we belonged in.)
It was all on the passholders, all on the app. Well, now, it's apparently all on the amount of $$ a working class family would like to spend to get the right to be close to the beginning of the line of Pirates of the Caribbean. Which apparently is up to an hour wait time. Which is just. One. Ride. (which is much better at Disneyland, as is the Haunted Mansion, btw).
Blessedly, our child is 17 now. If it were up to me, he'd never "outgrow" Disney. I surely have not. But, from a common sense standpoint, sadly, we really have. As much as we loved it. As much as we still would love it.
The pandemic certainly changed that, as even a trip to our magical world became a controversy. And now surely it's a world I do not understand, nor do I have the patience for, because the world I knew how to navigate is gone.
That said, my best friend is FINALLY coming on a trip to Disney - one she swore she would never take. And I said to her, "Sadly, we gave up our passes in 2020," but I'd love to help. She said she'd hire a "consultant" who would be able to direct her. This was upon my telling her she could not, in fact, "pop in" to the Magic Kingdom for an "hour or two." Any of you who've been there know why ....
I know that as much as I am sure I have "outgrown" Disney, I love it. It's in my heart and soul and many of my best memories. But on the same token, I wish a bit more of the "M" word was there. No. Not "money".
"Magic." and, let's not forget the best "M" word of all, "Mickey."