Constructing Happiness

Fairytale Castle
A Fairytale Castle

It was only our second family trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but before we stepped through the gates leading to Cinderella’s castle, the “magic” of Disney was fading.

Don’t worry, we had fun. Quite a bit of it actually, mixed in with the stress of crowds, the humid heat, and our search for a healthy meal. The waiting in long lines, sometimes never to get on a ride, was mostly shrugged off as an unfortunate side-effect of this popular place we were visiting.

Those of you who have been there will know that although Disney may strive hard to make its properties the “happiest” on Earth, there are moments of unhappiness experienced by its guests. Over-tired children dissolve into tears, while their over-heated and over-stressed parents try to weigh the probability of arriving at happiness before total melt-down occurs. Disney is a landscape of extremes. Turn one way and you will see joy, turn another and you will witness a face of frustration, or even fear amid a back-drop painted concrete. It’s a place of princess dreams coming true, but only for as long as you’re inside those magical Disney gates.

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of going to Disney, but I was a child of modest means. Disney is for the child who rarely wants for anything. Perhaps that is why I’ve brought my own children to Disney twice, to make up for what I felt I “lacked” as a child. Through my children’s delight, I am able to experience the wonder of Disney I missed when I was young, yet in this atmosphere of opulence, I can’t help feeling lack. Strip away the canned smiles and the concrete megaliths painted to look almost real, and what is left? The masses searching for happiness, including those not there by choice.

Caged Freedom
Caged Happiness

If you strip Disney down to energy, you can see how easily one can be left feeling every extreme in each moment. With little personal space, there is ample opportunity for energies to mix and mingle. Disney is not only haunted by the “living,” but also a popular retreat for the”dead” still searching for happiness. Take a ride through “It’s a Small World,” and you’ll feel what I’m talking about.

A Favorite Haunt
A Favorite Haunt

Not surprisingly for an empath, after my first trip to Disney I returned home completely ungrounded. I had temporarily lost my vital connection to the Earth after spending 5 days in the world of make-believe filled with the energies of thousands of souls.

We all were a bit more prepared for our second trip to Disney. I brought along my crystals and made use of AA Michael’s shield of protection, while my family and I let go of too much expectation. We chose to leave the crowds behind when we were all tired, even if it meant we only put in 5 hours of “fun” at a park. After all, there was always the pool.

The Grand Floridian Pool
The Grand Floridian Pool

The Disney resort pool, where every girl is a “princess” even when donning a tankini and racing (“Princess, no running please.”) her brother to the water-slide for the 5th time in an hour. The tired affect and notable lack of smile on the life-guards’ faces were hard not to miss, despite their kind words. One can’t help but think of those “cast members” who, each day or night, step out of their realities into the world of make-believe. Those thousands of employees whose job it is to make you believe you are living your dream in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pretend for that long. And, what exactly is this dream of make-believe we’re all taking part in? Why do we keep coming back?

During my 6 days at Walt Disney World this December, I was constantly searching for anything “real.” To be more specific, my energy moved toward Nature in the most natural form I could find it. While my children swam in the turquoise water chlorinated crystal clear, my eyes strayed to the fairy-flight of katydids. When the insects happened to fly into the pool, I was over-come with delight at their misfortune. A rescued “fairy” meant the chance to hold the magic of life on my hand.

My Rescued Fairy
My Rescued Fairy

Nature, and the reality I could create around it, became my sanctuary for those 6 days. The snow-white egrets poised in patience over the lagoon made me almost forget I was yearning for a Narnian landscape at Christmastime.

Our favorite cast member
Our favorite cast member

I was not alone in my search for Nature’s sanctuary. My husband escaped by running along the lagoon, coming back happier than when he left, with tales of herons and the bald eagle flying over the golf-course. My children spent more time searching for lizards among the rocks and bushes, than they did for Mickey and Snow White.

A Favored Character
A Favored Character

We unanimously agreed to return to Animal Kingdom for our 5th, and final day of park-fun. Here, the Disney visitor can find Nature amid the concrete, even if She’s in a tamed state. Walking through the garden paths, and standing in the sanctuary of birds, the energy lifts and the light changes from artificial to real, and sometimes magic happens on its own.

Nature's Light
Nature’s Light



10 thoughts on “Constructing Happiness

  1. Hi, Alethea.
    Thanks for sharing your metaphysical view of your recent trip to Disneyworld…. So wise to go this time prepared to balance the unreal experience with nature where you could find it, time out when you needed it, and crystals to help ground and balance energy. During our one three-day trip there four years ago when Chloe was six, my thoughts were often that it was clearly the adults who were looking for an alternate “happy” reality, and the children had FAR better instincts about how to engage with such an imaginary place. It was only when they were not allowed to follow their own intuition about their needs for space and quiet and balance that meltdown occurred! Adults mean well, but they have become so used to using many forms of escape from their feelings that it carries over into Disney’s world–when expectations aren’t met, just put a little more desperate force behind them, because darn it, that ride (or ice cream, or souvenir, or whatever) will be the ONE thing that can bring everyone “happiness….” You just want to say, come on over here to this empty bench and sit for fifteen minutes doing nothing but feeling whatever you’re feeling, and let your kids BE! We mostly had fun during our short visit there, partly because it was a short visit, I think. And we went with kind of a goofy (no pun intended), whimsical attitude about how silly and bizarre it all was… but even the lightest of whimsical hearts can get dragged down in such a crowded place. I don’t think the experience was like that in the beginning, and the parental peer pressure to take your kids there (among the middle/upper class, anyway) has grown exponentially in recent years. I never once gave a thought to Disneyworld as a middle class child of the 60’s and 70’s. Perhaps the pace of modern life has made more and more adults desperate for what they think will be an unencumbered “happy” time, and they have lost sight of (or never knew) what makes for true contentment, which is not a place but an open heart and an ability to bear true witness to your thoughts and feelings, no matter where you are.
    Enjoy the Narnian landscape back at home!!! xoxo, Carol


    1. Carol, Thank you for your response. Well put. I share your sentiments, and it sure is nice to be home with all this beautiful snow. When you mentioned the need to sit down on a bench and rest, I thought of a photograph I almost included of the kids sitting on a bench with their pretzels, feeding pieces to a very happy sparrow on the ground. It was a fun, simple moment for all of us. xoxo – Let’s chat soon!


      1. I loved the pictures that you included, and how they worked with your content! And that your kids enjoyed looking for lizards as much as anything! I’ll pm you about time to chat… talk soon.


      2. We loved searching for lizards! Ava was thrilled that she spotted a rabbit on the lawn on the hotel one night. My highlight was seeing 2 hawks followed by the bald eagle Dave saw while running. They all flew right outside our room when I was on the balcony. Looking forward to talking soon.


  2. my secret love for you

    Great post!! I love “Disney”, actually in general, my trip to Orlando-Florida. I have been there I think like 9 times, and every time is a great adventure for us, but it is true, a lot of unwanted energies. I have been in Disney, Universal and all the parks in Orlando, but the place that I love the most is “DIscovery Cove” it was amazing, as a first place, second would be Sea World, you would ask why not the other parks? well easy, I do like nature, same as you, and these parks are the ones that have the most animals, and beautiful nature in the area, and after a couple of years, we went to see the amazing Animal Kingdom, and it is very impressive, but still like the other ones best. I love all the parks, and my sensation every time that we enter City Walk on the mechanical path, is the same, excitement!!!!! I can’t wait to go to Florida again.


      1. my secret love for you

        Go!!! you will not regret that, is pretty amazing, the decor of the village is wonderful and the rides are great!


    1. Thank you, Julianne! I appreciate you thinking of my blog. I’ve chosen not to participate in the award aspect of blogging for personal reasons, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the gesture. Happy New Year to you too!


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