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Once again our little winter getaway included some Disney magic.  As we travelled to the somewhat warmer climes of Florida, after Christmas, we took a day and grappled with DISNEYWORD.

I’ll say it again: every time I’m there I am so impressed with their passion for ensuring vacationers have the best vacation they’ve ever had.  Everything, from the height and color of the buildings to the detail in the streetlamps is designed to attract visitors (and snag some of their cash). 

Walt Disney didn’t live to see WALT DISNEYWORLD “in the flesh”, but he saw it before it was built, in his fertile mind. I recently finished a Disney biography, and visiting the park(s) after reading so much about the man (the good and the not-so-good) and his methods, made the trip even more fascinating.   Every spot, every shop, street, ride, window, light, character, etc. is designed to specifications that are attractive to the people who visit – of ALL ages.   In fact, the way DISNEY goes out of its way to make sure that ADULTS (parents and grandparents) have as much of a good time as the kids is also very impressive.

Mr. Disney had a knack of “getting into the skin” of the people he wanted to serve.  He often responded to criticism that he only created a “false escape” from the world by saying that he was not creating an escape, but an ideal world.  Much of it was HIS ideal, HIS memory (MAIN STREET USA – Magic Kingdom) is a recreation of his childhood hometown.  But why do the rest of us also feel so nostalgic on MAIN STREET in THE MAGIC KINGDOM, or comfortable on HOLLYWOOD BLVD in DISNEY MOVIE STUDIOS park?  Part of it is reminiscent design and part of it is design science. For example, many of the buildings are constructed just enough under scale/“smaller than life-size” to make one feel “cozy” and “warm” (that is just exactly what happens on MAIN STREET and HOLLYWOOD BLVD).  And things such as CINDERELLA’S CASTLE in the Magic Kingdom are built with “forced perspective” (the scale gets smaller as it grows higher – to make it seem even MORE tall than it is, without the observer feeling overwhelmed).

It is said that Walt oversaw every detail of THE MAGIC KINGDOM in California.  One of his methods was to get down on his knees in the middle of the park and look around to see if any thing stood out of place – from a child’s perspective.

This year we saw the new STAR WARS attraction, and although half of the world’s population was there, we saw enough to be impressed once more, by Disney design, concept, and their general knowledge of the “people business”.

Also new this year was a transportation system of “air gondolas” suspended high above the parks, called the SKYLINER.  This is a new way to travel from some of the parks to others AND to many of the in-park resorts.  What made this ride fascinating is everything you could see from the air that you can’t see from the ground; the perspective of seeing the park through the eyes of the creators, rather than the visitor.

 Although the entire WDW park system teaches me about God every time I’m there (because I believe, and teach often, EVERY SPIRITUAL TRUTH HAS A PHYSICAL METAPHOR) what struck me this time was seeing ALL the machinery, buildings, and people working round-the-clock whom we never see in the park while visiting.

 Not only does WDW attract every eye and imagination because of the way the creators designed and constructed it, but there are almost as many people “behind the scenes” working to make things happen as there are people visiting the park.  If you work at WDW, in any capacity, you are called a CAST MEMBER.  Once you walk into a part of the park that is occupied by visitors you are “on stage” and when you walk off that part, you are “off stage”.  What is happening backstage is almost more fascinating than the “show” onstage…as is often the case in life itself.

High above the park we saw new construction happening in several places, unseen by the eyes on the ground.  We saw parking lot after parking lot filled, not with visitors, but with CAST MEMBERS.  We saw roads, walkways, mechanisms, etc.  all there to provide for those in the parks who would never see them.

Again, this reminded me of the earth, and life, in general: a place created for us by God.  This place was created to be a perfect place for us, with our perspective(s) and needs in mind.  I can picture God on his knees looking out at the park he was creating (Eden) to see if there was anything out of place or wrong for us.  He even “descended” to us, crawled into our skin, saw through our eyes, heard through our ears, to ensure that we understood/understand everything here is created FOR US.  Everything here is for our use, tailored for our pleasure and fulfillment…and to especially show us that HE is accessible to us, as well.

Behind the scenes/backstage He continues to work, to redesign, to remodel, to build – and beside Him, the multitudes of unseen Messengers – doing work we will never see, fighting battles we will never know about, but we DO experience the results – all for His “park” and the children He created to live there.

Of course The DISNEY Corp. is a business, and they aim to make money.  But they make money by aiming to understand, to know, and to cater to the client who brings in the money.  It is just a small type, or picture, of the single-minded mission of God: to create everything around us to show His love, and to attract us to Him so we will choose to love Him, and walk beside Him – forever.

“Every spiritual truth has a physical metaphor.”