Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Disney ~ The Healing Place

Disney ~ The Healing Place

       I know you see people at the Disney Parks with disabilities. The question is why do they go to Disney? What can a day at a Disney Park do for a disabled child or adult? What can a day at a Disney Park do for somebody that needs a day away from stress that is not disabled.

       A day at a Disney Park can give many things to a disabled person. Disabled people often lack confidence. Spending a day at the park riding the rides they can build confidence. They can soar through the sky on Soarn’ Over California with everybody else. As long as the ride is within their physical limits they can ride it. Many rides have special accommodations for those with special needs. Many disabled suffer from pain and depression due to the physical problems and the limits that places on them. Being in a Disney park can give a distraction from the pain and limits. It can help replace the depression with a few needed moments of laughter. Even if they can’t ride the rides they can see the beauty, enjoy the shows and laugh at the characters. For the family caregivers this can give a chance to see their loved one smile and laugh.

       For those not disabled but dealing with life issues that cause stress Disney Parks can bring joy and laughter during moments of stress. You can suspend reality for a few moments and fly with Peter Pan over London as you take off on a flight to Neverland. You can catch some wonderful music in a relaxed atmosphere. You can stroll down Main Street and just enjoy the walk. It is a great place to just take a walk and get some exercise. It is a good excuse to walk. LOL I found on an average day at DLR I walk about fourteen miles.

       We had some hard things happen in our family when our daughter was young. She responded by clinging to us and being fearful. Disney helped by giving her a place to try things. She was big for her age and quite able to ride the “big rides” sitting in the seat in front of us instead of with one of us. She knew the rules and would follow them and we were right there to back her up if needed. This encouraged her to try other things and trust her “big girl” abilities outside of the park.

       My husband had an accident that left him nervous and easily upset. Going to Disneyland helped him deal with this. It gave him a place to be in large crowds and still feel safe. It also gave him a place to find joy. It is a good place to go and get out in the sun and enjoy.

       It is also a place to find healing of another kind. It is a place where people of all kinds can play together and learn to accept each other even if they disagree. You will find people of all ethnic, religious and orientation. You will find yourself sitting right next to them during a show or ride.

I remember one day, not to long after 9/11 I was at Disneyland and I was able to be part of a healing experience. I saw a Muslim woman in one of the shops on Main Street with her family. I stopped and asked her if she was having a good day at the park. At first she responded with, “I’m not from America.” I told her that did not matter and asked again if she was having a nice day. I told her because she traveled far to get there I hoped she was having a wonderful day. She responded, “I’m from the Middle East. I’m Muslim.” She backed away and acted like she was afraid or thought I was trying to trick her. I told her I was glad she at Disneyland and that I hoped she was having a good time in America. I told her I was an American and a Christian but I still wanted her to enjoy herself. She reacted with a shocked, “But, I’m not American. I’m Muslim from the Middle East.” I assured her I knew that and told her it did not matter where she was from I hoped she had a wonderful time at the park and in America. Her male companion walked up at that time and she smiled at me. She told him something and he also smiled. Healing began in that moment.

It does not matter disabled, emotionally stressed or hurting from the pain of hate and distrust a day at Disneyland can bring healing and build trust.

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