Hello, my name is Alan Middleton and I never visited Disney World until I was 29 years old. Before my first visit 2 weeks ago, anyone I ever told that I had never been treated me like I had been severely deprived. They’d ask, “Did your parents not love you?” or, “Are you afraid of flying?” But I assure you that my parents loved all 8 of their children and were wise enough not to even attempt such a trip with that many kids. Also, my fear of flying is confined to who I’m going to be stuck sitting next to or if Spirit will lose my luggage or not. #neveragain
It’s interesting to me how people would describe Disney to me before I went earlier this year. They’d proudly proclaim that it is, in fact, the most magical place on earth. They would describe it as a kind of paradise for the family where everyone was struck with unearthly happiness. There would be boasting of the bigness of the park itself, its shows, and its fireworks. They’d also boast of the attention given to the smaller details such as park cleanliness, well-hidden security cameras, and cast member (employee) etiquette. Indeed, the park goes through tremendous lengths to immerse their patrons in this world and suspend any type of disbelief.
Despite Disney’s best efforts, I was disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, I had an AWESOME time there. It captured my imagination (or rather the figment of my imagination) and was truly a magical place. Getting to experience it with my wife (who had been twice before) as well as my brother, sister-in-law, and their two boys (my amazing nephews) made even more so of an enchanting excursion. I rode so many amazing rides (Everest and Haunted Mansion were my favorites) and saw so many cool shows (Lion King, Phantasmic, Star Wars, and my personal favorite I got to star in… Indiana Jones!). The food was amazing, the aura was intoxicating, and the experience was one I’ll never forget.
So why was I disappointed? In a word… Heaven. Heaven is the reason it disappointed me. Now it’s no lie that Disney World was sold to me by those who had been pretty hard. The expectations I had going in were pretty high. It’s fair to say that in many ways, Disney World exceeded my expectations. But through it all, I had this voice inside me that kept seeing the humanity in it all. By that, I suppose I mean that Disney World wasn’t transcendent to what I thought a theme park could be. There’s no doubt it’s the best theme park I have ever been to or likely will ever go to. But it is there that lies in the thought of… this is the best attempt we can make towards a truly magical kingdom. When I compare that in my mind to what I believe and know heaven will be, Disney World falls remarkably short. At Disney
When I compare that in my mind to what I believe and know heaven will be, Disney World falls remarkably short. At Disney World, my feet grew tired from power walking everywhere to see as much as possible in three short days there. There will be a day when those who wait on the Lord will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not become faint. At Disney World, they are ingenious with their methods in getting you to spend even more money while you are at their park. There is a day to come where we will want for nothing. At Disney World, there are still lines, there are still ill-mannered and rude patrons as well as cast members. There are rides that shut down. There are crowds to fight. There are unpleasant weather conditions. There is greed, selfishness, jealousy, arrogance, immorality, etc.
Disney World was a great vacation. It was a great place to visit. But to keep everything in perspective, I still look forward to the perfect place that one day we won’t just be visiting. In that perfect place, we’ll move in for good. And indeed, even now we are (the church) bringing this kingdom to earth. I eagerly welcome His kingdom, the most magical place on earth.
Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.'”