Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Mind pt. 1

When I think of the holistic component of the mind, the first thing that I think of is Epcot.  It’s just an automatic response.  Without question, Epcot is good for the mind.  In fact, just a few years ago, my husband complained that Epcot was “too educational.”  Now, it’s one of his favorite parks! 

The whole idea behind Epcot was to encourage and challenge its visitors to look at how our world could be made better, through technology, harnessing resources, and becoming a global community.  I remember visiting Epcot for the first time when I was 13 years old.  What an amazing place for a brainy girl!  I loved the Communicore (Innoventions) buildings, filled with computer and robotic technology.    Then visiting the Land and the Seas pavilions, learning so much about these amazing resources in a way that was inspiring and entertaining.  Then on to the Imagination pavilion, to see Captain EO in its first run, a quick Journey Into the Imagination, and then the amazing things throughout both floors. 

By the time we reached World Showcase, I had pretty well decided that I needed to just live in Epcot.  No going home for me…I needed to absorb every tiny detail of this amazing place.  Unfortunately, my mother, sister, and I were visiting Epcot in the company of a wonderful woman who moved at the speed of the monorail!  I was so determined to see it all that at one point, when they left the Germany pavilion, I stayed.  At that point, I didn’t care if they found me or not.  I had to see more.  I had to do more.  My mind was absolutely in heaven! 

Of course, they eventually found me, and I was forced against my will to move on and then leave Epcot.  What they didn’t know is that I was more determined than ever to get back to Epcot.  Today, Epcot is still my favorite park.  Now don’t get me wrong, the magic of Magic Kingdom and Cinderella Castle is a huge part of my Disney vacation.  Hollywood Studios is so much fun and Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park, but ultimately, I could still live in Epcot and never get enough.

Even though Epcot was developed well after Walt was gone, his vision for the park is what inspired the Imagineers to work their own magic and create a place where the mind can be challenged and inspired for generations to come.  

Now I have the joy of sharing my love of Epcot with my son.  What I love about this is that he’s learning so much without even realizing it!  To see his eyes light up at the sight of the Imagination Pavilion nearly brings this momma to tears (and naturally, Captain EO is one of his favorite attractions!).  Watching him play in the Innoventions buildings, sitting next to him on Soarin, hearing his excitement when we reach the Japanese pavilion in World Showcase…it’s an amazing feeling.

And then there’s Illuminations.  What in my opinion has to be the best fireworks show in all of Walt Disney World.  But it’s more than fireworks.  It’s an emotional journey through what Epcot stands for…growth, change, the future, and the brotherhood of mankind.  The lyrics of the song “We Go On” (heard in the finale of  Illuminations) seem to say it all.

With the stillness of the night
There comes a time to understand
To reach out and touch tomorrow
Take the future in our hand.

We can see a new horizon
Built on all that we have done
And our dreams begin
Another thousand circles 'round the sun.

We go on
To the joy and through the tears
We go on
To discover new frontiers
Moving on
With the current of the years.

We go on
Moving forward, now as one
Moving on
With a spirit born to run
Ever on
With each rising sun.

To a new day
We go on.

We go on.

I challenge you to find a better place to expand your mind than Epcot.  It is without question the first place that comes to “mind” for me!