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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Can A Disney Vacation Make You Happy?


 Can Disney make you happy?  We’ve all seen the Facebook posts about going to Disney makes you happy and that people who think money can’t buy happiness haven’t been to Disney—I’m assuming that implies paying for a Disney vacation.

I know I’m happier when a Disney vacation is on the horizon.  And less than a handful of years ago European scientists proved that anticipation is a more pleasurable feeling than surprise—which meant that all of my anticipation leading up to a Disney vacation was a pleasurable feeling.

Well, yesterday, I was reading an article (10 Ways To Get Happy Every Day) in a magazine (All You—February 20, 2015 edition) and was able to connect many of the ideas asserted in the article to either planning or taking a Disney vacation.

An idea shared in the article to increase one’s happiness was to savor events and moments by utilizing senses—such as the sense of smell.  I don’t know about you, but opening a bottle of shampoo we brought home from the resort or the tube of body lotion from a Disney ship takes me right back to the middle of the magic.  Or just imagining the tastes and smells at ‘Ohanas or the music in Soarin’.  Definitely savoring!

Another suggestion was to think happy thoughts and on tough days recall something made you happy.  I can do that!  Almost daily I peruse our Disney photos to post on Facebook and each time just looking at the photos recalls happy memories.  The sub-tip was to smile as it involves muscles and changes brain activity.  Again—when recalling happy Disney memories, I can’t help but smile!

The article also suggests that going on vacation—off the grid—can bring a greater, deeper feeling of joy. The suggested length of vacation—two weeks!  And, the article cites Dutch research indicating that the bliss associated with the trip can start months prior because of the anticipation!  Do I need to say more?  We definitely leave the world behind on a Disney vacation and for us, the bliss starts the moment we begin to plan and only becomes greater as the plans for our vacation take shape.  Disney=blissful!

“Social Snacking” or talking to strangers was another suggestion to build happiness.  Anyone who knows or has traveled with me knows that I talk to strangers, especially on a Disney vacation.  Cast members and fellow guests are all fair fodder for a short and happy conversation.  The article goes on to suggests that talking to strangers builds a sense of camaraderie, which is comforting.  Well, I know that talking to fellow Disney guests standing in the same queue as I am can be comforting—“we’re all waiting for the same thing!”

The tip of buying the right kind of happiness spoke to me.  The article suggests the adrenalin rush of a purchase of something over priced and trendy wears off quickly and that there is less happiness when purchasing “stuff” vs. purchasing experiences.  Several years ago, our family made experiences a priority.  So the next time I looked at purchasing that colorful knick-knack I said “no, no” as it wasn’t a priority for our family. I sure did admire the beauty in the moment, though.  Investing in a Disney vacation is a priority for our family as it is memorable and shared experience.  If the price tag is too much for your family, consider other experiences and enjoy the anticipation as the experience nears. 

Other tips throughout the article included planning your fun ahead of time—oh, my, oh, this is definitely Disney, being nicer, and strategic about what gets your attention.

All of the tips about being happier can and do apply to a Disney vacation—before, during, and after!  Therefore, the conclusion to my hypothesis and answer to my original question is that yes, indeed, a Disney vacation can make you happy!

Let the planning commence and anticipation build!

P.S.  I do have a subscription to All You magazine as a result of a free offer.  I do not typically purchase women's magazines as the juxtaposition of exercise and weight loss tips next to cooking and recipes or money saving advice next to articles about purchasing fashion items to boost your image demonstrate publishing hypocrisy.  I will say this particular issue had multiple coupons that have been removed for future savings!

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