Doing Disney In The Electronic Age

April 24, 2013

Chances are pretty good that as you read this post, I’m kicking back on the Jungle Cruise, riding Peter Pan’s Flight or Space Mountain, or maybe tiptoeing through the Haunted Mansion.

That’s right, I’m spending this week at Disney World, Universal Studios and some of the other attractions Orlando has to offer.

A welcome from Walt and Mickey

A welcome from Walt and Mickey

Yes, me. A 39-year-old single man. To be clear, I’m going with my 9-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew, so please don’t think I’m creepy.

I visited the Magic Kingdom almost exactly 30 years ago, and went again with fellow Pony and BFF Allison in 2003. To say things have changed is an understatement, and it’s interesting to see how technology and marketing have evolved the experience.

For instance, how sweet would it have been for 9-year-old me to have the My Disney Experience app on my non-existent iPhone? To be able to explore all the Disney parks in one fell swoop, and better yet, see wait times on all the rides in the park (what?!). It shows the entertainment and dining options and practically anything else you could want to know while visiting the Happiest Place on Earth.

My Disney Experience app

My Disney Experience app

Of course, making my plans required more than a fantastic app. As I booked a flight and hotel and paid for some incredibly expensive park passes, I noticed a lot of “Disney-philes” online… adults who can’t seem to get enough of the world’s most famous theme park. Oh, thank goodness for bloggers. Without their posts, I likely wouldn’t know about character dinners or some of the most overrated attractions… the things to avoid.

As far back as I can remember, Disney has captured Super Bowl champion quarterbacks exclaiming “I’m going to Disney World” after a big win. But these days, the entertainment giant has wisely gone above and beyond that practice to entice more and more adults to feel like a kid again by hitting on of their theme parks.

It’s interesting, even a little amazing, to see all the publicity photos and videos of a wide variety of celebrities and athletes without kids having a blast at the Magic Kingdom. Just this year, in fact, Sophia Vergara, Zac Brown, Bryce Harper, Kurt Busch, Miguel Cabrera, Selena Gomez, Julie Bowen, Will Ferrell, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis have all turned up. So if the cast of characters, the rides or the sunny warmth aren’t enough to get you to book a vacation, perhaps your favorite sports star, singer or actor will.

Even James Franco loves Disney

Even James Franco loves Disney

So while winter rages on in Minnesota, I’ll be sunning it up with Mickey, app in hand, eyes peeled for a rogue celebrity. Should be a good time.