When I met Merida in Disney world this Christmas, I was a wreck. I managed to work myself up into an anxiety attack before I even got into the garden. I made it through meeting her and talking to her without crying but as I grabbed my bag to leave I burst into tears, she said “no come back” and gave me a huge hug, here she was telling me to be brave. All I could think about is how I’m not brave and that she wouldn’t even talk to me if she knew what kind of person I really was. I couldn’t say any of that so I just nodded. I came back the next day and several times after during my trip to Disney. Never, in my entire life have I met someone who had such an instant effect on my life. There had been a date in my mind for several months before I met Merida. It was the 19th of January 2014 and that was the day I planned to commit suicide. Miraculously enough, I’m still here. Thanks to Merida’s kindness and her insisting that I am brave, I’m still here. I am rather far off being brave, but I’m alive and that’s what counts.
This and countless other reasons is why Disney is so important to people who are not “children”. Its awful how many times I have heard stories of guests complaining about the about of people who visit the parks who are not there just cause they have kids to take.
People thrive in fantasy worlds to help them escape the real life hardships. And when we come to the parks, we wanna see special experiences like this, not you and your family screaming at a Cast Member because something didn’t go your way. Every person who passes through a character line or an attraction line is important. Just because you are not under the age of 12 does not mean you don’t love and need a character any less.
Disney characters are like avatars for the people who seek them out. We know that they’re actors in costumes, and that doesn’t matter: we’re meeting our childhood friends, the people who told us we could be strong, and brave, and endure. There’s a reason that so many of us seek the Parks when our hearts are breaking.
This is that reason.