I admit I’ve been a bit down on Disney lately. As a follower of Christ, I’ve had to steer away from most Disney movies and shows in the last few years because they all seem to have spells, wizards, witches and magic woven into every story. There seems to always be a villain with dark magical powers that casts a spell via wizardry, potions and evil demonic darkness. I’ve tried to eliminate that content from our entertainment diet and Disney makes it hard on me.
We traveled to Disney this year for a Magic Kingdom experience over Christmas. It was our 15-year wedding anniversary and we went back to Walt Disney World in Orlando where we spent our honeymoon in 1999. This year Tom and I went with two precious daughters and grandparents in tow. It is a right of passage in the American culture and we didn’t want our girls to miss out.
Personally, I prepared myself for the sensationalism of Christmas that I expected in the Disney theme parks. I prepared for lights, Santa, “Happy Holidays” and no Christ to be found anywhere. After all, they are catering to the masses, right?
What I found, however, was amazingly different and a breath of fresh air. Inside the parks- every park- from Magic Kingdom to Epcot Center to Animal Kingdom, was Jesus. Yes, I found Jesus Christ at Disney. I found him in the traditional and beautiful Christmas carols pumping through the parks. Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Away In a Manger, Joy To the World were playing loud and bright for all to hear and sing along. At Epcot Center, a special Joyful! Gospel Celebration of the Season show was a center feature of the park. They rang in the holidays with an R&B group called D’Vine Voices that sung about the reason for the season several times on stage in front of the big Epcot ball.
Jesus was also present in the Swan Hotel. The hospitality and housekeeping staff celebrated Jesus through their words and actions. Many wished us a “Merry Christmas” (not happy holidays) and gave us a “God Bless You” on our way through the dining hall. I continued to be refreshed and renewed by the many displays of Christ and the reason for the season. He was there. Jesus wasn’t buried; he was celebrated both overtly through shows and park music and also through the very spirit of the people who work at Disney.
Thank you Disney. Thank you for keeping Jesus Christ alive at Christmas. Thank you for allowing my family to celebrate his birth through your music, shows and the sprit of the people who work the park and grounds. Thank you for not taking Christ out of Christmas. Although I don’t agree with all you do, keeping Christ in Christmas was a great moment we could celebrate together. For this I am thankful.