When I was still at home and my parents would take me to Disney World all the time, I remember vowing that I would never go to Disney on purpose. How in the world could there be value in escaping reality for a couple days to fill my senses with artificial pleasures? Thankfully, through marriage God has been chiseling away my legalism and asceticism, and He’s helping me worship Him through all things. John Calvin has said, “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” Worshipping God for everything---even the things I had dichotomously considered “secular”---has been something I’ve been trying to train myself to do lately, and taking our little family to Walt Disney World Resort every once in a while has given me some great opportunities.
By the way, right now Florida Residents weekday passes for all 4 parks for the whole year are going for $233 (it was cheaper when we bought them :/) and last I checked AAA’s website they were only $201 per person.
1. Teaches Me How to Celebrate
I’ll never forget a particular moment in Animal Kingdom’s Africa when we came across a group of performers who were playing really catchy tribal music. All the musicians on stage were relishing the groove, and a couple costumed dancers were on the ground trying to get everyone else involved. We wiggled and clapped and waved our arms and sang and laughed. I looked around and everyone was smiling and happy. I almost wept then and there as I thought of heaven and how we will all be celebrating and enjoying God together, in community. It also made me excited about worshiping with my church on Sunday, because even though we don’t form a Conga line we truly do enjoy worshiping God collectively.
2. Stirs My Heart for the Nations
EPCOT is my favorite park, by far. I’ve never been to any of the actual countries that are represented in the World Showcase, but seeing the extraordinary cultural diversity makes my heart burn for all peoples to know Christ. I just want to hop around the countries and say to the Italian, “God loves Italians!” and to the Norwegian, “Christ has ransomed His beloved from Norway!”, etc. etc. Probably the only other time on earth when the nations will be surpassed in beautiful representation is in Heaven. Plus, just walking around and riding on the buses helps us talk to fellow guests from all over the world. (Read Psalm 87 to have a richer understanding of this ethnic diversity.)
3. Educates Me About My Awesome Creator
Disney is very educational about creation, be it the Safari or Rafiki’s Planet Watch or Living with the Land or the Living Seas. Disney doesn't attribute credit to God for His incredible design, of course, but to the Christian it’s impossible to miss. Disney is a really great place to go to view and appreciate creation.
4. Spurs Me to Imagine
God is creative. Disney’s Imagineers brilliantly display that mankind is made in God’s image because they do a really good job at creating. I’m having trouble thinking of specific examples because almost everything at Disney is magnificently larger than life and beautiful.
5. Displays the Reward of Skillfulness
A lot of times I tend to be so wrapped up in “what matters is the heart” that I forget how much God values skill in the Bible. In Exodus 35 it says of Bezalel, “and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.” God even commanded that the yarns are “skillfully woven” (Exodus 28:8.) The psalmists repeatedly speak of playing with skill as well (Psalm 33:3). When I watch Off Kilter and their unparalleled celtic rock, or when I see the Jeweled Dragons of China doing incredible acrobatics, I am reminded to be skillful at what I do because God values skill.
6. Gives Me a Glimpse of Eternal, Joyful Rest
This life is not our rest, and that really stinks sometimes. But Disney world allows me to get a faint shadowy glimpse of what my eternal rest will be like. The peacefulness and pleasure of Fort Wilderness comes to mind. As I biked or strolled through the paved trails, my family and I were able to enjoy the beauty of creation...without ants or thorns. As I walked through the exceptional pool at the Beach Club, squishing artificial sand beneath my toes, I was able to enjoy the pleasure of water and sand without the grime or itchiness produced by the fall. I can look to Zion, Heaven, “the perfection of beauty” from which “God shines forth” (Psalm 50:2.)
7. Models Childlike Wonder
I love to see the raw expressions of amazement on the faces of children at Disney when watching a show or gazing at something spectacular truly helps me remember how to be amazed. We’ve been created to be amazed by He who upholds the universe by the word of His power. I want to look at passages that describe God (like Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, for instance) like the seven year old girl does as she goes on Soarin’ for the first time, or as my own toddler gazes at the larger-than-life jar of Play-Dough at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground.
8. Reminds Me of the Limitless One
With all my Disney-amazement I still need to remember verses like Psalm 119:96; I have seen a limit to all perfection but God’s commandment is exceedingly broad. Even the Imagineers have their limitations but God’s greatness is unfathomable. These incredibly creative minds are still created; these beauty makers still---without exception---have to sleep and eat and use the restroom.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today