Ever since Disneyland opened in 1955 Disney parks have been offering a place unlike any other for its millions and billions of fans all over the world. Disney Parks are an experience like no other, and gives a rare chance for people to forget their troubles and escape into the "happiest place on earth," even if only for a few hours.
Recently Reddit user Rei_Ayanami_00 bravely shared what Disney and Disney World means to her as an autistic woman. In a heartfelt post on the Disney subreddit she explained that Disney World is the only place in the world that she feels like she truly belongs, and the place that she calls her home. Her story is heartfelt and touching, and I know that thousands of other Disney fans out there share her sentiments.
Take a look at why Disney means so much to Rei_Ayanami_00, but be warned, it's pretty emotional so I took the liberty of inserting lots of Disney hugs throughout to cheer you up.
Firstly she starts off by explaining about Disney World being her true home, and why it's different to everywhere else in her life:
Disney World is my home. I have never felt a sense of belonging more than the one I feel in Disney World.
I'm autistic and have so much trouble thriving in the world. And then there's Disney World, where all of a sudden I CAN thrive. All of a sudden I'm universally accepted, universally understood.
Even as someone without autism I can totally relate to the feeling of Disney feeling like a home, I know lots of others certainly feel the same way. There's just something about Disney that's totally welcoming,and I'm so glad she be totally happy there.
Throughout her post Rei_Ayanami_00 continually praises the wonderful work of the Disney Cast Members who simply make her feel as though she belongs by understanding and accepting what she calls her "behaviors and eccentricities."
These staff members who don't even know me seem to understand effortlessly me and my behaviors and eccentricities. They're patient. They show me courtesy that nobody else out in the real world shows me
...The staff is there looking out for you, watching, caring. Understanding. Showing a kind of patience and courtesy you could never get anywhere else...but which means the world to somebody like me who gets so little of it every day.
I love hearing stories about Disney Cast Members. It seems to me as though Disney parks have the best customer service in the world, and continually go above and beyond the line of duty every single day by making sure every guest in the park has the best day possible.
Rei_Ayanami_00 also explains that because everything in Disney World is run so smoothly and like clockwork, she feels a rare sense of "pure contentment" in her life when she's at Disney World:
Disney World is an easy place to be, where everything seems to operate with a daily linear order that just makes sense, and never going astray. Peter Pan's Flight will always be the same thing no matter how many times you run it. Epcot will always be Future World and the World Showcase, and both have an order to them that never falters. You can make your way through the parks (and I know those parks like the back of my hand by now) with no fear of unexpected changes or blips in the daily park routine...everything is always the same, everything is always in order (barring rare and very unfortunate circumstances). It's perfection, a recipe for pure contentment for me.
I can only imagine how much relief this must be to someone who relies on things being consistent to keep calm in their everyday life. The fact that Disney World offers a place where a person with autism can enjoy themselves, even when away from home, and their regular schedule is so wonderful, and something Disney should take great pride it.
Of course one of Rei_Ayanami_00's love of Disney is why all of us love Disney - the total escapism and comfort you feel when you enter the parks:
...The way that Disney allows you to be someone other than yourself. You don't have to be an autistic woman who bumbles through life, who has no job or viable future, who is often seen as a burden or a nuisance. You can be a princess. You can be a warrior. An astronaut. A time traveler. An explorer. Disney World lets me be ANYTHING when I don't want to be myself...and more often than not, I welcome any opportunity I can get to take a break from being myself. Myself is a 22-year-old woman who frequently fails to get it right and who so many people just don't like.
Yep, nailed it. The ability to become whoever you want to be at Disney and be accepted for it is pure magic.
I'm a fan of Disney, but after reading that message it truly put into perspective for me just how much Walt Disney with its parks, films and staff can really make a difference in peoples lives, and I'm so thankful Rei_Ayanami_00 shared her story for us to enjoy.
You can read Rei_Ayanami_00's entire post over HERE on Reddit, but I'm warning you now, if you're a Disney lover you may shed a tear by the end of the post.