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It’s All In How You See It

Gary Cruise banner

It's an odd quirk of human nature that we can all look at exactly the same thing yet we might actually see something totally different. Our experiences and our memories shape our perceptions in some very different ways!

Here's an example - that park bench with the Goofy statue in Magic Kingdom's Town Square. I used to sit in the rocking chairs behind that bench. Families would come along and sit to pose for pictures with Goofy while I sat unnoticed in the background making funny faces. So when you look at that bench you might visualize a loved one sitting there. When I see it I imagine people getting home, looking at their photographs and saying, "Who is that goofy guy in the back?"

Another example . . . our son Steve came back from Walt Disney World a few years ago after a vacation there with his young family. He lamented their wait for Peter Pan's Flight . . . "I can't believe we had to stand in line 90 minutes for such a lame ride." So when he looks at the Peter Pan sign he sees a "tired old ride". And in some ways he's right - Peter Pan's Flight pales in comparison to today's newer and often interactive rides like Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Toy Story Midway Mania - but to me it's a classic. It's a ride Carol and I seldom miss (but we always get a FastPass).


When I look at that Peter Pan's Flight sign I see something totally different; I see my son Steve as a five year old, sitting beside me in 1977, eyes filled with wonder and a smile a mile wide, as we both rode Peter Pan's Flight for the very first time. I hope they never change it!

Lou, a Walt Disney World Cast Member read my recent AllEars.net blog about the Electrical Water Pageant and started a thread on a popular Disney Camping forum which I visit regularly. He titled it "Oh no, a EWP Blog" and said: "I'm just tired of it, and here's why. When I was a front office Cast Member at a couple of Magic Kingdom resorts, I would see it or hear it every night. After a few hundred times, it gets a little old. After having experienced it so many times, you start noticing its weakness, and there are many. The main one being that it's unchanged for as long as I've seen it, which to me, comes across as it being hokey and amateurish."


Dave from Tennessee, a frequent camper at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, responded to that same Electrical Water Pageant thread: "The EWP is simply magical to me. Especially hearing the music on our first night at the Fort, when I'm usually tired from the drive and relaxing or even in bed by the time it starts. Hearing that music fire up makes me smile. Although, I remember vividly our first trip to the Fort with our girls in March 2007, which was the first time I had camped there in 30 years. We were in the 500 loop and had had a very tiring trip, so all of us were in bed by 9:30. It was chilly and no need for A/C, so the windows in the motor home were open. INC and I were laying in bed and it was very quiet, and then all of a sudden the EWP music started. As you know it can be quite loud in the loops closest to the marina. We both said "What the heck is that?" Had no idea at that point. We still laugh about that."

Hmmmm . . . strange how different our perspectives can be!

Some other AllEars readers shared a few of their favorite Disney sights with me. Do you see the same thing or feel the same thing when you look at these familiar scenes?

From Kameo C of El Mirage, AZ: My favorite sight at Walt Disney World is when you are at the Ticket and Transportation Centre walking down the ramp to take a ferry to Magic Kingdom. Seeing the train station and Cinderella Castle across the water, it's amazing. Walt Disney World is an escape, a magic place where all of your normal worries are left behind and you can focus on being a family or a couple. It is like walking in a dream. Wishes come true there.

From Allison J. of Deland FL: I think my favourite sight at Disney is the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom when it is decorated for autumn. I'm pretty sure Disney is the only place in Florida that can make it feel like it's fall. Even in 90 degree weather, the Disney autumn decorations just put you in the mood for sweaters and hot chocolate, football games and bonfires . . . all those quintessential autumn activities that we don't really get to experience here.

From Hilary S. of St. Louis, MO: My favourite sight at WDW has to be the Magic Kingdom at night from the California Grill. It is just gorgeous and I feel so relaxed and carefree admiring it with a glass of wine and good company. It was almost a tie -- another favourite is Spaceship Earth. My first glimpse of that always make me smile, take a deep breath and think "I'm here"!

From Cheryl J. of Mechanicsville, VA: The Partners statue is my favourite sight at Disney. It reminds me of holding my children's hands and looking bravely into the unknown. It makes me want to cry every time I see it.

Walt Disney World is packed full of many different and unique lands and attractions; there is a never ending variety of sights and scenes for each of us to enjoy. Both the old and the new . . . they are all "magical" to me and they are among the many reasons why I keep coming back "home".

I am sure that you and I could stand side by side looking at any Disney scene and see something quite different from each other . . . after the scene is filtered through our unique memories and experiences. I find it fascinating when I hear how differently people feel after looking at exactly the same thing.

What's your favourite sight or scene at Walt Disney World? What memories and emotions does it stir in you? Why is it so special for you?

The previous post in this blog was Experience the Whimsy and Charm of the Boardwalk at Flying Fish Cafe.

The next post in this blog is Jim’s Attic: The Cameraman Statue.

Comments (11)

Pamela Gerdes:

It's hard to say what my favourite sight is at WDW. There are so many possibilities, some of which have already been listed in the blog post. However there was one that really struck me the last time I was there. I was standing waiting for IllumiNations on my last night and I just looked around the lake at the countries and the torches and I had this feeling of being right where I was meant to be. A "home"-type feeling. So I will say watching IllumiNations will be my candidate for the best sight, at least until I find a new one!


I can understand how your son might feel "Peter Pan's Flight" may not be up to standard. It is a quiet easy going ride with, usually, the longest line in the park. I, however, remember as a child reading along with my Peter Pan record (yes, record), and waiting for Tinkerbell to let me know when to turn the page with her magic bells. That ride takes me back to that 5yr old Me with my records, and stories. I'll stand in line for that any day.


Our favorite "sight" would have to be "Impressions De France," the film in the France pavilion in Epcot. We never miss it during a visit and must have seen it dozens of times by now. By this time, we've also visited about half the scenes in the film in person, and hope to add some more as time goes on (except the mountain peaks). Another favorite sight is the view from the bridge over the Epcot waterway, with France on the left and the International Gateway on the right. Tranquil,always perfectly landscaped and beautiful.

Jeff Blank:

Hi Gary -
I can honestly say I have no idea what my favorite sight at the World is - all evoke different memories for different reasons. If you look at the photos I've taken over the years - and I'm talking just a few (In the 90's with 35mm film I would shoot ~15 rolls of pics a trip. Switching to digital, by our 2012 trip I took close to 4800 pics!). Many of these photos are of the same things, from the normal to the arcane, from trip to trip. I figure if I keep photographing the same things over and over, that they must be favorites for some reason. Like the numerous photos I've taken of the old Coca-Cola sign on the drugstore on NY street at the Studios reminds me of The Bronx in the early 60's. And the many pics of the Sunset Blvd theaters, the American Flag in front of Spaceship Earth, the Monorail from many different angles in different places, these are all favorite sights, along with hundreds of others. I guess I'll just have to say that all of WDW is a favorite sight.

- Jeff


I think I have a new favorite sight - last time I flew in to Orlando, I remember flying over Epcot and seeing Spaceship Earth from the plane. That was what made it real for me - I was really there!

I also love seeing the moving signs for the various attractions when you're on property. My favorite is the Tower of Terror sign with the rocking elevator!

MaryAnn Romagnano:

We have many favorites sites in WDW. However, our family doesn't quite feel that we are there until we hear the song "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow..." at the Carousel of Progress. I am old enough to have heard the song many times at the New York World's Fair. We sing along when instructed by the main character.
MaryAnn Romagnano


It's really hard to pin point just one memory when there are years of them, but if I had to pick just one of a special place it would be Splash Mountain. It's where my son found his love of thrill rides and where he taught mum "arms up with full extension" on the drop. After the ride we always check "the photo evidence" - the picture that snaps at the start of the drop - to see if I really did have my arms fully extended or if I chickened out. I can't look at Splash without it bringing a smile to my face every time!

Kelley G.:

I'm going to have to look back at our pictures now to see if that "goofy guy" is in any of them! Too funny!

Jane Boeck:

While everything is special in Disney, I have to say the sight of the arch above the road when entering the property is my favorite. It means I leave the real world behind and enter a special place.

Al's favorite is the Epcot sphere from the American Pavilion.

Another great article Gary. Loved Carol's article last time too!!

Ashley P. :

I love the music as you enter EPCOT. It's so epic, it makes me feel like I'm walking into another world of possibility and hope for the future. That music really reminds me of what the original EPCOT Center was all about.

mike haeberle:

I have to say the Wedding Pavilion from the monorail on your way to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

It reminds me of the magical night my now wife of 8 years got married. What a party.

I still remember forgetting the words to our vows and the laughs that followed.

We will always love that ride by it

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 25, 2013 5:57 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Experience the Whimsy and Charm of the Boardwalk at Flying Fish Cafe.

The next post in this blog is Jim’s Attic: The Cameraman Statue.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.