I really enjoyed our 20th day at Disneyland yesterday (Sunday). Rachelle and I had a lot of fun together, especially in the evening when we cracked up laughing while making some silly videos. I didn’t enjoy the experience nearly as much on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday though. I thought about why I enjoy the experience so much more on some days vs. other days.
This was a holiday weekend, and the crowds on Thursday through Saturday were the biggest I’ve seen during this whole experience so far. On those days both parks were packed with people everywhere, and wait times for the popular rides often landed in the 1-2 hour range.
But why should I care about the crowds on some days? Rachelle and I know how to use the Fastpass system very well, so we never wait in those hour-long lines. We also have a feeling of abundance when it comes to this experience since we have such a ridiculous amount of time for it, so we don’t have any time pressure to pack in a lot every day. We can just take light days when it’s crowded and wait for the less crowded weekdays.
But I still found those heavy days getting to me. I’d feel more stressed, frustrated, and impatient; I’d feel down on Disney in general; and I’d question the sanity of this experiment. Moreover, I’d start to feel down on other parts of my life too.
Sunday, however, I largely felt the opposite. I really enjoyed the day overall. Rachelle and I stayed till after midnight and had an especially fun evening together. I felt a lot of optimism about my life too. That day was much less crowded for some reason, almost like a weekday.
I’ve noticed that when the park is relatively uncrowded, people are having a lot more fun. The lines are short, so they have plenty of time to go on all the rides they desire. On these days people are getting a decent value for their money. This creates a playful and lighthearted vibe around the park. You can really sense the feeling of fun combined with abundance in the people there. You can see it reflected in people’s body language too. The kids are laughing more. Some adults are kissing in line for the rides. But mostly this is just something that’s felt internally.
When the park is overstuffed with people, however, the value of the experience is greatly diminished. The lines are long, it’s tough to navigate through the swarms of people, and you aren’t likely to receive a good value for the ticket price (it costs more than $100 for a one-day ticket to Disneyland). On these days I hear more complaining and mutterings like “what a rip off.” The kids get antsy from waiting in long lines, and the parents get frustrated too. There’s this ominous vibe of dissatisfaction around the park. I especially feel it when walking down Main Street. I can practically hear people thinking, “Damn… this is way overcrowded today. We aren’t going to be able to do much. This sucks. Why’d we come here today?”
After spending 20 days in a row there, I have a much better sense of the ebb and flow of the general vibe at Disneyland. I feel it when I’m there. I see it in the people, including the employees. And I’m vulnerable to it because it’s highly infectious. Even if I’m not attached to the outcome of each day, other visitors clearly are, and it’s much harder for me to enjoy the day when I’m surrounded by people who are feeling stressed, dissatisfied, or cheated.
This reminds me of the importance of being extra careful in how we populate our social circles. We can handle some negativity now and then if the overall social vibe we experience is supportive, optimistic, and abundant, but it’s surely going to hold us back if we subject ourselves to a recurring vibe of pessimism, stress, or dissatisfaction.
One of the most important growth accelerators is to change your social circle because your social circle will affect your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, self-image, decisions, and results. Feeling stuck and having a disempowering social circle tend to go hand-in-hand. Of course that’s a bit of a catch 22 since when you have a negative social circle, one side effect is that you probably won’t want to change it, or you won’t feel that you have the motivation or energy to do so. So the challenge is to keep waking up the part of yourself that knows you deserve better.