John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

The Magic Still Works

Monday morning, I loaded up the family and the family dog and pointed the minivan southeast -- down the 101 -- down the 5 -- into the heart of southern California. We hit traffic just like I suspected, and around 11:30am someone in the back uttered the words, "I'm hungry." "I think there's a McDonald's just off Harbor," I said with a knowing smile.

"Yay! McDonald's! We never get to eat there!"

As soon as we pulled off the freeway, we were inundated with signs pointing the way to the Magic Kingdom. "This way to the Happiest Place on earth!"

My children were so envious of all those people headed into the park, but they were trying to hide it from me. They were trying to just be content with their lunch at McDonald's. They were absolutely not going to let their eyes... wander... over... there... and... wonder... what... kind... of... fun....

After lunch, I turned right out of the parking lot, headed back to the interstate. But then I made an abrupt U-Turn. The kids were still getting settled into their seats, and this sudden change was disorienting to them. What could it mean? Did we forget something? Had we left something at McDonald's?

Another quick right turn into the parking lot for the...could it be?...Disneyland?!

For a moment, there was just an odd silence in the van. No one wanted to be the first to suggest what might be happening -- for fear they might jinx it.

But when they saw the look on my face, they knew. And you never heard a sound like it in all your life!

Disneyland with children is truly wonderful. We walked into the park, and the first thing we saw was a Dixieland jazz band playing on Main Street while Mickey and Minnie danced with patrons. Then it was off to Pirates of the Caribbean. The Haunted Mansion. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The Tea Cups. All topped off by Space Mountain. We rode It's a Small World, and -- upon our exit -- were treated to a fantastic fireworks display -- complete with flying Tinkerbell.

Churros were consumed. The abominable snowman was seen. Rice Crispie treats in the shape of the disney logo (the ears dipped in chocolate).

Lines weren't bad. Weather was perfect. It was idyllic.

At some point in time, I looked around and was stunned by the sheer diversity of the people who are drawn to Disneyland. I stood in line next to people wearing Slipknot t-shirts, tatoos spilling down their arms, studs and rings dotting the landscape of their faces. These people are normally too jaded for fun, nothing is cool enough for them. Yet here they were, laughing and shrieking along with the rest of us. Just beyond them was a family on vacation from Brazil. To their right stood a Hasidic Jew and his family. European tourists mingled with Japanese families. Soccer moms chaperoning their daughters' dance team stood next to a couple who I would bet rode up on a Harley together. I saw a man roll out a small carpet, face Mecca and pray. At least I think it was Mecca, but it looked for a moment like he was praying towards ToonTown.

Let there be no doubt about it: The Disney magic still works. And it works for just about everyone.

It made me think about the crowds you see at most churches. didn't make me think about that at all. It made me wonder why the crowds we see at most churches all look exactly the same. That's what it made me think about. And it made me wonder if the magic of Easter still works.