Disney Magic vs Kingdom Power
By Kay Schultz
This time of year I start thinking of Christmas shopping and I got the idea to give the family a gift of a Disney day. The kids love Disney World and the adults appreciate the vision of Walt Disney – his plans for the parks down to the most minute detail. My mind started rolling. I found myself comparing the Magic Kingdom to the Jesus Kingdom.
First, let’s highlight the Kingdom of Disney and then compare it with the Kingdom of God.
Once we enter the Magic Kingdom we have new names. We are not called attendees or customers, we are now called “guests.” Everything is done to please the guests: bigger-than-life entertainment, illusions, service, safety – all to make and please happy tourists, those happy Kingdom of Disney guests.
There is certainly a measure of conformity. While there, we do it the Disney way: eat Disney food, buy Disney clothes, follow Disney schedules. Why? For a “magical” experience, of course. It is all in the best interests of the guests.
Everyone seems to want to be there. Guests are dressed nicely, smiling and sporting entry wristbands purchased at a rather high cost.
Broad roads lead to Main Street. Guests pour in from cars, monorails and boats. Brandishing maps, plans, schedules, park hops and fast passes, they attack with a vengeance to get the most from their Kingdom visit.
Books, seminars, and even the Disney Institute are available to study how the Disney vision is implemented. Rules are enforced but hardly ever broken – no cutting lines, no trashing, no smoking.
The whole place is a happy illusion. Deception is a built-in piece of the Disney fantasy. Buildings on Main Street are made to look normal height when, in fact, they’re only one and a half stories high. All business, foods, services, employee facilities, vacuums and even the garbage are hidden underground (when you walk down Main Street you’re actually on the second floor of a big building!)
The Magic Kingdom beckons us: “Be Our Guest.” “Come Experience.” “Where dreams come true.”
Let’s compare the Kingdom of God and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Truth is there are so many similarities that I wonder if Walt Disney followed Jesus’ blueprint of Kingdom planning?
First, we, too, get new names. We are called “Christians” in the Kingdom of God. There is also some conformity. We’re expected to do things God’s way and follow God’s rules. We follow Jesus’ teachings on Kingdom concepts, Kingdom principles and Kingdom purposes.
A Christian definitely must want to be there. The price is high. It might cost loss of reputation, family and friends. The entrance road is just the opposite of Main Street – it is narrow with only one way in. Jesus is the door (John 10: 9-10). He is the way in. Jesus’s “guests” are conservative, disciplined and modest as they follow His rules and His plan found in the Bible – God’s compiled instruction.
Jesus’ guests should be happy. After all, the Kingdom of Heaven is promised to be righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Unlike Disney’s kingdom, this Kingdom holds no illusions. Every deceiving thing is stripped away. Jesus insists on transparency.
Moreover, the advertising and marketing plan for this Kingdom is simple. No networking, pyramid schemes, newspapers, social media or billboards in this Kingdom’s advertising strategy. The basic direction to Kingdom followers is: Go into all the world and preach the Good News of the Kingdom – that God so loved the world that He gave his only Son to make His “guests” happy (John 3:16).
So what is the takeaway from this comparison? The question is which Kingdom mentality will you walk in? The Magic Kingdom offers adventure for a day. The Kingdom of God promises adventure for a lifetime. Which will you choose?
I am convinced that Walt Disney was inspired by the Great Kingdom Architect and that Architect wouldn’t mind if His followers experienced a little of Walt’s ”magic” once in a while.