Going To Disney More Than Once Ruins The Magic

Going To Disney More Than Once Ruins The Magic

If you can dream it, you can do it. And by do it, I mean go somewhere else.

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While I do understand that it is "the most magical place on Earth", how many times can a human being visit the same place? Don't you get bored?

I have been fortunate enough to travel to both Disneyland Paris and Disney World in Florida. I vividly remember both. My parents were of the mindset that they would take all of their children when we were old enough to remember it. I grew up thinking that Disney was a place that was magical, and thus for that very reason, you only visit Disney once, otherwise, it takes away from the specialty of the experience.

Veni. Vidi. Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered, and now I have no desire to return (until maybe I have children of my own.)

I did all the wonderful things that are associated with Disney. I relived my childhood by chasing around the park searching for Winnie The Pooh and dined with all my favorite princesses. I got the signature of each character I met and took pictures like it was going out of fashion.

I've done the calculations – it is by no means inexpensive to travel to Disney and obtain tickets to each park and stay in the hotels. Not to even mention the other million extra things you can add to your experience. Which brings me to the conclusion that people return to Disney because they actually want to. Millions of people save their hard-earned money each year only to spend it on a vacation that they have been on countless times before.

My mind is blown.

Don't even get me started on Epcot – has anyone actually thought that you can actually visit the places that are displayed in the park? Why on earth would you have "tea in England" when you could literally buy a plane ticket to Heathrow and have an English Breakfast tea while overlooking the Thames.

I can guarantee that experience will be a thousand times more 'magical' than being in the actual location rather than Orlando, Florida.

Obviously, while I know not everyone has the financial means to travel all around the globe, why would someone willingly return to the same place year after year? Here's a thought, why not use that money to travel around the continental US?! The beauty of this country is that the culture differs from state to state.

I often find myself having this conversation with my peers, and there are two kinds of people that I run into in retaliation: the ones that agree with me and the ones that listen to my perspective and still think I am a psychopath.

I am genuinely curious into knowing what this obsession with Disney is, so if you feel as though you can convince me otherwise, please let me know.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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I Went Paragliding In The Swiss Alps, And It Was Nothing Like I Could Have Ever Imagined

When I woke up in the morning, did I expect to be strapped to a Swiss lady named Judith, and then consequently run down a steep hill at full speed? Nope.

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A lot of people have asked me how my spring break was, and I only thought it would be appropriate to sum up through my paragliding experience.

Paragliding in Switzerland is like football in America. You grow up hearing about it, your brother plays it, and even though you don't really understand the rules sometimes, you are a groupie anyway. Interlaken, especially, is known for paragliding.

Interlaken is a small town in the middle of Switzerland and in the middle of the Swiss Alps. If you take a 30-minute train ride, then you will find yourself close to one of the highest points in Europe. This place is absolutely insane. Like, "pinch me, is this real? I must be dreaming!" insane. Since this place is in the middle of the Alps, there are many opportunities to drive up random mountains, and run down them at full speed with a piece of cloth and a bunch of strings attached to you, because why not!!

So, here's what happens. You register online through a website that has a lot of capital letters and exclamation points, and you arrange a pickup spot where a guy in a van comes and tells you to get in. You then drive up a mountain for about an hour, while a guy with a thick accent and a good sense of humor explains to you how, when you get to the top, you are going to be strapped to an experienced paraglider and then you will collectively run down an extremely steep hill before you become lifted up and air bound.

This is exactly what happens. I was strapped to Judith, and Judith yelled "3, 2, 1, go!!" and I started to run down the steepest hill I have ever seen in my life, at full speed, until I eventually got lifted up, and there I was- air bound in the middle of the Swiss Alps, with a setting that seemed photoshopped.

That was my spring break. When I signed up for paragliding, I didn't expect to be told to run down a steep hill. I didn't expect it to be snowing at the top of the mountain. I didn't expect it to be as impactful as it was. But that's how traveling is. It's surprising, it's enlightening, and it will, quite literally, lift you off of your feet.

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