The Most Magical Place on Earth

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
The Most Magical Place on Earth

As you may have inferred from my not-quite-a-blog post last week, I was spending the week in Disney World—the first time for me since I was a young girl, , and the very first for my children, aged four and 22 months. At that age, the Magic Kingdom is just that—magic. Princesses and Fairies and Castles and Pirate Ships that Fly and Roller Coasters, Oh My!

And while there are likely a thousand entries or more I could write about the trip, I can’t stop thinking about Walt Disney himself, and what a remarkable mind he must have had—not only as a groundbreaking filmmaker and animator, but as a visionary of amusement parks as massive and influential as Walt Disney World and Disney Land. Though he passed away before ground was broken on Walt Disney World, he crafted the initial idea of Disney Land simply as a place adjacent to his movie studio where his employees could enjoy time with their children. After five years of planning and expanding his original vision, on its opening day in 1955 Disney said: “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past.... and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America ... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” I can’t imagine he could possibly conceive of just how true those words would be.

Disney once said: "Somehow I can't believe there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably." 

Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy. Simple yet powerful advice from a man who conceived of, and gave voice to, one of the most iconic figures in American History (Mickey Mouse); who created the first full length animated film (Snow White); who won 22 Academy Awards from 59 nominations, the most of any individual in history; and who envisioned and designed two amusement parks that, fifty years after their creation, see more than 30 million visitors annually.

I think we would do well to remember those four Cs when teaching our youth, when parenting our children, when embarking on a new challenge, when simply waking up to face each new day. Our curiosity fuels our imagination, keeps us students, urges us to expand. Our confidence allows us to chase the dream, make the call, stand in the front. Our courage pushes us forward, sometimes just one tiny step at a time. Our constancy makes us safe to those around us.

On our last night at Disney World we stayed to watch the fireworks, and as an astonishing display of lights and color illuminated the night sky and sparkled off the back drop of Cinderella’s Castle, these words rang out, rippling across the crowded streets:   “Remember, any dream can come true… you just have to believe in it enough.”  And in that moment, I truly believed it—especially since thousands of children were having their dreams literally come true in that moment.

Are you trying to make a dream come true? Are you simply waking up to face another day? Remember to pack your Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy… and a little dose of magic.  


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.