So many of you know that I have just returned from a family trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Of course, I returned home twice as tired as when I left and brought a head cold and swollen feet back with me. In spite of these minor inconveniences, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation and have added many wonderful memories to my heart that money canít buy. Itís a little cliche, but for me, a family trip like this is like those credit card commercials. They say: ďOne Mickey Mouse Apron; twenty five ninety nine, eight bottles of ice cold water; eighteen dollars and fifty cents, six frantic days spent with the kids; priceless!Ē
One interesting aspect of spending time with a group of adults in an experience rich environment was how each person can have such a different perception of the same exact attraction. Often times after each ride or show we would gather and compare notes as to what we enjoyed or disliked. I was intrigued by the diversity of opinion and also the way different individuals noticed some things that others missed entirely. For instance, on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Captain Jack Sparrow has been subtly added to several scenes since the popularity of those movies has grown. This addition is fairly recent, as the movies were spin-offs from the Disney ride and not the other way around. However, even as we move rather slowly through the ride, I was convinced that Captain Jackís cameo could be found in at least four spots while my husband insisted there were only three. Upon riding it the second time, we confirmed that it was indeed three, but Captain Barbosa was also added to a scene which might have been what confused me.
Disney has a reputation for its attention to detail and therefore just your position in a ride vehicle can change your perspective on certain attractions. When we sat in the front seats on the Dinosaur ride at the Animal Kingdom, I never saw the menacing Carnotaurus looming overhead in the very final scene. This thing is enormous! It must be eight feet tall and six feet wide and it drops down like itís getting ready to gobble you up just as you finish the ride and head back to the modern age in your time machine. How could I miss it? Itís very strange, but when we rode it again, I was in a back seat and sure enough, there he was, drooling and snarling and even I was amazed that I never saw it the first time around. How curious.
Even in less distracting situations, our experiences were very varied, depending on our location or our personal focus for the moment. On the one bus ride back to our hotel, I was sitting right next to a large burly tattooed gentleman in a pleated orange skirt. This particular apparel choice was so unusual that I found it difficult not to stare at him. But what amazed me even more was that after we had disembarked and walked safely out of earshot, I asked if anyone else had noticed this particular guest and some of our group had not. I found that quite odd, but then again, I was in such close proximity to him that he attracted my direct attention. Easy to see how others could be focussed on their fatigue, or their phones or the next item on the schedule.
This unique observation of how different people in the same setting, sharing a common experience can still have very separate memories about that experience made me think about the Bible. The first four books of the New Testament that we call the Gospels are testimonials about the ministry of Jesus by four different eyewitnesses. Although bearing many parallels, still each one is unique.Each one describes variations and personal observations that differ from the others, though often describing the same general scenes. This to me brings validation to the authenticity of these accounts. If they were all identical, it would suggest a conspiracy of sorts to present corroborating details. Instead they are proven true by the proof of perspective. We each perceive the same events through our own filter, and describe these perceptions accordingly. I think thatís pretty cool!