So, as I mentioned last week: I took Emilia white-water rafting recently. Also, mountain biking. And bear-watching.* Like, in the wild. Some of it (bear-watching) was stuff that I’d done as a kid. Much of it (white-water-rafting, mountain-biking) was not. But it was all pretty awesome. Magical, even.
Magic doesn’t come to mind, usually, when you think about outdoor recreation. I’ve heard white-water rafting described many ways – fun, thrilling, scary – but never ‘magical.’ Ditto mountain biking. Double-ditto bear-watching, which is only magical if it’s storybook bears that you’re watching, and in that case the magic might have been caused by too much black-market honey. But it did apply here, in spades.
Our adventure was a Disney adventure (to be precise, an Adventure By Disney), which is to say, a five-day trip hosted and guided by Disney but involving not a single theme park element (well, it may have involved a castle or two.) And for the first few hours of the trip, I asked myself more than a few times, what made this Disney? But by the time we woke to the sun rising over Emerald Lake – and then, over the course of four days, hit the white water of the Kicking Horse River, stood on the edge of Lake Louise, made snow angels on a ten thousand year old glacier, rode mountain bikes along the Bow River, climbed to the cosmic ray station on Sulphur Mountain, donned flapper-era swimming costumes and floated in Banff Hot Springs, and slept in a castle – I got it. It was a perfectly curated succession of magical moments. It was magical, full stop.
And that’s precisely what made it perfectly, wonderfully Disney – without characters, without parades, without fireworks, without attractions other than the natural attractions that were the mountains and the rivers and the bears – it was all about the magic. It was all about the moments that take you out of ordinary life and immerse you in happiness and excitement and awe. And it was wonderful.
And now all I want to do is work through their whole selection of magical adventures and pull my kids along on the amazing ride that is the whole wide world. And if there happen to more bears along the way, all the better.
*Bear-watching: not that thing that that bear guy used to do before he got eaten by, you know, a bear. Wildlife-spotting, where you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, except that in this case, we were looking specifically for bears. Bighorn sheep, deer – those are easy to spot in the Rockies. Bear, on the other hand, are more difficult quarry. So we were watching for bear. We were, it should go without saying, in a vehicle.
(Disclosure: I’m an employee of the Walt Disney Company, and the site that you are reading is owned by the Walt Disney Company, but I took this trip on my own holiday time and loved it with my own entirely independent and only somewhat biased heart. The bears, to the best of my knowledge, were not employees of the Walt Disney Company, but I didn’t ask them, so.)