A Magical Melody: Connecting Disney Magic from Disneyland to the Therapy Room
I’m a lifelong Michigan resident who has grown up in a Disney Family. My grandparents took my mom as a child multiple times, starting this family love of Disney World. I was a kid who was pulled from school every few years so we could travel with my parents, siblings, and grandparents to Disney. Some of my favorite memories include: campfire sing alongs with Chip and Dale at Fort Wilderness Campground, getting “culture” with my grandma in the countries around Epcot, and riding Big Thunder Mountain!
Just last week, my family and I recently embarked on a magical journey to Disneyland in California. This is a bucket list trip that I have been saving up for, for a few years (thank you gigging money…) It was the kids first time flying, first time in CA (for me too), and first time doing Disney without any additional family members joining. Just me, my husband, and our 12, 8, and 6 year olds. The experience brought joy and enchantment to our family. Unexpectedly it also provided me, a music therapist, with new perspectives on the power of Disney music and its ability to connect with clients in therapeutic settings.
Finding Lessons in the Music:
Disneyland, much like Disney World in Florida, is a realm where dreams come true. Music plays a pivotal role in creating that magical atmosphere. Classic tunes like “When You Wish Upon a Star” to modern hits like “Let It Go,” each melody carries powerful messages. Messages of hope, resilience, and self-discovery. In my therapy sessions, I often use Disney songs to convey these universal themes. I find that it provides clients with a familiar and comforting medium through which they can explore their emotions.
Themes of Love and Acceptance:
Our family trip to Disneyland was a vivid reminder of the timeless themes of love and acceptance embedded in Disney narratives. From the heartwarming tales of friendships in Toy Story to the empowering journey of self-discovery in Moana. Disney stories celebrate diversity and encourage acceptance. It’s wonderful how these narratives serve as valuable tools in my sessions. This allows clients to connect with characters who face challenges, learn valuable lessons, and ultimately find love and acceptance. And, so much of the music is familiar compositional magic too!
The Disney Bubble: A Haven of Hope, Love, and Support:
The concept of the “Disney bubble” is well-known to Disney enthusiasts. It’s that feeling of stepping into a world where anything is possible. Troubles seem to fade away. Similarly, in the therapy room, I strive to create a safe and supportive space for clients—a therapeutic bubble, if you will. By drawing parallels between the magical aura of Disneyland and the nurturing environment of therapy, clients can experience a sense of hope, love, and support as they explore their own journeys.
Discovering Magic in the Everyday:
Disneyland is a place where the extraordinary becomes ordinary. Magic is found in the everyday. Through my Disney experiences, both in the theme parks and in my therapy practice, I’ve learned to help clients recognize the magic in their own lives. By using Disney narratives as a bridge, clients can connect with their inner selves. Their inner strength, resilience, and personal capacity for joy and yearning, bringing a touch of Disney magic into their real-world challenges.
Our family’s Disneyland adventure brought us together in a world of fantasy. I’m inspired also in how it deepened my appreciation for the therapeutic potential of Disney music. From the timeless lessons woven into the melodies to the themes of love and acceptance. Disneyland’s magic has seamlessly transcended into my role as a music therapist. Just as our family found hope, love, and magic in the heart of Disneyland, so too can clients discover these transformative elements within the melodies of Disney. Helping to inspire them navigate their own journeys with resilience and joy.