The Path of 20,000 Dreams

Just outside of the Magic Kingdom lies a beautifully manicured sidewalk which leads to absolutely nowhere. Despite being passed by millions upon millions of visitors arriving to the House of Mouse on the monorail, about the only time this path sees any activity is when a guest mistakenly believes it will take them to the neighboring Grand Floridian Resort. A canal which houses the nightly Electrical Light Parade eventually reveals their mistake, sending the guest back to the monorail murmuring a few choice words at Disney for installing such a pointless sidewalk. In their frustration, however, they will no doubt miss the true reason behind this path and the thousands of dreams that pass beneath their feet.

Disney Walk Around the World

It was boredom that lead me down this sidewalk to nowhere, when the hoard of tourists waiting to get in the Magic Kingdom destroyed my dreams of a peaceful early morning stroll down Main Street. I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I hatched this plan - "peaceful" and "Magic Kingdom" don't really mix well together - but since I needed to kill a few minutes, a walk down this path which fronts Seven Seas Lagoon was a good substitute. Over an hour later, I was in no hurry to leave.
Disney Walk Around the World

The story of this path goes back nearly 20 years, when Disney started a program called "Walk Around the World." The idea was a path circling the Seven Seas Lagoon filled with bricks that guests could purchase to commemorate their visit, or any number of life events. The walk was never fully completed - part of me wonders if the Imagineers forgot about the parade canal - but thousands of bricks were sold and placed in various corners surrounding the Magic Kingdom, including the path to nowhere. The cynic will say that only Disney could make a few million bucks from a sidewalk that doesn't go anywhere, but anyone without ice in their veins will likely see the path in a different light.
Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

As I sauntered down the sidewalk, the distortion field surrounding the Magic Kingdom faded away. The sounds of crying babies and screaming parents were replaced by early morning bird songs and a few horns from boats on the lagoon. The monorail flew overhead countless times, and a few kids waved at the strange man walking alone on a sidewalk to nowhere. This was easily the most tranquil place in all of Walt Disney World, and yet all that stood between serenity and chaos was a few yards and a giant row of hedges.
Disney Walk Around the World

What captured my attention for so long, wasn't just the peaceful surroundings, but the plaques for which the walk was originally created. Each block carried a special message; a memory or celebration that was literally etched into stone at Walt Disney World. The further I walked, the more curious I became about these memories, the people behind them, and where they might be today.

They came from near....

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

And far...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Celebrating new love...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

And old love...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Commemorating life's great events...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Lifelong friendships...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

And cherished vacations...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Some have been lost with time...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

While others have clearly been refurbished by their owners...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

A few even came from my hometown...

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Eventually, I came to the end of the path at the edge of the canal, and took a seat on one of three benches that probably had not seen a visitor in weeks, months, or maybe even years. Having spent over an hour reading the dreams and memories inscribed on these stones, it was hard not to reflect on a few of my own. The annual family trips, the major life events - i.e. my wedding - and the dream to introduce this special place to my nephew one day, all brought a connection to these strangers that I'll never meet but that shared one very big thing in common: a love of Walt Disney World.

Disney Walk Around the World Bricks

Say what you will about Disney and their artificially created dreams, when it comes to the magical ability of this place to make them come true there is definitely strength in numbers. Roughly 20,000 on the sidewalk to nowhere alone, and still millions more that are etched into a metaphorical stone, never to be forgotten. 

Enjoy Your Stay