Disney World Part 1: An Expensive Call to Adventure

I’ve reach the point in my life that whenever I’m asked to go somewhere beyond my couch two immediate questions crash my brain like a motorized-scooter with the throttle open in Rabbit-mode:

  1. Will it be crowded?
  2. Will it be expensive?

If one of those answers “Yes”, I will usually stay home. Because my couch:

  1. Is never crowded.
  2. Is always free.

I wasn’t always like this.

When I was younger–and before my diagnosis–I was quick to leave the couch and answer calls to adventure. From the time I dove headfirst through an open door of a moving limousine and looked up to find a handful of glittery dancers on their way to work in an establishment by the airport or the time I ended up at a Puerto Rican cockfight or the time I sang Brown Eyed Girl to an entire cruise ship. Yes, some of my “adventures” were ridiculous circumstances but they did require me to brave up and leave the known and speed into the unknown.

I also realize that my past adventures required mobility. Right now, I really miss my mobility. I really miss the spontaneity of just going. And, believe it or not, I really miss the ache of sore feet. 

In fact, as I spent nine days in a motorized scooter scooting around Disney World, having people say to me how lucky I was to not be walking, I didn’t feel lucky. All I wanted to do was walk.

It’s not that my disease has progressed so much that I lost my ability to walk. Today, I can still walk. But today, I can’t run or skip or frolic. And today, my disease forces me to think about walking while I’m walking. It’s frustrating and exhausting. It’s like thinking about falling asleep while trying to fall asleep.

Before I left for Disney World, I googled, “What is the average miles walked per day at Disney World?” The internet confirmed guests typically walk 7 to 10 miles per day. I know the Magic Kingdom has coined itself “the Most Magical Place on Earth,” but there’s not enough earthly magic to get me to walk 7 to 10 miles a day.

And so I rented a fully-loaded scooter. Front basket. Cup holder. Cane holder. Because I knew using a scooter was best for me. Even if that meant capturing the magic at 4 miles per hour.

Famed mythology expert, Joseph Campbell, explained that everyone has many “calls to adventure” and our life– our perspective and wisdom– is the sum of whether we had enough courage to give “a big hearty yes to our adventures.” Every Disney movie– ever made–uses this trope. From Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King to Toy Story, answering these calls to adventure is elemental to both the world of Disney and the world of humans.

Whether you’re animated or not, no matter age or health, we must forever continue to embark on adventures to reexamine our lives, gain perspective, and discover new truths about ourselves. And when life gets difficult, when we are the most afraid to answer those calls, is when it’s most urgent to answer those calls. If we stop seeking adventures, stop seeking the magic of the world, we will lose the magic of ourselves.

That is why the nine day trip to Disney World was so important to me.

Yes, I got to spend precious time with my family but it was the call to adventure I desperately needed. I needed to answer it and prove there is still magic in my bones and adventure in my heart.

In case you’re wondering–Disney World is very crowded and very expensive and easily failed my “Do I really want to go?” test. However getting off the couch, out of suburbia proved to me that despite my illness, I still need to answer those calls to adventure. And though my days of diving headfirst into a passing limousine might be over, the desire to seek new adventures rolls on, for all of us, like a fully-charged motorized scooter.

Be well,


Despite relentless rain, Dylan and his team defeated teams from Mexico, Illinois, and Utah to win the soccer tournament!

New Episode: One Line, One Love with Author Dave Kratzke–Episode 8 Turtles, Rabbits, and the Value of Perseverance

If you haven’t heard yet… my friend Gail Boenning and I recently launched a podblog called, One Line, One Love.

OLOL is a unique listening and reading experience that will inspire everyday writers, who dream of writing, to pick up their pens and write one line at a time.

This podblog format (a hybrid of a podcast and blog) is for everyday writers who–like me–often need a creative boost, a scrap of encouragement, and practical advice to unleash the writer within. Each episode consists of five wide-ranging, writer-focused questions and a weekly writing prompt.

Please check it out! And please share with any writer friends or anyone in your life who has ever considered picking up the pen.

Amazon Order Link!

Ordinary Hero is now available in hardback and available, upon request, in local bookstores or libraries, even if your local bookstore or library is in Peru.


Warm greetings to everyone who found me on the University of Pennsylvania’s Ataxia Clinic’s website! Thanks for stopping by. I have ataxia and though I’m not a doctor, I hope my words comfort, encourage, empower, and serve as good company on your journey.


Jay Armstrong is a speaker and an award-winning author. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. The leader of the Philadelphia Ataxia Support Group, he hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life.

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