This summer, skip woke Disney and head to our national parks

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Disney has been making news recently by proudly announcing their plans to incorporate even more of the LGBTQ agenda into their brand of “family entertainment.” Before many parents even had a chance to digest this news, our children’s middle school held a Lunch and Learn event titled “Disney’s Redemption” last month. 

The invite was emailed to the students directly and many parents were surprised that two teachers felt the need to host what they called: “A journey through Disney’s recovery from racism and sexism into an age of inclusion.”  Even though this was an optional event, the speed at which this event was put together and offered to the students left me and other parents wondering what exactly was being discussed?

I have been thinking about how to distance our family from what I once considered to be a safe place for entertainment to what might be a better choice for us going forward.  Jiminy Cricket wisely said, “Always let your conscience be your guide” and now I cannot, in good conscience, make plans to go somewhere where our values are being left behind.

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Schools will be out in less than two months and what if we the parents redirected our vacation destination, our time and money from Disney to our nation’s national parks?

Cooke City, USA - September 17, 2011: Yellowstone National Park Sign (U.S. National Park Service) along the North East Entrance Road. 

Cooke City, USA – September 17, 2011: Yellowstone National Park Sign (U.S. National Park Service) along the North East Entrance Road. 

Many of us have wanted our kids to have the Disney experience and we have bitten the bullet and traveled to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida or to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Did you know that we have 63 national parks that are in the most beautiful and unique regions all over our country, one might be only an hour or two from your home?  

I have been to several of our national parks and perhaps you have too? I remember looking up at the 300 ft Sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park in California and feeling like we had traveled back to prehistoric time.  The oldest tree is said to be 3,266 years old. 

Karin Ruhkala in Redwoods National Park in California with her mother Linda and brother Daniel in February, 1980.

Karin Ruhkala in Redwoods National Park in California with her mother Linda and brother Daniel in February, 1980.

Then, in nearby Yosemite National Park we experienced the solitude and permanence of the towering granite rock walls and the thunderous movement of water cascading down over 5,000 feet from Yosemite falls. Standing on the valley floor gave me a more realistic perspective about myself – we humans are not so big and powerful as we imagine. 

Karin Ruhkala visits Yosemite National Park in California with her brother Daniel, mother Linda and father Tom in October, 1979.

Karin Ruhkala visits Yosemite National Park in California with her brother Daniel, mother Linda and father Tom in October, 1979.

Karin Ruhkala on another family trip to  Yosemite National Park in the summer of 1989 with her brother Daniel, sister Liisa. 

Karin Ruhkala on another family trip to  Yosemite National Park in the summer of 1989 with her brother Daniel, sister Liisa. 

I also remember driving to Denali National Park in Alaska to see North America’s tallest peak, at over 20,000 feet.  Denali dominates the landscape dwarfing the “normal mountains” in its vicinity. 

Karin Ruhkala and her father Tom, brother Daniel, mother Linda and sister Liisa on a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska in August 1984. Denali peak is seen in the background.

Karin Ruhkala and her father Tom, brother Daniel, mother Linda and sister Liisa on a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska in August 1984. Denali peak is seen in the background.

Karin Ruhkala at Chulinta Overlook in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska with her brother Daniel, sister Liisa and father Tom in late August, 1989.

Karin Ruhkala at Chulinta Overlook in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska with her brother Daniel, sister Liisa and father Tom in late August, 1989.

The momentary thrill of being jerked out of a fake Matterhorn for a quick, wet landing does not begin to awaken the senses like nature at its finest. 

US NATIONAL PARKS GET RENOVATED THANKS TO THE GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOOR ACT 

Having an employee dressed as a safari guide cracking jokes and pointing out motorized monkeys and elephants on a fake river fails in comparison when you get to see a real grizzly bear and her cubs or a 1,500 lb bull moose cross the dirt road in front of you inches from your car. 

Disney World Castle in Orlando, Florida.

Disney World Castle in Orlando, Florida.
(iStock)

You would think the progressive left would embrace being out in nature and maybe they do?  However, instead of encouraging us to get out there and enjoy nature, they angrily blame us for destroying the world with our everyday activities. In fact, when you listen to their rhetoric, they would consider the world to be a better place without any people in it at all!

The left has created a religion and their congregation chants: “climate change” whether it’s too wet, too dry, too cold, or too hot!  Much of their wish-list solutions for this challenge have crippled our domestic energy production and made the world less safe. 

Please don’t think that I am anti-conservation. We need to have regulations to ensure clean air and water and to manage our resources wisely. But where has this latest fervor come from where people are the ultimate enemy?

I like what Walt Disney said himself: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”  Plan a trip to explore one of our national parks, leave the politics behind and embrace real beauty and splendor.

It has been reported that some of the climate activists are in fact funded by Russian government interest groups. This makes good political sense for our adversaries. Weaken your enemy (the U.S.) by emphasizing a concern or manufacturing even a greater threat. This divides the country and today the current result is: We are no longer energy independent let alone exporting energy to our allies.  

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It’s plausible that Russia might very well have been covertly working to undermine U.S. and European fossil fuel production so that they could dominate the market and be able to fund their military expansion.  The lie that our gas prices are twice as high today vs. when Biden took office “because of Putin” only shows how desperate and disingenuous our administration is at solving this problem and how stupid they think we are. 

I made a rookie mistake the last time we went to Disneyland. I thought it would be fun to take the family, for a special day, during the week between Christmas and the New Year’s. I remember convincing myself it would be worth it because “the Christmas decorations will be up!” 

Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
(iStock)

I know, how dumb was that?! It would have been better to light a match to $1,500 and spend the day in Ventura with my parents and kids. Besides, what is more fun than running on the beach and eating at The Jolly Oyster as the sun sets? 

We stood in lines and tried to manage the kids’ expectations but only got on 3 rides that day.  The anxiety it took to endure that day was exhausting. It was not the happiest place on earth, and it certainly didn’t live up to the motto: Where dreams come true.   

Before all the Disney fans cancel me, I acknowledge that visiting Disneyland can be enjoyable. Many happy family memories are made at their theme parks each year. But what if we introduced Americans to a better option considering Disney’s far-left agenda? 

I like what Walt Disney said himself: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”  Plan a trip to explore one of our national parks, leave the politics behind and embrace real beauty and splendor.

I have another memory of hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and spending a night at Phantom Ranch. That experience was a lesson in wise preparation and endurance. I found out that I could do more than I thought! 

Karin Ruhkala and her father Tom, sister Liisa, brother Daniel at the Phantom Ranch inside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona in February, 1990.

Karin Ruhkala and her father Tom, sister Liisa, brother Daniel at the Phantom Ranch inside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona in February, 1990.

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After a 10-mile hike down to the Colorado River from the South Rim, I have never tasted better homemade stew and cornbread. When you attempt some of the physical challenges our National Parks present, the reward is greater appreciation for the world we live in and for our own ability to overcome challenges.

So, whether it is because you disagree with where Disney’s woke path has taken them or because you, like me, want to enjoy the unrivaled beauty of America and engage is some outdoor adventure with your family, there isn’t a better time than now to plan your own summer trip to one of our national parks.  

Mojtaba Sadira

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