There are some things in life that I’m willing to travel a great distance to overpay for.
While the list of things isn’t long, it does include a very special frozen delight, found in only a handful of places in the world.
If you’ve never experienced the extreme goodness that is “Dole Whip”, then you my friend are missing out on one of the best parts of a sun-filled vacation.
Dole Whip is a pineapple soft serve offered at only two locations outside the Dole Plantation in Oahu; at Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida.
I know what you West Coasters are thinking,
“If it’s so good, how could I have been to Disneyland so many times and missed it?”
My answer is relatively simple,
“You think that you’re walking past the line for the Not So “Enchanted Tiki Room”.
You see, at Disneyland the Dole Whip is located inside the waiting area for the Tiki Room. Since no returning visitor has purposefully gone into the Tiki Room since 1978, the waiting area is usually vacant… except for a long, single-file line that extends from the Dole Whip cash register, out into Adventure Land.
It’s an easy mistake to make, when you cross the bridge into Adventure Land you’re usually dead set on getting to the Indiana Jones queue. Since the Tiki Room hasn’t been updated since Magnum PI was on the air, your first instinct is to blow past the area.
But let me ask you a question,
“When was the last time you saw a long line of wait-ers that didn’t lead to something really good?”
(Twilight Movies excluded for obvious reasons.)
If you do join the line of Dole Whip wait-ers, you’ll notice two things:
The first is that the people in the line for the Dole Whip don’t really care much about what else is going on in the park. They wait and talk with each other about the Dole Whip. Getting the Dole Whip is one of the main reasons they come to the park.
They won’t go home without it.
The second thing is that the wait actually passes quickly. This isn’t just because the employees are cranking out orders, it’s because many of the people in the line actually think that they are waiting to visit the Tiki Room. When they realize that they are in the wrong line they usually bolt for the real entrance.
They don’t know they are actually going to a lesser attraction.
Upon ordering you’ll have your option of pineapple juice, a cup of Dole Whip, or a combination of both; “the Float.” The only way to fail is to walk away with just juice.
Unless you hate Pineapple, you’ll love it.
The Dole Whip doesn’t just bring me back to the stand, it brings me back to the park.
To stand in a line.
To talk with other fans.
and get the word out.
Which of course brings me to Jesus.
I run into a lot of people who believe that they actually have no interest in Him. Sometimes they are in a hurry to get somewhere, or to get something done. Oftentimes they see the line and, believing it to be for something old, outdated, and cheap, they walk right by.
To get in line for something else.
They don’t know they’re headed for a lesser attraction.
This isn’t typically done because they are stupid, malicious, or ill-intentioned. Quite often they do this because some of the people in charge of “doling out the good stuff” have got a terrible set-up.
I’m learning that when it comes to representing the most important thing in the world, I’m often guilty of making it difficult for people to find the Jesus in what I’m presenting.
Sometimes I do a good job describing “the right kind of life” or the “best way of living”, and people will want to sign on for “fulfillment” or self-actualization.
I’ve seen Christianity sold as self-help or a path to prosperity.
I’ve seen people flock to it for the promise of a spouse or athletic success.
While these things can certainly be side effects of a right relationship to God, grabbing onto Christianity without taking hold of Jesus is actually a worthless endeavor.
Those of you who frequent Disney World in Orlando have seen a different kind of Dole Whip set up.
In The Magic Kingdom you can get the Whip at Aloha Isle AND the Grand Polynesian Resort.
The ice cream stands are clearly marked.
There are multiple lines to stand in.
There are benches and chairs to sit on.
At Disney World it’s easy to understand “what” Dole Whip is, “where” you can get it, and it’s incredibly easy to recommend.
What if the people representing Jesus, made it incredibly easy to understand “who” he is, and “how” you can find him?
Imagine what it could be like if instead of telling others about the “benefits” of Christianity, we began by describing “who” Jesus is, and “what” it’s like to talk with him and hear his voice?
We could be talking about how we find direction, instead of “the importance of having direction”.
Couldn’t this make Jesus easier to find?
Walking around Disneyland with Dole Whip will get you asked about it every time.
If the person has never had it, they’ll ask you what it is and where to get it. If they’ve already had it, or are currently enjoying it, they’ll give you the “head nod” or the “eyebrow raise.”
Walking through life “with” Jesus, as opposed to “for”, can get similar results.
As he removes our selfishness, greed, and pride (the main obstacles people have to Christianity) we get approached by people looking for something fresh and invigorating.
What if, when they looked at our gatherings, they saw long lines of wait-ers,
who were willing to wait for the good stuff,
and loved talking with other fans,
and spreading the word?
We’d probably need to have larger “waiting areas”, with “better access” and “seating options”
…because people are willing to cross great distances when someone is doling out the good stuff.
when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men to myself.”
- John 15:32