Disneyland — What, and why, is it?

Last week, I went to Disneyland for two days and stayed for two nights at a Disneyland hotel. It was a whole lot of fun, but I can’t help but feel that the whole culture surrounding Disneyland is rather eerie. My sister and mom flew in from Colorado to visit me and set-up the whole Disneyland trip — Andrew and I went not only with them, but my sister’s boyfriend (who also flew in from Colorado) and his mother (from San Fran), my mom’s brother and his wife, and my mom’s old best friend from childhood and her daughter and her boyfriend joined us at various times at the park as well. It was a bit crazy at times, as you can imagine (and Andrew did a good job of putting up with it!). However, it was still a lot of fun. I’ve never spent two days at Disneyland and it was nice — for the first time I felt like we had time to do just about everything we had wanted to do, especially with the help of Fastpasses (they’re essential) and since the park closes at midnight (which we about stayed until both nights!) during the summer. The updated Pirates of the Carribean ride is great with a new animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow (looks just like Johnny Depp!) and I still love my favorite ride, The Adventures of Indiana Jones. Here are some really cute Disneyland (and Santa Barbara — go bannana-split-eating-power!) picts of us all.

But aside from the clear funness of Disneyland, some of it just seems a bit odd. Take Tinkerbell for instance — my mom picked up on this and afterwards I couldn’t help but see it everywhere — Tinkerbell is so often in rather sexual poses. Why is a little winged fairy, a little Disney winged fairy, in such positions? Is it somehow subconsciously attractive to a particular group of followers? I mean, these characters are supposed to be for kids, right? No, not completely — I recently heard an NPR article on how Disneyland actually draws a large following from people in their 30s+ who do not have kids, but often live with their parents still. It makes me wonder what Disney, and Disneyland, really represent — prolonged childhoods? I’m sure that’s part of the appeal, as I’ve often thought it is for Las Vegas too. Then what’s the real difference between Las Vegas and Disneyland? They’re both there for entertainment, trying to show you a good time while artfully separating you from your money, but one appears a lot more wholesome and family-loving than the other.

I know this is a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to toss the ideas out there — I feel there’s something big here that hasn’t fully been explored…

2 Responses to “Disneyland — What, and why, is it?”

Disney is evil! So sayeth the native of Orlando, FL.

Owen - July 11th, 2006 at 9:15 am

wow, I think if you could understand this you could understand much that is at the heart of ‘modern’ American culture… and, indicated by the extent to which Disneyland has been successfully exported, modern culture (worldwide), period. Taking a reckless stab, I’d say it’s a focus on artificiality that pleases…. or, the creation of an artificial environment that is pleasurable. (there’s that parallel to Las Vegas.) The “pleases” and “pleasurable” parts are soooo subjective… they reveal a lot about the culture in which the creation is financially successful….

Meg - August 8th, 2006 at 3:29 pm

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