Ladies, gentlemen, my dear followers, etc:
Americans— I have confirmed; are indeed fat, loud, and happy. The stereotype is steadfast and there’s no getting around it (especially since its an XXL, ha.)
Anyways, I ventured off to Disneyland a few days ago with my brother for reminiscing, nostalgia, fun, and most importantly as an ethnographer of Americans in what we presume to be the closest damn thing we have to Utopia.
Yes, that’s right people, Disneyland was not created by Walt Disney, no no. It was Thomas More who created this idealized world; with its happy endings, forever afters, zippity-do-dah hoo-hahs, enormous mice we grow to love, and those $4 churros we find completely and utterly irresistible.
Disneyland tries (and succeeds) so hard to make the outside world not just invisible but totally forgettable, so when you re-enter Anaheim, CA you’re taken aback by these ‘modernized’ buildings that lack the aesthetic and charm of the old west, a castle’s foyer, or the hope for tomorrow. In Anaheim, or rather Disneyland, the sky is always blue, the sun is always golden, and the smog of Los Angeles is miraculously hidden behind the ‘distant’ rolling hills of ToonTown.
People within this monopolized Utopia walk, stroll, or (most commonly) scooter around from ride to ride, food stand to food stand, and light show to light show, completely dazzled by the happiness of everyone there. It is not just the young kids that are giggling with excitement but everyone is in ecstasy.
The employees, or “cast members” as they are referred to are seemingly required to not only tell the guests what to do to ensure order and safety, but they must present the information via a series of tragic puns.
The Winnie the Pooh ride for instance: “Ladies and gentlemen, to avoid a sticky situation may you please make a bee-line for the exit!”. Every ride has puns like that, I can’t even remember all the ones they used just from the Winnie the Pooh ride (which for the record is the biggest trip of your life— if you dare ride it!)
TomorrowLand, for the record, is outdated to say the least. The prospects of ‘tomorrow’ for them is along the same thought as “by 2000, we will be living in colonies on the moon, vacationing on mars, and flying hovering automobiles by day, and jet packs by night!”. The only thing they’ve modernized is Star Tours, one of my old personal favorites which now is disappointing. Firstly, they made it 3D and the “space goggles” you a required to wear are…sub-par— please my movie theater has better ones than these.
And then they got rid of the incompetent tour robot who was always having his first day on the job… loved him. Now its C-3PO, psh. And then of course Princess Leia comes in and tells us that “we are her only hope” yadda yadda. We are on a tour! We can’t save you from the republic, and then after we “save the day” or whatever she informs us that we are all rebels now and we’re wanted dead. Gee thanks. As C-3PO puts it “you flea-bitten furball! Only an overgrown mop-head like you would be stupid enough to [ruin Star Tours like that!]”.
So what is it that seduces us into Disney and Disneyland so much? Is it our quest to find all of the hidden mickeys? Or perhaps, one day, being admitted into Club 33? Maybe its the wait in lines that manage still to have character and something inherently Disney about them? It could even be the famous anamotronics or giant character suits that bumble around hoping to avoid heat stroke for another day.
The world where they say “where happily ever after happens every day”, “may your dreams come true”, “let the memories begin”, and most importantly this world truly is “the happiest place on earth”.
(and I put there catch phrase in quotes so hopefully they won’t try and sue me; not only are we a fat, loud, and happy culture— we’re a suing one too!)
((this entry is incomplete as is my evaluation on Disneyland’s fascinating spell it has on me))
So… until then. To infinity and beyond!!