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  1. #1

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    Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    This is in relation to the Guest Appreciation thread. It asks "Has any guest (that doesn't get to Disneyland as often as we do) ever made you appreciate a weaker attraction by finding all the positives in it?". Some of the responses got me to thinking, and so I decided to start a new thread based on that so that thread can remain open to anectdotes and free from MC's newly rediscovered love of philosophizing.

    A couple of posters who I assume never experienced DL as a child answered that there are a couple of rides (like Storybookland and iasw) that are better seen through the eyes of children.

    I've been going to DL all my life and, taking Storybookland into consideration, I remember as a toddler being so scared of Monstro -- being convinced that he was going to swallow us up for sure. And I remember seeing Storybookland and being totally convinced that I had entered a Liliputian world of Walt Disney fairy tales.

    I was wondering, to those out there whose first visit to DL or one of these attractions was as an adult, do you feel the same wonder that I do when I experience these attractions? As an adult I no longer think that I am sailing around miniturized villages but I still feel that amazwement I did when I first rode the attraction as a child.

    Another example is HM. As a child I was convinced that the ride was fully contained within the mansion facade. But even now I still feel as though I haven't left the mansion even though I know I am in some warehouse backstage.

    And I wonder if ATIS was still around if I would be as equally convinced that I was shrinking down to the size of an atom. Standing in the queue there was no convincing me that the shrunken atombiles you saw in the microscope were not the same atomobiles entering it. When I recently saw video of it I couldn't believe I thought it was real but it does not exist anymore so I have no idea what my reaction to it would be if it were around today.

    So what do you think. Are certain attractions better enjoyed as an adult if the adult was able to experience the attraction as a child? Or do two adults share the experience equally, assuming one of them are experiencing the attraction for the first time?

  2. #2

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    Interesting DIP. For me I was certain ATIS shrunk us down and that we actually hit a train on Mr. Toad. It all comes down to what you are willing to let your mind believe. Nothing annoys me more than adults telling their kids that something isn't real. Knowing that a child is not allowed to use their imagination to try and determine what is real is pretty sad in my book. Isn't it so much more incredible to ask a child what THEY saw? There's what magic is to me, not proving to a child how smart I am but allowing myself to see what that child thinks is happening. Because we all know, perception is reality.

  3. #3

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    None of us will be able to directly compare the experiences of going first as a child to going first as an adult, unfortunately, since no one can do both, but I'm going to hazard a guess that having gone as a child makes things even better, but perhaps not as much as I tend to think.

    My earliest visit was on my third birthday, a trip from which I only have one very nice memory. For most of my childhood, my family would average one single-day trip every couple of years, and they were enormously special to me. My sheer enchantment with the park probably peaked around age ten or eleven, I think...I was head-over-heels in love with the place. Still am, but I can't deny that it's different.

    I have a lot of memories of the park, including attractions, and those memories definitely give more warmth to the experience. Pirates is one of the earliest attractions I went on that I still regularly enjoy, so there's definitely a strong amount of nostalgia wrapped up in there. But if I were to ride it for the first time today...I'd still be blown away by it.

    These days, I know I tend to resist going on rides I haven't been on before just slightly...there's always a risk that I won't enjoy them, and I know I won't have that nostalgic connection (yet). But over the last few years, I've done the Enchanted Tiki Room, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and others, and I've never regretted it. I make a point of experiencing new things on most visits.

    I'm kinda rambling...what's my point? I guess...as much as we all have an inner child, we all lose a bit of that when we're no longer actual children. I think it's nice to experience the park on both sides of the fence or hill or whatever you want to call it. Because while I consistently have an awesome time in the park...I would kill to get to experience the park the way I did as a ten-year-old just one more time.

    Not literally.


    Erm, maybe.


  4. #4

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I certainly believe that your first experience on an attraction effects the way you will perceive it in the future, regardless of how old you are. Personally, the very first time I ride any attraction I don't try to figure out how it works (technical specs and such), that comes later. The first impression, when you truly believe that the boulder might hit you, or the sub is going to the bottom of the ocean, is a lasting one.
    I didn't ride Pirates of the Caribbean until I was about 12 or 13, but the first time I did it was in the early evening, when the sky outside almost matched the sky inside. It never occurred to me that we had gone indoors until the second time I rode the attraction in broad daylight. I will certainly never forget the wonder I felt when we suddenly went from being in the middle of Disneyland to the middle of a pirate battle, and not even considering where the outside world might have gone. Just remembering that I believed in it is part of what makes me enjoy the attraction so much today.

  5. #5

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by FantasmicPrincess View Post
    I didn't ride Pirates of the Caribbean until I was about 12 or 13, but the first time I did it was in the early evening, when the sky outside almost matched the sky inside. It never occurred to me that we had gone indoors until the second time I rode the attraction in broad daylight.
    I rode Pirates with some newcomers a month or so back, and they had a similar evening experience. I mentioned that we were inside, and they were totally blown away. It's just so marvelously convincing.

    I will certainly never forget the wonder I felt when we suddenly went from being in the middle of Disneyland to the middle of a pirate battle, and not even considering where the outside world might have gone. Just remembering that I believed in it is part of what makes me enjoy the attraction so much today.
    It truly is a remarkable thing. The illusion is so complete...it's hard to fathom where you actually are, even when you're intimately aware of the layout inside of the buildings.


  6. #6

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I think if you experience it as a child and 'grow up with it', if you will, you have more apreciation for it. So yes, I think it makes a difference.
    ap·pur·te·nant – adjective: appertaining or belonging; pertaining.

    ...to Disneyland.

  7. #7

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    HUGE DIFFERENCE!!! It also helps to have a loving family that wanted to make you like your day. If you have a dad who hates DL and the whole day he says how stupid it is that will affect how you think of the park too.

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    Well according to my 6-year-old mind (one of my first visits was when i was six) the Matterhorn is an uphill-only fast speed ride, Space Mountain has a flip, and Splash Mountain is winnie the pooh themed.

    Hahahaha XD boy i had quite the imagination.

  9. #9

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I think it depends on the attraction quite frankly. If the attraction is shallow without anything intellectual, visual, or anything else... a childhood memory may not change anything. But an attraction that really makes you think, entertain, inform, etc... you just might appreciate it even more as you get older.

    Adventure thru Inner Space is an attraction I was not able to enjoy as an adult. But as a kid, I was terrified. I remember being shrunk, I remember hating the dark, I remember seeing a giant snowflake and/or eyeball. What I didn't remember was any of the onboard spiel, which I now have the soundtrack to... and it's definitely something I'd like to experience again.

    The kid rides of Disneyland are fun as a child, but even as an adult, completely detached from those memories, I can still find something to appreciate from them.


    Last night I brought a friend to the park who hasn't been in over a decade. He had no memory of ANY of the attractions except for Indiana Jones. We only had an hour so we did Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, and Pirates.

    He was shocked that he enjoyed it all so much. He was under the impression that he has outgrown it all and wouldn't think anything would be as fun now that he's older. But he kept on telling me how fun everything was and how impressed he was with how Pirates look.. especially being a ride from the 1960s.


    So I think in my opinion, having a childhood experience may help, it's absolutely not necessary.

    There are attractions that I really despise, like the Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Florida. But I ask myself sometimes, if I was a kid and enjoyed them... would I have more of a bond to it?


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  10. #10

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I grew up going to Disneyland once a year for many years, and it definitely makes me like the park today. If I went for the first time today, I would despise the phoniness of the place. In any other context, Disneyland's sanitized, saccharine, artificial, commercial aspects would be abhorrent. As it is, they make for the perfect place to visit and be a kid again.

  11. #11

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I really don't have clear memories of most of the first times I rode most of the older attractions. That does a huge impact on me in that in a weird way it feels like I've just always known them. I do of course have a few experiences of first rides on newer attractions at least back to the opening of the new Fantasyland, but those are vague memories, as are anything of FL before that. I can clearly remember the first time on Star Tours, and I absolutely loved it. I followed the construction of Splash Mountain as much as I could, so I definitely have memories of that first ride, and most of the new rides since as well as my first times many rides at WDW.

    I can't really remember ever thinking anything at DL was real, other than the things that are real of course. I was fascinated by the fact that it wasn't real from a very young age and have wanted to be an imagineer since then. Both then and now I'm quite capable of turning that part of mind of and just enjoy the attraction, so in that sense I'm not much different now than I was as a kid.

    I actually appreciate many of the smaller and less thrilling attractions now then I did back when I was a kid. I just have a more refined appreciation for the artistry, the novelty and just the fun of the park. As I now have an AP I can also go to the park and have a good time going on very few attractions, which is something I never would have done when I was younger. Anyway, I don't know if that is anykind of answer to the question, but for me I guess I don't think it makes that much difference but I don't really think I'm exactly normal in regard to this subject either.
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  12. #12

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I think my childhood memories really do have quite an effect on me. It's the same old familiar smells, sounds, and sights that draw me into the rides I've ridden a million times.

    I don't think I'd care as much about Disneyland if it weren't for all of the awesome memories from over the years.

  13. #13

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I definitely believe it makes a difference. I have incredibly fond memories of riding Rocket Rods as a child, and do miss it, although it seems to be one of the attractions that is consistently panned on these boards by those who are much older than me. My parents too, hold little love for the ride, but I thought it was one of the most amazing things I'd ever ridden on when I went to Disneyland.

  14. #14

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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    It is random for me, as I hated Haunted Mansion as a young child. Despised it, wanted nothing to do with it after riding it once or twice.

    Now, I appreciate it as one of the best of not the best themed attraction in any park, anywhere. So the childhood memory has totally 180 degrees different to do with my appreciation and enjoyment of it.
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    Re: Childhood experience of an attraction -- does it make a difference?

    I was always scared of POTC and HM/HMH when I was very small...to this day every time I ride the two rides, I always take extra notice to the things that use to scare me and remember why they scared me.
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