A few semesters back I helped a classmate with her CA history project. The assignment was to write about a historical landmark or critique an institution relating to local history and present to the class. Together we crafted a pretty snazzy presentation about DCA, I even through in a 3:00min montage of the park. After the presentation we toke questions, possibly the most jarring and irrelevant question was saved for me; the Disney aficionado. A kid asked, “Why are the rocks so fake? I mean you go to Knott’s and they are, like, rocks.” I guess the person was asking why everything seems manufactured to the degree of obviousness within the Disney parks.
Over time I’ve heard the same question crop up in various forms by people that find Disneyland to be either a guilty pleasure or obscenely contrived. To answer my classmates question I could only state that Knott’s does in fact have “like, rocks” But Knott’s also prominently features exposed fiberglass shells on many of the attractions that utilize synthetic rockwork. You can also find fake evergreens sprinkled throughout the park. This sense of sub par craftsmanship is not exclusive to Knott’s; Universal also boasts fake show elements. I came back from Universal Studios today after going for the first time ever this march. On this visit I've noticed some less than obvious "Visions of forged theming" such as a plasticy wood door or nearly cardboard castle. Between Six Flags, Knott’s, and Universal one might say they universally share hideous attempts at theming. But Disney gets the bad rep. Can anyone tell me how DL earned this reputation? Does it even deserve its reputation for being phony?