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  1. #1

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    Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    I have done a lot of thought about what makes Disneyland different. After much contemplation, I have come to a conclusion. DL is NOT an amusement park.

    Now, some might think me crazy for that statement, but hear me out before you form a conclusion.

    DL is not an amusement park; it is a “fantasy park.” A fantasy park is different from an amusement park. An amusement park is just a place where you have fun. DL is more than that. At DL, one has fun by having dreams fulfilled. Having your dreams fulfilled, IS fun! Now I know that it sound like this is splitting hairs, but I think that it is the key to DL’s success, and explains why Disney’s management has fallen short on some “Amusement parks” and rides that it has recently designed.

    What is a “fantasy park?” It is a place where you can experience your fantasies. It is where you can have your dreams come true. Want to explore the remote jungle locations? Want to fly to the moon? Want to go back in time and experience the old west or walk down a street around the turn of the century? Would you like to meet Abraham Lincoln? And wouldn’t everyone like to have his or her own castle? Small kids’ fantasies might be to drive their own cars, be swallowed by a whale or chase Alice’s white rabbit.

    Maybe those are not your fantasies. Maybe yours are more of the adult variety. Do you want to achieve world peace and know a world where everyone got along? Or maybe you would just like to experience today the wonders of tomorrow. Or maybe, just for a few hours your fantasy is to escape traffic, bills, crime, trash, ugliness, and responsibility and be a kid again.

    Many have misunderstood DL. Pressler perhaps misunderstood DL the most. He thought that DL was a shopping mall. He thought that Walt Disney was just a genius because he was able to “disguise” his shopping mall so convincingly. Eisner also go it wrong. He thought DL and the other parks were just moneymaking machines, devices to get people to fork over cash for a few pleasurable moments. Walt did not make that either. Eisner might have transformed the parks into that, but Walt certainly did not design it that way. Most modern Imagineers believe that DL is a place where you experience “stories” on rides. Well, DL’s rides do have stories, but that is not at the core. DL rides are wish fulfillment. DL’s rides fulfill people’s dreams. What is imagined can come true at DL. That makes DL a very special place.

    Not understanding this core concept lead you to a dead end when new rides or parks are designed. One just ends up repeating someone else’s concept, like a world’s fair or a movie studio tour, or zoo themed “amusement park.” Once one understands that DL is about having dreams come true, one realizes that there are many more dreams in the world. DL alone could not contain them all. If Disney focused on making fantasies come true, then all of its parks could not contain all the wonderful fantasies that could come to life.

    Now, am I wrong? Do you agree or have I missed something?
    Jiminy Cricket Fan
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    Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    in my book it is an amusement/theme park...my dreams and fantasies are not fullfileld while riding attractions. I do enjoy myself there, but I'm not so immerssed in a "fantasy world" that I forget about reality. I also don't go to relive my childhood or act like a child....I'm an adult and I go to enjoy myself and have fun. However, there are many places i go where I accomplish the same thing. DL is closer and with the AP cheaper though...LOL

  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    I just think of Disneyland as a "theme park", you could call it a fantasy park if you want. But your right, it's definently not an amusement park. I like all of the points you made.


  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Fantasy park. yes. I like it! It's kinda weird because after I went in October, I wanted to write a post just like this but never got around to it. So thanks for saying everything i wanted

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  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Theme Park.....or how about an Escape from the Real World Park?
    Mom, remember, it's not what a person is like on the outside that counts,
    it's what they are like in their HEART!


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  6. #6

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Disneyland is the most elaborate form of theatre human beings have ever undertaken.

    The audience is invited to pass through the proscenium arch or the invisible fourth wall to, then, step onto the stage where members of said audience spend entire days interacting with imaginary characters and fictitious settings and where audience members participate in a series of stories that all relate to each other in order to create a cohesive experience.

  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Walt Disney was a genius of the first order.

  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy999
    Theme Park.....or how about an Escape from the Real World Park?
    I like your idea JiminyCricketFan, however, if one were to say that to have their dreams fulfilled they'd have to see Jurassic Park, then this concept wouldn't totally work.

    That's why I'd lean more towards what the quote above states. Theme parks and amusement parks aren't the same thing, though many don't acknowledge it. As mentioned in this thread, an amusement park is just a place to go have fun. A theme park is like an amusement park, only it has something very magical that is added to it: immersion. Thematical immersion, which is what creates the magic.

    If Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye was not set as an old temple buried deep within a jungle...if the ride was strictly for thrill and there were no visually immersive aspects to it, then one would call it a ride from an amusement park, not a theme park.

    Disneyland is special, I think, because the theme is pushed more than in any other place really...that and it's history. People have a soft spot for Disney, they always have...and it's a fairly global thing, because most everyone raves about Disneyland. It's the feelings that you have walking into the gates that make Disneyland different from any other theme park...it's magical because it's always been intended to be magical. It's really more of a mental thing.

    Most APs can't spend the whole day at Disneyland and fully appreciate the park. I'm an AP myself, and every trip to Disneyland that I have holds a special place in my heart (and I always stay from morning to evening), and the whole place just makes me so happy...want to know why? Because I think about it in those terms...I think about how wonderful it will be to share the Matterhorn with my little cousin for the first time, to spend yet another trip with my boyfriend for our anniversary...basically, Disneyland is what you make it.

    If you go in there with a chip off your shoulder, you won't appreciate it nearly as much as you would at any other time. Yes, bad things can happen at Disneyland and nobody would blame you for getting upset, but most of the time anything that would cause disruption can be easily ignored. I'll see AP families walking together...it's nice that they are spending "quality time" together, but by the looks on the little one's faces, many a time I've been able to tell that they don't want to be there. You can't force the magic to happen. You have to be willing to make it happen for yourself, and if you don't come to the park with willingness, then you're automatically watering it down for yourself.

    Disneyland is loved for many things, so it is special for many different reasons...but if I could sum it up in one small phrase, I'd choose "classic appreciation".

  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan
    DL is not an amusement park; it is a “fantasy park.” ...

    Now, am I wrong? Do you agree or have I missed something?
    I disagree... Part of Disneyland was dedicated to the "hard facts" of America...

    It has become a fantasy park more and more as the optimism of those "hard facts" are being depreciated.

    Nice try though, I know what you are trying to say, and I apreciate it... but I have to disagree...
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  10. #10

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    I think it's more of a theme park then a fantasy park.. Theres tons of fantasy in it, but also tons of stuff that is real, and not fantasy... Also, theme parks easier to say






    ~ Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday tomorrow and fantasy
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  11. #11

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    People often call 6 Flags a "theme park", on accident. There is a big difference between a theme park and an amusement park. I like the idea of a Fantasy Park..

  12. #12

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    I want to address the issue of a "Theme" park. All the term "theme park" means is that there is a theme or unifying idea that is presented at the park. Epcot, Universal Studios, Bush Gardens, and Sea World are all theme parks. Epcot is a "worlds fair" style park. Universal is a movie themed park. Bush gardens is a zoo themed park. And Sea World is a aquatic park. I agree that it is a theme park. If Disneyland is a "theme" park, what is the theme? That is the question I am answering. I maintain that Walt's vision was fantasy, to fulfill dreams.

    Now one quoted Walt's original dedication in which he mentions "the hard facts that created America." I believe what he was referring to way he wanted to represent American history. For example, he did not want to sanitize the history of the west. In the end, though, he did leave out the less desirable things. (Unfortunately, as the years have gone by, succeeding managers removed more of the warts of history. Pirates became less scandalous in their treatment of women. Tree stumps that Walt left to remind people that trees were cut down to build building were removed. A burning cabin representing Indian attack was removed also.)

    Although, I believe that Walt wanted to present history accurately. He ended up presenting more of a "dream" of the past in which the unpleasant things are forgotten. There are no brothels in Fronteirland. Main Street is clean, without the horse droppings of the day. I think that the idealize result of Disneyland's version of history fits perfectly to the concept of fantasy. In fantasy, the difficulties and troubles are forgotten. Only the best remains.

    The successors of Walt Disney have wondered from this concept, not understanding his original intent for Disneyland. Sometimes they have created rides based on Fantasy. Other times they have not:

    Hit: Indiana Jones-- Fantasy of searching for lost treasure
    Miss: Splash Mountain
    Hit: Star Tours-- Fantasy of flying through space and fighting the Empire
    Miss: Buzz Lightyear
    Hit: Toontown-- Fantasy of entering the cartoon world
    Miss: Innoventions

    Now just because a ride is not based on fantasy, does not mean that the ride is not fun. It can be. It is just the vast majority of the rides Walt designed were fantasy rides.

    Disney management has been reproducing the skeleton of Disneyland for Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, and now Hong Kong without really knowing what is special about Disneyland. They reproduce the structure, putting Main Street, the castle and Space Mountain in the right places. Putting the various "lands" around a hub. But those things do not make Disneyland magical. Those things did not make a "Magic Kingdom." What brings the magic is fantasy. What kind of theme park is Disneyland? It is a "Fantasy" park.

    Bottom Line: What makes Disneyland unique and special is its attempt to place guest in fantasy that brings their dreams to life.
    Jiminy Cricket Fan
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    Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Sematics is such a fun thing to debate.

    All-knowing wikipedia says: "The theme park is the modern amusement park, either based on a central theme or, divided into several distinctly themed areas, or "spaces" as is often used."

    I also found this interesting bit of information: "Disneyland was based loosely on Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California and various World's Fairs." (something I did not know)


    The phrase "Fantasy park" would probably describe Disneyland little better than the phrase "theme park", but that doesn't mean that Disneyland isn't a theme park.


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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    Quote Originally Posted by mattjbhs
    I also found this interesting bit of information: "Disneyland was based loosely on Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California and various World's Fairs." (something I did not know)
    OMG! You have just unlocked a hidden memory from my past! This is reeaaally weird.. I was just reading the link about "Children's Fairyland" in Oakland. I grew up in Berkely, CA from the age of about 4 until High School, when we moved back to L.A. I was thinking "gee I have never heard of Children's Fairyland I don't think, and Oakland is so close..." But as I was reading, they described these "recorded" stories activated by plastic keys... and I suddenly remembered going there!! I remember the plastic keys (I think they were yellow) and running up to each one to hear the recording. I must have been about 5. I would have never known where that memory came from if I hadn't seen the Wikipedia entry about it!

    Duuude, I'm trippping....
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  15. #15

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    Re: Disneyland is NOT an amusement park

    I would call it a theme park, or fantasy park, for one reason. None of the rides are meant to be paticularily thrilling, they are just meant to "fill you with joy" (I hate using the cliche) and give you a really great experience that you'll never forget. I remember getting really angry at this people while waiting in line for Big Thunder because they were griping about Space Mountain not being fast enough, they were expecting something like California Screamin'. If they wanted thrills Six Flags has way shorter lines.

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