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  1. #1

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    My son's take on Disneyland

    I had an interesting discussion with my son today. Some background: He is 14, has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder, and is highly intelligent. Unfortunately, he doesn't like Disneyland. As we talked, he did admit that one of the reasons he doesn't like Disneyland is the overwhelming sensory input. Understandable. But the other thing he mentioned, without prodding from me, was that he finds the trend of basing everything on a movie limiting for his imagination. He even made the comparison to Universal Studios. I found that interesting since he's not on any discussion forums, and certainly wouldn't be on a Disney one. Of course, that's been mentioned many times before, here. I know that often it's said that many of the views mentioned here are because we're Disneyland fanatics, and we don't represent the "typical tourist." However, although he isn't typical of a standard human being, on his own he came up with the same opinion that many here have mentioned.

    Opinions? Discussion?

  2. #2

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    I am 44 years old. I was born in Glendale and grew up in San Marino, Huntington Beach, and am now living in Newport Beach. I have been going to Disneyland since I was a fetus.

    I have had similar strong feelings about Disneyland as a kid - long before the days of the internet. In fact I remember having to store everything on cassette tapes! IMO when you grow up in So Cal being able to go to Disneyland basically whenever you want, it becomes a part of your life and like everything else you question it's place in your life. You question what it means to you and why does it have that meaning? What makes going there so special and gives one a feeling that they never get at Universal, or Knott's, or the beach, or the mall? Your son's autism has nothing to do with this -- these are natural questions people ask and are quite normal considering the area where he is growing up.

    One thing I would like to point out, I don't know if you grew up in So Cal, but I know from experience that 12-14 is about the right age where local kids lose interest in Disneyland. I did it, and DIP Jr, who is now 14 as well, is going through this same thing. It is just a stage in their adolescence -- they go more for Magic Mountain and Knott's which offer more thrill rides which test their boundaries. But once that phase is over, usually in their late teens to early twenties, they always come back to Disneyland.

  3. #3

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by sbk1234 View Post
    I had an interesting discussion with my son today. Some background: He is 14, has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder, and is highly intelligent. Unfortunately, he doesn't like Disneyland. As we talked, he did admit that one of the reasons he doesn't like Disneyland is the overwhelming sensory input. Understandable. But the other thing he mentioned, without prodding from me, was that he finds the trend of basing everything on a movie limiting for his imagination. He even made the comparison to Universal Studios. I found that interesting since he's not on any discussion forums, and certainly wouldn't be on a Disney one. Of course, that's been mentioned many times before, here. I know that often it's said that many of the views mentioned here are because we're Disneyland fanatics, and we don't represent the "typical tourist." However, although he isn't typical of a standard human being, on his own he came up with the same opinion that many here have mentioned.

    Opinions? Discussion?
    My opinion is that your son sensed what's under the surface.

    I got a call last week from a longtime friend who was as big a Disneyland fan as I was in the pre-Pressler decades. He hadn't visited the Park since the early 90s, and was shocked at how over-the-top, in-your-face, screamin'-in-your-ear pushy the place has become.

    In his day and mine, Disneyland was a mix of fast and slow, loud and quiet, crowded and secluded, movie-based rides and Disneyland originals. Now it's wall to wall sell, sell, sell. Loud background music, bright kiddie colors, L.A. County Fair merchandise, obscene overpricing, sardine-can crowds, indifferent employees, and an undercurrent of corporate cynicism. He and his wife took it for four hours, then bailed.

    "They've killed its soul. We left it with two words: 'never again.'"
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  4. #4

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    When was the last time you went to see an independent film? Most americans (humans really) dont want to think too hard. They go for blockbuster films and like the film tie ins. Disney parks are more popular than ever, they are just fine tuning things to what the public wants. Everything starts out as an experiment, if it works, then they will keep doing it. However most experiments will be derivative.

    Every once in a blue moon someone has a bold vision that really works (like steve jobs with the ipod and iphone) but that is incredibly rare. You also dont see all the bold visions that resulted in failure because they never made it.

    They can take a risk with a movie but theme park stuff is so permanent and expensive it is incredibly risky to take chances there. Instead they take the risk on the movie, then if it is successful, build it into the park. That is a tried and true formula.

    Personally I like the theming.

  5. #5

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    I have been visiting Disneyland since I was about 5 years old. We only went for the day, at least once a year. Our family just loves the parks. That's the only vacation we take since 2008. Many wonderful memories we have made. Oh by the way I will be 46 in June.
    Vintage Jewelry Converted Into Wearable Pieces Visit My Etsy Shop3 Kid Crop Shop

  6. #6

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    My son, 13, has sensory processing disorder. He is always overwhelmed when we first get there. He has told me many times that he goes because his mother loves it there. He waits patiently for the day that we head to Sea World because that is his passion.

  7. #7

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    I love the perception and honesty of kids. Your kid is pretty dialed in. Be proud to be his parent.
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  8. #8

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    That is an impressive thought for any 14 year old. I'm not sure that most would recognize the profit-driven effects on the park. Smart kid!

    I guess I'm just the perfect sucker for Disney's tactics, as I don't mind the movie tie-ins so long as they entertain me. I still feel the "magic" in every visit I make there. I'm grateful for it.

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  9. #9

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    Your son is in good control of his sensory intake, in my opinion. Our daughter is autistic and seems to be normal on the surface. Her sensory intake is also one of her problems. But she loves Disneyland. One thing that she uses is the GAC card. She makes decisions when she wants to use it. It makes her visits more enjoyable for her.

  10. #10

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    Re: My son's take on Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by fifthrider View Post
    I love the perception and honesty of kids. Your kid is pretty dialed in. Be proud to be his parent.
    Thank you!I am always proud to be the parent of my children!

    Bayouguy, thanks for the tip about the GAC card. Definately something to consider. I know it can be very difficult working with our children who have special needs, especially when their uniqueness isn't so readily apparent at first or second glance.

    And KellyMcG86, believe me, it isn't easy raising kids who are smarter than you!

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