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  1. #1

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    Disneyland Culture Shock

    I may get majorly flamed for this... Let me be clear, though. I don't think the things I'm going to say are applicable to the vast majority of people who frequent this board and who buy into the values that DL represents.

    Just got back from living the better part of this year abroad. Went to Tokyo DL, Disney Sea and HKDL several times. Then, went to Disneyland Anaheim last night after getting home a few days ago.

    Having been out of the country for an extended period, I really saw DL with new eyes. I have to say it... Compared to the Japanese and Chinese crowds at the Tokyo and HK parks, we are, as a whole, a considerably lower-class lot. My lord, it was honestly shocking, and I don't shock easily. Can't tell you how many times I heard the F-Bomb dropped loudly with no regard for who else might be within earshot. Can't tell you how many times I saw highly innapropriate, over-sexualized behavior. Can't tell you how many times I saw really inappropriate dress. Can't tell you how many times I saw really confrontive, aggressive behavior. Can't tell you how many times I saw and heard really ill-behaved kids go unchecked by any adult.

    I've always thought that DL represents the best American aspirations and brings out the best in Americans. If this is the best we have to offer, we're in trouble.

    The opinion of Americans and the US in most Asian media these days is that we're a society and international power very much on the decline and that we, by our own doing, are becoming less and less relevent to the international community these days. From what I saw last night, I have to wonder if they might be right.

    So to bring it home, I have to wonder if DL should impose some tighter restrictions on dress and behavior. I don't know how DL management would pull this off, given the concerns with attendance and financial solvency. I'm not saying that I think we can reverse this "Fall of the Roman Empire" in the US, so to speak, by cleaning up behavior at DL, but you have to start somewhere. I think it's healthy for a society know and respect that there are some places where they have to adhere to high standards, and DL is a great place to start re-instilling that awareness.

    Ok... I'm done.

    BTW, Disney Sea... Freakin' amazing. Easily the best designed Disney park. Loved it.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    I completely agree with you. While it doesn't apply to all I know what you're saying. I was fortunate enough to spend a day at Disneyland Paris in 1998. Having lived my entire life in California I've been to Disneyland more times than I can count. However in Paris it's a completely different type of crowd. And I think that it's only gotten worse here. There hasn't been one time in the past few years that I've gone to the park without running into a bunch of idiots who don't care what they say or do or how they're affecting those around them.

    I know this is a small number of people out of the entire park, but it's those people you remember and those people that stand out. Nice topic!

    And now I'm done ranting.
    Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it the four beers you had at DCA, hmmm?








  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Also didn't Disneyland once impose some kind of dress code? Are there rules of conduct that should be posted? Maybe at the security entrance or the main gate? Give it a zero tolerance policy and kick these people out. I'm sure most think that the friendly Disney park employees can't so much as look at you, but have security escort them somewhere out of view and then out of the park. Start making examples and maybe this won't be so much of a problem.

    Might be a little extreme and I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but just stand in line next to these people, or try to ride something next to these people.

    I'm curious to see what other ideas people may have that would be just as effective but maybe a little less militant.
    Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it the four beers you had at DCA, hmmm?








  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    The term "ugly American" didn't come about for no reason. There are many times when I am ashamed by my fellow American's behavior. There are always exceptions to this but many Americans have this "It's all about me" attitude. It doesn't matter if what they say or do offends someone else. I think that it getting worse and it saddens me.

  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    I agree as well. It seems people are acting more and more low class. I think it's from watching to much TV. They see that type of behavior, think it's cool or funny and try to immulate it....or maybe it's lack of parenting since both parents usually have to work leaving the kids to be raised by daycare..IDK... American behavior can be very embarrasing.

  6. #6

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Quote Originally Posted by Jables View Post
    Also didn't Disneyland once impose some kind of dress code? Are there rules of conduct that should be posted? Maybe at the security entrance or the main gate? Give it a zero tolerance policy and kick these people out. I'm sure most think that the friendly Disney park employees can't so much as look at you, but have security escort them somewhere out of view and then out of the park. Start making examples and maybe this won't be so much of a problem.

    Might be a little extreme and I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but just stand in line next to these people, or try to ride something next to these people.

    I'm curious to see what other ideas people may have that would be just as effective but maybe a little less militant.
    When my dad was stationed in San Diego and went to DL in the mid 60s and they did have some kind of rules on guest appearance.When him and his Navy buddies were walking in a couple of "hippies" were getting refused entry to DL since I guess they had long hair etc.

  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    I agree 100% with you. As an artist I tend to look at society with a different set of eyes. I honestly believe that our culture is more barbarian like than anything else. We tend to favor low art such as Tattoo art, cartoons, comic books, graphitti art and such than more higher forms of art like Paintings and sculptures. We are more into video games, television and movies than we are into plays and productions. Our heroes are Snoop Dogg and not any great revolutionary or thinker. Truth is, I can see why the Terrorists hate us.
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  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    As a "world traveler" myself...I sadly have to agree with NDnation.

    It's a hot-button and touchy subject because in the politically correct country we've gotten ourselves into these days...it's ripe for appearances of racism, elitism, and just plain cultural and political class differences. But I'll risk being flamed and attempt to add my opinions based on having been able to see first-hand the changes (and their results) I've seen at Disneyland and The Walt Disney Company over the many decades.

    I think the problems and differences we see now vs. then...are directly related to the lower educational levels of the general populace we are seeing in this country. This problem is much too big for Disney and its Parks to deal with on their own. But they can do more on their part not to contribute to this decline by catering and sometimes even encouraging this "dumbing down of America."

    However, contrary to some...my attempted solution as it regards to Disneyland, would not place so much weight on any sort of uber-strict dress code. I think some beefing up of that is not unreasonable. But I don't think that really goes to the core problem that Disneyland is creating for itself and experiencing right now.

    My suggested solution would be for current Disney management to quit catering to this "lower-class" (for lack of a better term) segment by continuing to "dumb down" Disneyland from what it used to represent...to what its becoming today.

    Focus less on the quick and cheap thrills, and more of the educational and/or inspirational elements that Disney attractions used to be famous for. The type of attractions that not only were great fun...but were informative or inspirational in some way additional way.

    Disneyland used to be vastly different than the competition. And management had the confidence that if they designed and built the best and most interesting attractions and exhibits that were not only fun, but often very educational...that the crowds would not only come...but they would leave feeling that they experienced something special...something different...something more fulfilling on a mental level than the average amusement park. And the Company could be proud that their Guests might leave the Park with at least enough new information or new-found interest in something...that they might go home and look into expanding on something new they experienced or discovered at the Park. Rather than just run home and say, "Let's go buy that Pirates of the Caribbean DVD and watch it again!"

    Disneyland was always aware of the competition, but it was never afraid of it. And rarely did it attempt to duplicate it. Disneyland was in a different class. It was practically alone in its own league! This "dumbing down" of Disneyland and taking the "cheap way" and not giving their Guests the best that they know they could easily and still profitably offer...has brought them down closer to the competition to where they now aren't as different and have left their own league to have to play in the lesser more populated one. They've closed-the-gap between themselves and the competition to where they find they now have to compete more!

    IMHO, many in Disney and Disneyland management simply do not have the long range vision and confidence to say to themselves, "If we do it right...they will come...and they will reward us with great business...and we will be giving our Guests the very best of entertainment and education that Disneyland was always famous for."

    But if all you care about is increasing ROI for investors even though you continue to make record profits year after year and pay your executives bloated and outrageous bonuses to the point that you're not reinvesting back into the Parks and your front line Cast Members...and your solution is to build and operate on-the-cheap and adjust your product and marketing to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest common denominator...well, much worse than attracting what some might call a worse market segment...you won't be attempting to appeal to those Guest's cultural or educational growth! And that's really counter to the bigger picture that Disneyland used to represent. And on top of that...you just might find that the (again, for lack of a better term) higher-class folks that used to enjoy and frequent the Park...start staying away.

    Those of us in the business of this have long talked about these sorts of issues facing Disney these days. Some say its inevitable because the entire population is "dumbing down"...is less educated...more polarized. And that Disneyland just has to react to that. Roll over and play dead as it were. Go with the flow.

    But I don't think that at all. I think that if you build the highest quality product and build it for the highest common denominator while still keeping it fun and entertaining for all...that you'll find a Disneyland that brings out the best in people of all classes and types just like Walt knew it would...and you'll see folks within the Park conduct themselves better in reaction to the quality and class that surrounds them.

    Build and operate it right...and more people will just naturally dress and behave better! Just like when Walt was warned people would litter the place and waterways. He responded by saying something like, "If we build it right and keep it fresh and clean and friendly...folks won't do that. It'll bring out the best in people."

    And he was right.

    It did bring out the best in people. More Guests back then even felt that Disneyland was their place! Like it was up to them to help keep it clean! Some still feel this way. But no where near like it used to be.

    What really upset me as being an insider to some things at Disney...is seeing and hearing things like, "Well...we have to design and build more into it at Paris/Tokyo...because the Guests aren't so...well...they're better educated over there. They're going to expect and demand better." Those kinds of comments and actions are very depressing to hear...and reflect the perceived and/or real conditions of the state of the educational level of the general populace in our entire country. And I'd like to see Disney do more to correct that situation, rather than just react and cater to it.

    IMHO.
    Last edited by Opus1guy; 12-10-2006 at 02:08 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Woot!! Great post Opus1Guy!
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  10. #10

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Can a place like Disneyland enforce a dress code without being accused of some type of discrimination? Can a business use a dress code for customers?

    I also have to say I'm surprised! I thought more people were going to rip me a new one on this! GREAT topic!
    Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it the four beers you had at DCA, hmmm?








  11. #11

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    I also have to say I'm surprised! I thought more people were going to rip me a new one on this!


    Just have some patience.


  12. #12

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Well, a resturaunt imposes restriction, no shirt no shoes no service - there is no smoking - BUT can DL restrict the type of clothing or a certain way of experessing yourself in the park. I'm sure if someone was yelling loudly they can escort that person from the park, or if someone was being destructive to the park they could be arrested, but with lawsuits the way they go now, if there were restrictions of dress, say no shirts with profanity on it - who to say what is profanity? I can think of some things but that would go against certain freedoms and you know that this person would sue the heck out of the company and then all kinds of stuff will happen.

    I've lived all over the world, I will say that people are friendly in this country BUT when I've lived on the economy in other countries in the places that I was you were in the community, you were welcomed by neighbors, here you are scrutinized, they want to see how much money you make, what kind of toys you have, etc.

    Granted freedoms are different say in European countries (some TV programs shown during prime time would knock you socks off!) but in general I would say that in the places I've lived, the other countries on a day to day living were a whole lot nicer than here - sort of like stuck in the 50's mentality - it would be nice to have the best of both worlds

  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    I agree with NDNation and Opus1Guy completely.

    As a 19-year-old college student, I personally find the apathy in this country and political correctness to be immensely distressing.

    Its upsetting that anything that has a dress code now days is regarded as "elite" and not for the general public. Since when can't the general public have some class? Unfortunately, in this day and age, Disney has been pressured to strip down their dress code and simply not enforce it for the majority of instances because people find any little thing to be discriminatory or lawsuit-worthy. Political correctness, and trying not to offend people has paralyzed this country.

    No doubt, there are cases where political correctness is more along the lines of acceptance and stifling ignorance, but when PC is filtered into theme park attractions and dress codes well, its upsetting.

    Summertime is the most horrendous of all seasons at Disneyland. Clothes become less, more skin is exposed with short skirts or loose muscle shirts. I can understand that people want to be comfortable at Disneyland, but I wear long pants (typically jeans) year-round and wore long-sleeve button-down shirts to Disneyland several times this past summer and didn't feel any less comfortable than I would have if the sun was beating down directly onto my skin, allowing it to burn. The need for more skin, less clothes is unfounded and the trend does nothing more to put the people buying into the trend at a higher risk for a nasty sunburn, and even worse, skin cancer.

    As for the dumbing down of America - it's sad. I'm 19, I haven't travelled abroad, but I can acknowledge the facts. I see it constantly. From places like college art classes, to training newhires at work - people are getting consistantly more "dumb."

    Common sense is no more, the spelling out of common and simple tasks is the norm.



    I've probably gone off topic, but to conclude, I don't think it's unfair for Asian or European countries to comment, or even mock, our "dumbing down of America." When one of the world's most powerful nations can continue to blindly support a government that is doing little to help the nation rather than its own agenda, and when a nation is so consumed by political correctness, and when a nation has such a problematic education situation... I think it may not be too surprising that we're losing favoribility or respect from other world powers.

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  14. #14

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to be a fine establishment that is equivalent to a fine hotel or a fine restaurant. Then, Paul Pressler happened. All of a sudden, Disney's zero tolerance for behavior that is less than decorous was replaced with a retailer's idea of customer service.

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    Re: Disneyland Culture Shock

    We also have to remember that we're dealing with a company that's trying everything BUT actually fairly compensating their theme park employees. So where would something like theme park etiquette fit in?

    It is unfortunate that behavior is on the down slide. It's all about "me" and a classic example of "me behavior" is at the beginning of each trip. Take a look at the power-walkers who have no problem cutting you off in the PARKING STRUCTURE just to get to the escalators THEN the trams! After that look at the mad rush to get off and be that first person to the security checkpoints!

    If only we were this eager to do everything in life!
    Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it the four beers you had at DCA, hmmm?








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