Disneyland and its creator's enduring legacy can be summed up quite well with this phrase:
"PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!!"
Years and years of artful camoflauge and skillful creative misdirection have given us what we see as 'Disneyland', and who we see as 'Walt Disney'.
What we think of as Disneyland bears no real resemblance to an actual working business, and yet it is just that--with financial quotas, and economic concerns to address.
Who we think of as Walt Disney bears no real resemblance to any mere mortal, with frailties, uncertainties, biases, pressures, and faults.
Is it wise to ignore the "Man Behind the Curtain"? It is comforting to see Disneyland as a magical place, untouched and unsullied by the pettiness, inequities and injustices of this outside world, isn't it? And isn't it equally as comforting to see Walt Disney as some altruistic and cuddly, all-knowing, all-powerful benevolent diety ruling with wisdom and compassion?
It is certainly comforting, but is it wise? Is it realistic? Is it a responsible viewpoint?
IMO, this lionization of both WD and Disneyland itself is harmful if one is expected to maintain a satisfactory standard for 'improvement'. The wholesale enthusiastic approval sometimes seen by Disney fans is alarming to me, as it appears it is taking less and less to satisfy (due in part, IMO, to this unconditional love for all things Disney). Do we disregard the realities of DL and WD and cling to the fantasy by choice, or by clever design?
Walt's status as creative genius has been inflated to Olympian proportion, lifting him above the frailties and faults found in all mankind. Walt's Word is Law, and his Will unquestionable. We excuse, I believe, serious errors in judgment by shrugging and saying (in essence) "Walt moves in mysterious ways...".
It is this failure to discern the reality from the legend, the fact from the myth, the truth from the 'spin' that weakens our ability to tolerate valid criticism concerning WD and Disneyland, and therefore inhibits the ability to openly and freely criticize constructively.
Would it diminish Disneyland that much for us to see it as the business it is? To see Walt as a businessman who created Disneyland with the intent to make money and explore his own passions, exposing all to his vision of fun?
Would it hurt our own perceptions to look behind the curtain, and see the Great and Powerful Oz as he truly is? Do we need the fantasy to still be fans?