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  1. #1

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    Going international / Why do you like Disney theme parks?

    I hope I found the right place to post this - and that this kind of thread isn't already written here...

    I've been browsing the different sections here on MiceChat and taken a glance at several different threads. From what I've read, it gives an impression that most of the active users here are from USA and appear to live quite near to the parks. As for myself, I live here almost at the top of the world in Finland, where the closest Disney park is a couple of thousands kilometers away in Paris, France. Even though in Finland we have four major amusement parks, there's not much for the likes of me, who have once fallen in love and under the spell of an American Disney theme park. I have visited both California Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World several times during the last 20 years - and though I've made more visits to Disneyland Paris than its American counterparts, I love most of all the original Disneyland in California because of its intimacy and true spirit of Uncle Walt.

    Before I continue rambling about my peculiar love of Disney parks, I'd like to ask all the foreign/international MiceChatters to step into the lounge and say hi. (And if there's already a thread for "us", please direct me into it!)

    Then I continue with the other subject why I started writing this thread. Especially during this summer I've found myself more than once trying to explain my love towards Disney theme parks to people who don't understand or appreciate these parks or actually hate them because of the too-American flavour; the bright colours, the overall "plastic" appearance of things, the oversized crowds and never-ending queues, and simply irritating "kiddie" rides. As I have analyzed my love towards the parks, I've found that I actually hate many things about the current Disney parks, BUT there is still something that keeps bringing me back: the atmosphere.

    I noticed it on last time I was in Disneyland Paris (in April), when me and my friend sat down at the hub in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle during sunset. It was already past the closing time. We just sat there, watching other people hurrying down the Main Street to catch their trains, coaches, or getting to their cars before the traffic jams. But we decided to take it easy - and also check how long can one sit a the hub bench before someone orders you to exit the park. At that moment, as I enjoyed the cool evening breeze and the beautifully blueish sky behind all the sparkling pink & gold of the Castle, it hit me once and for all: This was what meant "Disney park" for me. Peaceful and pretty. Not needing to run anywhere specific in the huge crowds, but just sit and enjoy the enchantment around.

    I know too many people who are not ready to pay for such "just sitting and enjoying oneself", but for me it obviously isn't a problem. And don't get me wrong here - I, too, love various attractions of Disney parks (my favorites being The Haunted Mansion, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Phantom Manor and Pirates of the Caribbean), but for some reason I don't come to Disney parks to run around from one queue to the next, but truly to enjoy the atmosphere.

    I wonder how many of you guys and gals feel the same?
    And how many of you live outside the USA?

    KEN

    EDIT: Ok, now I found it. This should probably belong to the MAIN LOUNGE, that I didn't ...notice... for some reason. Sorry.
    Last edited by KennethSundberg; 08-28-2007 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Going international / Why do you like Disney theme parks?

    Hello Ken,

    Frankly, you have captured the very thing I like most about Disney Parks. It isn't the thrill rides, or the crowds, or the merchandise. I just think that what makes a Disney park so good is that it is designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Disney designers do what so many other theme park designers fail to do: allow the brain to relax in between adventures.

    I live in Orange County, near Disneyland, CA, and around here there are plenty of big, corporate theme parks. Knotts, Magic Mountain, Universal.... And at each of those, there seems to be a sense that the designers are just piling stuff on top of stuff. The eye is constantly interrupted with things built for amusement purposes only. But Disney adds the aesthetic element: themed lands and areas that transition naturally from one to the next.

    Now, they do it 98% of the time. Occasionally, they make a mistake, such as the "new" Tomorrowland entrance that glaringly does not fit with the hub of Main Street. But the simple design of a Castle, with surrounding moat and grotto, serve no adventurous purpose whatsoever... they are just pleasing to see and enjoy. The Hub itself, or the entrance plaza. Amazing to dedicate this kind of room to aesthetics.

    One of the things my wife and I enjoy the most is to go to DCA around sunset, grab a glass of wine, and look out over the lights of the Pier area. It's just a sensory pleasure, apart from the attractions. GRR, with its mountainous essence, really puts so much emphasis into it's mountain design, you feel transported. Not like the log ride at Knott's, which sits smack dab in the middle of nowhere, without any buffering to ease you into a sense of being somewhere other than an amusement park.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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