EPISODE 41: Midway Mania-- K is for Kitsch
So, let me explain the letter theme of this podcast this time around.
Horse_Bunny and I love Disney's California Adventure. And we enjoy the attractions of Paradise Pier -- in fact, a few of them are must-visits each time we're up at the Disneyland Resort. Or, at least, were, prior to Horse's pregnancy.
A quick glance at Wikipedia will show that kitsch is a term that has been used to categorize art that is considered a tasteless copy of an existing style. It also is used to refer to any type of art that is attempting to appear sentimental, glamourous, theatrical, or creative -- and failing at all of the above. It relies on merely repeating convention and formula, lacking the sense of creativity and originality displayed in genuine art.
One major complaint about Paradise Pier is that it is an over-the-top reproduction of a typical Victorian boardwalk -- which itself was never very artistic. The charm of that area of the park relies on nostalgia for similar long-lost parks that once dotted California's coastline -- a nostalgia that simply isn't there for most tourists nor even locals who visit. Still, this didn't stop Disney from cramming every inch of that area of DCA with garish colors, larger than life signage, and corny references.
There's certainly a large amount of kitsch in that corner of the park. So, the title is appropriate. But things are changing. Sort of.
In order to improve Paradise Pier, the buildings and facades will be ditching their modern stucco in favor of a Victorian appearance. For instance, the new Toy Story Midway Mania is housed in a building that, to this San Diego resident, somewhat resembles a miniature Hotel del Coronado. It brings the detail we expect from a Disney park, but also seems to conjure images of Main Street USA across the street. They also are peppering the Pier with references to Disney and Pixar characters, relying on our fond feelings to those figures to give a warmth that was lacking beyond Paradise Bay.
This may ultimately make that end of Disney's California Adventure feel more welcoming... but it's still kitsch. Quite frankly, would we expect anything different from the boardwalk?
This episode takes us into a Paradise Pier amidst transition. Our journey begins as we meet the Green Army Men for a briefing. Then it's off to the Pier to check out Toy Story Midway Mania -- with its impressive Mr. Potato Head barker and less impressive (at least, on video) 4D projection technology. Finally, we walk the boardwalk and focus on the giant clowns, dinosaurs, hamburgers and signage that make this podcast "K is for Kitsch."
Please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes -- visit us by clicking HERE.
You can also find Quicktime versions of the show at HorseAndRabbit.com Adventure's mainpage. And, obviously, you can learn more about us at our main site: HorseAndRabbit.com.
(PS -- no penguins were harmed in the filming of this podcast.)