As the saying goes, “let me tell you where I sit before I tell you where I stand.” Everyone has biases and through this filter forms his world view, this is mine.
As a 40 something, white, protestant, male, husband, father, red stater, current veterinarian, former CM, former military, I have long had a fascination with Disney. “When I was a child, I spake as a child” and enjoyed going to the park, the movies, and Sunday nights watching the Wonderful World of Color like many of us. I had a great suburban childhood, had wonderful parents and have basically been living the American dream. No apologies from me.
I was never a big fan of the more resent “Disney” films but concede that I find some of the Pixar stuff entertaining although I wouldn’t call it Disney in the true sense. Since I’ve become a parent, I’ve thought a lot about why I’m interested in Disney and what I want my kids to get out of it. For me, Disney is primarily nostalgic escapism in its appeal. It harkens back to a happier, more simple time. Both for me and the country. I think it’s apparent that Walt was a sentimental nostalgic type as well. The park and movies originally overflowed with American history, patriotism, values of the past and hopes of the future. That’s the type of thing I’ve always been drawn to, but the times they are a changin.
As a family, we make a pilgrimage to the parks once every several years and just got back from a 3-day stay. Overall, we had a great time, but I’m feeling the need to vent. So like “The McLaughlin Group” I have some issues.
Issue 1: New fireworks show, best I’ve ever seen.
Issue 2: Nightmare Before Christmas HM overlay is horrible. It’s not a Disney movie and not very entertaining in the first place. Oh I forgot, it’s trendy to be dark and morose. Gee, that Tim Burton is some rebel. Tell me, if he’s such a rebel, so interested in the flip side of the coin, of dispelling the American ideal, of picking on suburbia, why is he whoring himself to Disney?
Issue 3: Grand Californian Hotel, certainly very nice indeed but I prefer the pixie dust of the Disneyland Hotel.
Issue 4: Homosexuals. They are everywhere in the park and on these boards as both staff and guests. They certainly have the right but what’s the attraction for them to things Disney? Walt’s Disney would certainly be the antithesis to this life style. Why does absolutely every male dancer in the parades and shows have to dance so effeminately? I blame Bob Fosse. Dancers could be both masculine and graceful before he came along. Oh, and the voice for Scooter in Autopia, yikes.
Issue 5: The Princesses: It’s interesting that casting hires male dancers and characters that are very much homosexual in demeanor, but the girls are always very pretty and feminine. I don’t really care what their at home life is like but I’m sure few of us would be thrilled if Snow White was highly butch. These UCLA co-ed hotties always do a great job.
Issue 6: Buzz Lightyear and Star Tours are actually quite good. They are clever, different, innovative and fun. The whole family can enjoy them together which is key. Sadly, it’s not Disney and shouldn’t be in the park. Bring back Circarama, and mission to mars. The Jules Verne overlay to Tomorrow land really doesn’t bug me, I know I’m alone on this one.
Issue 8: Pooh is lame, the kids didn’t even like it. The reason Peter Pan is such a successful dark ride is that it does something different. They had 50 years to come up with something different and didn’t. Bring back CBJ. For that matter, Tarzan’s Tree house, Tom Sawyers Island are seriously down graded from their former selves.
Issue 9: The Cast Members overall quality seemed better than two years ago. The massive weeding out of bad apples has been effective. Women on the Jungle cruise doesn’t work. Men on Storybook doesn’t work. I miss the Alice in Wonderland style costumes. Don't scare the hippo, shoot it and mount its head on the wall. The PC police have wrought irreparable damage.
Issue 10: Toon Town sucks. It violates a major Disney tenant: A place for parents and children to enjoy together.
Issue 11: Nemo will suck. Not Disney. Not a salute to American Cold War Naval Superiority. Not Futuristic.
Issue 12: The Tiki room looks great. My Grandmother would have liked it.
Issue 13: Announcements in foreign languages work around It’s a Small World, but don’t in the rest of the park. This is America, and we speak English. English is the national and international language of commerce and trade, get used to it or step aside. However, I am in favor of translators leading tour groups. One should have to pay for those types of conveniences. Pax Americana.
Issue 14: The park is much too crowded. When you have limited resources and high demand, prices should increase. Disney should raise prices across the board, especially APs, and cut down on the riffraff. With less AP’s they wouldn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel every few years. Just keep things as they were with slow well-planned improvements. “Disneyland will keep growing as long as there is imagination.” True true. except, the past 30 years have brought very little imagination. We forget how talented those guys were and the new crop of Imagineers pale in comparison.
Issue 15: Disney fans that are pin traders, have tattoos, cut in line, lay out tarps for Fantasmic 3 hours in advance, ride in carts when their only infirmity is being fat and wearing out a hip and/or knee, use leashes on their children instead of teaching them to behave, or smoke. Take a look at yourselves.
From what I’ve read of Walt and from what I briefly mentioned above, I think we would have had a fairly similar view of things. It’s difficult to compare different generation’s values, but I like to think I respectfully carry the torch of the so called greatest generation. I think the best solution would be to get Disneyland recognized as a National historic landmark, put a fence around it, and turn it into a sort of living museum of what America once was, like Historic Williamsberg. Or else we could have the Mormon Church buy it and run it properly restoring it to its former glory. No, I am not a Mormon but I am possibly the last pant wearing man left in America.