Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Disneyland Signs: Photo Essay

Okay, I'm back. One part of our vacation included a weekend visit to Disneyland. I was dreading it. I even wondered whether we should have postponed this trip until both children were old enough to remember our visit. That way, we'd only have to go once.

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed myself. Here's why:

  • The park had a palpable sense of well-being. People weren't crabby and were genuinely friendly to one another without exception.
  • I didn't worry about any items being stolen from my stroller when I parked it and left.
  • The selling of stuff was more subtle than I anticipated.
  • The employees seemed sincerely dedicated to our well-being, but they weren't hovering as I thought they would be (in a weird utopianish kind of way).
  • That Buzz Lightyear ride was a helluva lot of fun.
  • It's impossible to deny the place's history. My son needed explanations about who Goofy and Huey, Dewey & Louie were. There is value in that history and in Disney's longevity as an American institution.

All that being said, they still have a long way to go in some departments. I would appreciate it if they could make a movie where the mother wasn't dead and where women were more than passive and beautiful (princesses) or subserviant cheerleaders (Minnie Mouse).

I also saw one too many depictions of Native Americans as little more than angry-looking drummers and Africans portrayed as savages. When one looks at the beautiful diversity of people percolating through the park, it's inexplicable why Disney hasn't gotten this part right yet.

Okay, off my soap box. Since the place has been well documented, I thought I'd share a peek the park through some of its signage. Enjoy. More soon.

The text at the bottom of the shop window is a quote from Walt Disney. "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."

1 comment:

erica said...

Hi, came across your blog while googling for pictures of Disneyland for a crafts project. I thought you brought up some interesting points about your trip to the "happiest place on earth."

I like that you noticed the history about the place, and I feel that's one of the things they've worked hard to preserve even as they keep the park up to date. Being an annual passholder myself I enjoy seeing what's new every time I visit, and they've never failed me yet! At the same time, I love admiring the artwork and attractions that have endured since opening day.

I feel that some of the older attractions are probably what you are referring to when you mention the angry drummers and savages. While I can understand the concern about that, we should probably take it in the context of the time period they were built in. One of the neat things about the Disney collectors DVDs of their old shorts is that they are unedited and uncut, meaning they leave in ALL of the original art and inspiration, even if it means keeping the old stereotypes as well. Leonard Maltin is careful to point out the historical basis for these inclusions and the importance of educating our children about the background of these things while still trying to preserve the art form.

As for your comments on the depiction of females in Disney movies, I'd most highly recommend checking out Lilo and Stitch, Pocahontas, and Mulan, for starters! All of them portray strong women in starring roles. And of course in the Lion King it is the father that dies, while the mother remains and is the first to recognize her son when he returns.

I'm a big fan of some of their television series, as well. Kim Possible is a great example of an intelligent and tech-savvy girl who has to balance real life with crime solving!