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Posts Tagged ‘disneyland’

Disneyland in Disney

We may say that Disneyland represents just a tiny part of Disney World. Indeed, if we pay attention on Disney, as a company, we can observe that Disneyland represents one part of all the Disney Empire. Everyone knows Disney Channel, the Disney Studios, DreamWorks (bought by Disney), Disney cartoons, Newspapers, shops etc. Disney is a powerful empire and Disneyland is a way to exploit Disney World. Disneyland parks are made for fun, but also to live as a true character from the movies. To live the Disney adventure from the inside. Everything makes you feel as if you were in wonderland. The castle, the decorations, the attractions, the disguised characters etc. If you go to Disney, you sneak in another world. A world where you can live another life, to be someone else. Thus, when people goes to an attraction park, such as Disneyland, they expect to live something different, to have the Disney experience. This is called the magic of Disney: you go to Disneyland, not only for the attractions but also because you want to live your dream. Disneyland is also a park for children and adults. This may not be obvious but this is a genuine advantage. Adults can go to these parks not only to go with their children but also to live this experience at the same time. Sometimes they have seen a movie with their children, and so they can enjoy the attraction because they know what it is about (example: Ratatouille).

Criticism

Lots of criticism have been made to Disneyland. The 1st one and the most popular is about the waiting. People spend more time waiting than really having fun doing an attraction during the high season because the parks are swarming with people. To avoid that some people even rent disabled people to avoid waiting. The second criticism is that they push you to consume their product, to buy a lot of things, all useless. There are (really) a lot of shops in Disneyland and the fact that you wait so much even pushes you to go inside the shops because there are some of the few (maybe only) places you don’t have to wait for hours. Besides, the park is so big that you can’t do it all in just one day so you have to stay at least one night if you want to do it all, and for that the only hotels close to the parks are the Disney hotels. Of course there are other hotels but they are more distant from the park and there isn’t buses to go from the hotel to the park every 5 minutes as for the Disney ones. Besides, when you go on the sites to see the prices you are pushed to stay at least one night, because booking tickets for just one day isn’t the first thing that the website propose to you and you have to search a little before finding where is the page to do that.

Another criticism is about health. Even if the park is big and you walk a lot in it. The restaurants in Disney aren’t really healthy, they are fast food restaurants, like MacDonald’s (but Disney brand of course). Health is also an issue because of the attractions, especially the roller coasters which can provoke backaches or neck aches. The working conditions of the employees or “cast members” can also be criticized. Some studies have been made about their jobs and they are very repetitive, last for very long hours during the day. They are also imposed a dress code, which can be understood because it is part of the magic of Disneyland. Their salary is also not so good, considering the job they are doing. But most of them love to work there because of the magic and mostly because they are proud to say that they do work for Disneyland.

An American Icon.

Disney is the perfect example of the American Dream. First because Walt Disney was not coming from a wealthy family, and he built his company from the ground until it became a huge company. He established his empire permanently. Disney is known worldwide. The movies set all around the world. Thus, people of each country can identify themselves to the character of the movie that takes place in their own country. Because these people know the country, culture, environment that is shown in the film, they will feel closer to this movie. But there is a price for success, and Disney is not exempt from counterfeiting. Many Disney characters are copied and many other companies take advantage of its fame. For example: Ratatouille has been copied, another movie with almost the same plot and structure called Ratanouille was realized.

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I was really fascinated with our discussion in class about how Main Street has become somewhat of an illusion to modern day America. When thinking about what do to my post on, I remembered one of my favorite movies, The Truman Show, and thought it did a good job at bringing the illusion of Main Street to the forefront. The picture shown above is a snapshot of the downtown center in which the movie takes place. Orvell writes in his book on Main Street, “[Main Street] is also a mythical place, perhaps the most iconic (and sacred) of American places, fraught with nostalgia for a lost America, carrying the symbolism of political community, of democratic town meetings, of life in harmony with nature…” (98). In the picture above, we can see that downtown Seaside fits Orvell’s description of a “mythical” Main Street–there is an overt sense of community, even though the viewer cannot see a political headquarters in this shot, we can assume most democratic proceedings are held near this central location, and the green lawn represents also a “harmony with nature.” It also refers back to, like how we said in class, the practical roots of Main Street, which was first and foremost a transportation stop. The viewer sees here a bus station, presumably the place where tourists to the area would arrive, and the town’s Main Street would be the first thing they saw.

The “first thing they saw” idea connected me back to Disneyland. Orvell writes, “[Disney] placed at the center of the Disney universe, an image of small town America that struck a deep chord with American’s after WWII” (104). So, the practicality of placing Main Street at the center of “the greatest place on Earth” makes a little bit of sense. But, the meanings for choosing Main Street as the first thing visitors have to be more complicated than that, right? Well, how about nostalgia? How about referencing an America that we all cherish in some way? Or how about consumerism–people love to shop, and what better way to get them to buy stuff than disguise it in a Main Street feel?

But, the symbolic nature of Main Street being put into Disneyland or into The Truman Show shows the actual destruction of real life Main Streets. Orvell writes, “Disneyland is the essence of the inauthentic: it represents nothing but itself, its own factitious universe” (105). By having a Main Street in Disneyland, its almost of if Disney himself is shouting, “Hey look, the Main Street America you all love is just as much a fantasy as a flying carpet or a talking life sized mouse!”

What does it mean, then, for Main Street to also be included in the Truman Show? Well, the movie’s central conflict revolves around Jim Carey’s character (Truman), who slowly realizes that he has been living in a constructed reality his whole life that is monitored by thousands of cameras and aired to the rest of the country as a reality TV show. Truman actually lives in a huge dome, filled with actors and sets that are meant to serve as real. So, by the directors of the movie choosing a town that has a Main Street in it, they are suggesting that an idealized world would be one with lovely people and a quaint town with a Main Street. However, since the whole world they have created is fake, what it is actually saying is that Main Street’s have become only a fixture of America’s past, something that can only be constructed in a fake or fantastical reality.

So, what does this mean? Well, to me it unveils the tension that we touched on in class–American’s are continuously trying to innovate and push forward at an exponential rate, but are also continuously trying to hold on to our past. As American’s we have not come to terms with the reality that to create something also sometimes means to destroy something else. In order to try and reconcile this problem, we create places where we can go and get our “Main Street fix,” whether it be on the streets of Disneyland, or through the screens of our television.

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stroudmain1StroudsburgPAHPMain St. is a very interesting American icon. For one, I really like the idea of living in a town where I would know most everyone, be able to buy things off credit and have everything I need so close to where I lived. It does not surprise me that people long for this type of community. I like going to my neighboring town, Stroudsburg, Pa, because of Main Street. And that is because in a place were I have to drive to go anywhere, Main Street is a change of pace, not to mention all the local, non-chain restaurants reside there. Unfortunately the proliferation of Main Street in Disneyland is worrisome.

In Constructing Main Street: Utopia an the Imagined Past, Orvell writes of re-creation of towns like Williamsburg as “escapist fantasies” and a “retreat to a past that was socially less conflicted, LESS ETHNIC.” America’s nostalgic and idealistic past is one of White america, not the melting pot. Williamsburg is, “representative of a time long before the immigrant hoardes invaded America.” To add insult to injury, the African American presence in Williamsburg, the representation of the very people this nation was built by, the backs America’s wealth was made on, were not “adequately acknowledged, and even then in a form that essentially cleansed the brutalities of slavery from the living record that Williamsburg was to be.” It seems to be America’s collective memory and wish to continue to represent the nation as free, equal and democratic instead of a nation that celebrated homogeny, and repression. This facade is “the essence of the inauthentic, it represents nothing but itself, its own factitious universe,” the very statement Orvell uses to describe Disneyland.

Disneyland represents White middle class America’s wish, in the 1950s and even today, to forget the inequality and repression so present in the nation. It is interesting that Disney used his park to critique the suburbs  because his park would also be used as de-facto segregation against minorities and the poor, which was comprised overwhelmingly of minorities. His park becomes exactly what he is critiquing – an escape from the city, an escape from ethnicity, and escape from the poor. In the Making of Disneyland, Lipsitz states, “Disneyland was the success it was in part because the founder’s fantasy so closely resembled the shared desires of millions of Americans,” supporting the idea that those in power – White middle class America, wanted a place where only “the right” people could enter. Disneyland helps support the idea of the 1950s as “the last ‘good decade’: an innocent, affluent, peaceful and secure time, before the riots and protests of the 1960s.” The myth of the 1950s is exactly that, a myth. Never in American history was there a time of innocence, peace, and security. This myth only existed  behind the “gates” of White America. Those on the other side of the gate lived and continue to live the struggles, contradictions and oppressive state of America that ultimately led to the “chaos” of the 1960s. This factitious place of a better America does not exist, and if, we as a nation continue to fuel myth, we will never be able to face our past or our present. halloween-at-disneyland-paris-resort-feat-1.1

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I think Feller’s idea of a Gameland as an alternative Disneyland is a really interesting idea, I agree that video games (especially American video games) have taken the world by storm with the vast possibilities as a story telling and interaction medium. Although i am aware of the multitudes of different American video games for all ages, I can’t help but speculate that one of the main appeals of Disneyland is the family orientation, as the majority of the sections of Disneyland are appropriate for all the family the place serves as a catalyst for bringing the family unit together to interact. Whereas I feel that a Gameland would do the opposite, even though as you have suggested there would be areas for everyone it would be inevitable that with the increasing popularity of 12+ and 18+ games that it would lead to divides. It would be a shame to have these divides, as in a society where technology/tv/games/internet is replacing interaction and communication, family holidays or destinations like Disneyland leaves the virtual communication behind to a place where people can have wholesome family fun. However I do think that with this increasing virtual and technological world that we live in, a Gameland is almost inevitable and strongly would hold stereo typically ‘American’ ideals that Disneyland embodies as globalization, capitalism, fantasy, desire ect. 

 

By, Jasmine Donachie

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I apologize it’s a little hard to read, but this is my Puerto Rican cultural park. The first section in brown correlates to the parks colonial Williamsburg-esque history park. Visitors will get a taste for life in an indigenous Taino village, before experiencing the arrival of the Spanish and their african slaves, as well as the US acquisition in1898. From here they will get to choose spending time on the historic ride about Puerto Rican history and politics “Operation Bootstrap” (named after the policy that industrialized Puerto Rico based on US influence(,  spending time in the community center eating or catching a game at the in park baseball stadium/baseball hall of fame, or expereincing Puerto Rican music and poetry at the cultural park Amphitheater/concert venue where musicians and poets will perform. All 3 sections will lead visitors to the unfinished “future” of the island  at the top where based on their experiences they will vote for independence or statehood as an interactive park activity. However, this is kind of a joke because much like the actual votes on statehood, the process is so long and opinions so unstable, that nothing actually changes in the long run.

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I decided to do my Alternative Disney Land Project on World War II Home Front in America. World War II Home Front Land is a place that is respectful to soldiers, but as it was on the home front, a place that attempts to keep spirits high. Some of the activities and destinations in the park are the Reflecting Pond: Memorial for our Soldiers, the Ride with Rosie rollercoaster, a Take a Picture with the President stop, the Spam Shack, and the movie theater showing The Great Dictator. My goal was that any person who walks through this park gets a taste of what the World War II home front was like and how people in the U.S. felt during that time. I strategically left out major aspects of life during this time because if included, everyone would be too depressed to walk through the park and it would take away from the more positive aspects of that time. The main theme of this park is to celebrate the accomplishments of Americans during the tumultuous time of World War II.

Alex Tung

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