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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Your thoughts on Disney...

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 26, 2009 05:03AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Now that a certain librarian has returned from Disneyland, I'm curious about thoughts on Disney in general. What do you think of Disneyland/world? What are the good rides? What about Disney culture in general? Is it all horrible? Is it MAGICAL, big and bold, like some seem to insist? What are some examples of the good/awful in Disney culture?

I don't hate everything Disney has ever done. I thought their Alice in Wonderland was pretty good, and I'm a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. I've been to Disneyworld...I want to say three times, once in college (drunk, etc.) twice with the kids. I've been twice with the kids because my mother in law lives not far from DW in the winter and thinks it's a big deal to take them. She pays. Whoo! Anyway, I don't think the parks are worth the expense and I'm not sure the kids' socks were knocked off but they had heard so much about Disney that they wanted to check it out themselves, I guess. I had fun here and there (It's a Small World) and dug parts of Epcot.

There are four women in my building at work who are obsessed with Disney. They constantly check underground/unofficial websites about rumors, etc. They visit Disneyworld two/three times a year and come back with pictures of themselves standing next to people in character costumes. They make us book people look sane, I tell you...


message 2: by Heidi (last edited Jan 26, 2009 01:44PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Well, for whatever it's worth, I think Disney is TOPS in customer service. I've been to DisneyWorld 3 times and each experience has been magical (we've stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort twice, and once at the condos on the property)... and I'm aware that this is what they're trying to create for their customers. They're pretty successful at it.

It makes me think that working for them must be great because it's hard to fake going the extra mile for customers to have a great experience. They must be doing something right to keep those employees happy.

I also work at a hospital/the local med school with over 10,000 employees on staff... and they had us all go through Disney training so that our customer service model could match theirs. The Disney guy was great. Our people... seriously lame.

I know it must've cost the university a pretty penny to put everyone through the training, but really, it seems to the rest of us as though it was a very expensive vacation for the few that were able to go to DisneyWorld for the 3 weeks of training.

The only bit of the training that I could ascribe to is the philosophy that a customer's bad experience can be turned into an opportunity to showcase excellent customer service. I.E. When I someone is frustrated because they're lost, I will stop what I'm doing to help them get to where they need to go... and try to diffuse their frustration along the way with friendly conversation.

As for the movies, other than The Gnome Mobile, Hercules, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I think the movies have all been great and I never get tired of them. The 3 that I mentioned are totally forgettable.

message 3: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I grew up in Southern California. Therefore, I grew up with Disneyland. My mother even has pictures of a Disneyland trip when she was very pregnant with me in 1961. I remember a time when you used to buy booklets that had a general admission and tickets labeled A-E for different rides. Pirates of the Caribbean was an E ticket. We had to choose the rides we wanted to go on very carefully because once we were out of a certain level ticket, that was it. If you wanted to, you could buy a general admission ticket and just go in for shopping, lunch, or to watch the shows.

I remember the first time I took my daughter to Disneyland when she was two years old, around 1985. I was living in Orange County by that time, so Disneyland was easy to get to. There is nothing that compares to the magic in a young child's eyes the first time he or she enters those gates.

Sometime in the Nineties, Disneyland changed. The ticket prices started skyrocketing and it seemed to lose some of its magic. Now, it's not unusual to hear cast members grumbling about this, that, or the other. Some of my favorite attractions from my childhood and youth are gone. They've added a second park that takes a second admission or the purchase of a very expensive park hopper pass. They've stopped offering the terrific specials on admission that they used to offer to local residents. Disneyland of the 21st Century doesn't feel like Walt's creation anymore. It feels more like the giant corporation it is. Maybe I'll be able to recapture some of that magic when I become a grandmother and get to take my grandchildren there, but I don't see how.

message 4: by Sally, la reina (last edited Jan 26, 2009 10:30AM) (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
My feelings about Disneyland are somewhat like yours, Sandi. My grandparents lived in Huntington Beach when I was growing up, so visiting them meant visiting Disneyland. I loved and adored all of it, the magic was completely there. The last time I visited and felt starry about it was about 1992 for my 14th birthday.
You're right - something shifted mid90s, I'd chalked it up to my growing up, but it wasn't the same in 1996. It was less magical and much more industrial on my last visit. The new rides were just Six Flags with sparkles and a Disney stamp.

yet I still cherish Disney in my memory. I know people who vow to never take their children there, to pretend Disneyland doesn't exist for as long as they can. I don't quite feel that way about it, but I'm not going to be advocating early and often trips, either. I think Disneyland (and world) fit a time in our country that is now past, and we can't reclaim that - no matter how much some people obsess. And I worry about your coworkers, RA.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I have no great love for Disney, or for their inescapable Princess marketing line that my nieces have swallowed hook, line, and sinker. I don't care for the Disney book versions of fairy tales, with their lousy bindings.

I see Disney for what it is, a huge marketing machine that sells stuff to kids very successfully. It also has produced some great movies, though, so I don't hate Disney, either.

So, with my adult viewpoint, I didn't expect to enjoy Disneyland as much as I did. It was my fourth time at Disneyland, and it was different than I remembered, but not too crowded (thanks to some rain early in the day), and having a 3-year-old along certainly helped. Yes, getting in was ridiculously expensive, but I was prepared for that. I didn't buy any souvenirs, just a few postcards for my nieces (with princesses on them, sigh), and lunch in the new French Quarter, which was worth the price.

I was there for hours, and I think I got my money's worth.

message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I like the original Walt Disney dream, and the classic movies. I like the idea of his vision, if that makes sense.
I've been to Disney World once, as a kid, and was suitably awed, except for a rocket ride that nearly made me throw up.
On a road trip in college, I also made it to Disneyland once, which was also fun, in its smaller fashion.
I'm not big on giant corporations in general, and the Disney monolith at this point sort of turns me off... but that isn't to say I don't appreciate that at least a portion of what they're trying to sell to kids is of higher quality than some of the other stuff out there. I'd rather show my hypothetical child Meet the Robinsons than Barnyard.
And they still own Pixar, right? Points for that.

message 7: by Cyril (new)

Cyril Disneyworld was awesome when I was a kid - I think I went there twice in the 70s/80s. Now it just seems very crowded. I still like the rides, but the lines kill me. I'm sure my children will like going there.

I hate the Disney marketing machine. My kids don't watch TV, so they're somewhat insulated from all that, but not immune. I'm particularly upset at what they did with Winnie-the-Pooh. The original books and drawings impart a nostalgia for childhood. In the new Pooh the've pretty much fired Christopher Robin and made the whole thing cheap.

message 8: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Yeah, I agree totally on Winnie the Pooh...the newer cartoon is crap.

message 9: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 27, 2009 08:03AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments True story, by the way, about my sole trip to Disneyland in California...

My dad was a Chicago cop. He sometimes, as part of his job, had to travel around the country to collect prisoners from other parts of the country and take them back to Chicago. These must have been nonviolent, cooperative prisoners because they flew commercial. Anyway, my dad and his partner were sent to to California to get a guy, so he took my brother and me along a couple days early and we went to Disneyland. Then we all went to the prison. My brother and I (he was eleven, I was nine) waited in the car while they got the guy from jail. The prisoner was a very thin, affable guy who got very, very drunk on the plane ride home.

This was all very last minute, by the way, and my fourth grade teacher, an evil bitch named Mrs. Tomano, refused to believe that people go to California without weeks and weeks of planning until my mom finally called her.

Sometimes, in retrospect, I think my childhood was really weird.

message 10: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
I was on that flight with you RA. Halfway through the skinny drunk guy thought we'd already landed and was at the plane's door, trying to disembark. The flight attendants were trying to reason with him, but he didn't want to continue on to the next city with the rest of us.

message 11: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 27, 2009 08:06AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Heh...that was in...let me do the math...1978 or 79...were you born yet, hon?

No, don't answer that...

message 12: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Oh, pues, must have been a different flight with an alcoholic prisoner and his gentle warden, then.

I was 2 in 1979, by the way.

The thing about that memory that sticks with me so strongly is that it was the first time I witnessed true drunkenness. I'd seen relatives get convivial on holidays, sure, but a total stranger acting like an idiot, no.

message 13: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments From what I can remember this guy was more of a happy drunk. He wasn't trying to get off the plane...he was like the social drunk type, until my dad put the cuffs on him when it was time to get off the plane...

message 14: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Ding dang! You got me.

message 15: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (FoggedIn) | 138 comments I live in Orlando where we love DW and hate DW. My daughter worked there for a number of years as a "costumed character" (Chip, Dale, The big Eyeball from Monsters, Inc. and Mickey himself) where she was poked, punched, pulled to the point of dislocating her shoulder, etc. etc., but still liked working there, especially when she worked in the B&TB show where nobody could get at her. And then, one by one, permanent, full-time employees with benefits were gotten rid of...they cost too much, and it was smarter to hire some HS kid part time with no benefits than to keep the dependable employees they had. So many current and former employees love the job, but hate the company which is not even close to magical to its employees.Then came Sea World, and Universal Studios, and one price hike after another, no more FL resident deals, etc. etc. The tourist tax pays for many amenities in and around Orlando, but unless I work there (no way) or know someone who can get me in, my DW days are over. Just parking and getting in the gate is a week's groceries, and I wouldn't go even if I could because it has become the Wonderful World of Greed. IMHO, of course. :-)

message 16: by Cyril (new)

Cyril When I went to DW a few months ago, all of the costumed characters had individual escorts. I think they were protecting the characters and trying to keep them from falling.

message 17: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (FoggedIn) | 138 comments If they each have an escort, that's new. There used to be one escort per 3 characters. The problem isn't falling, it's being able to see - no peripheral vision. Perhaps it's a CYA insurance thing. When my daughter was the eyeball, her Sully was accosted by a woman - accompanied by her young son - who grabbed his crotch and asked "are these real?" It wasn't a magical moment.

message 18: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
That doesn't sound very magical.

message 19: by Cyril (new)

Cyril I think they also may prevent characters molesting customers.

message 20: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (FoggedIn) | 138 comments Not unless the character wants to be fired on the spot. Occasionally a character makes an error while interacting with a guest, but that is the the fault of limited vision 99% of the time. Characters can only see straight ahead - period.

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