Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Oog -- thanks to the natural wonders of antibiotics, I've almost recovered enough health to start feeling nostalgic again. Strep can sure take it out of a person.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the Re-Imagineers' exploration of Disney-consumer nostalgia. I find myself usually nodding in agreement, occasionally shaking my head at just how seriously they take this business, and sometimes disagreeing with the premises put forward. In the final category is their universal slagging of Disneyland: California, a near theme-less park I enjoyed very much for two reasons: 1) they serve a good cup of coffee, and 2) compared to The Magic Kingdom, the place is deserted. Clearly the second condition poses a problem for the suits, so too bad for me.

I also had longer and better conversations with staff members in the California park than I did with the "cast" of The Magic Kingdom -- real people who told me real information. One gent was a retired meat broker and a grandparent. While his manager tried to puzzle out a solution to a problem I had, he and I talked at length about the changes in his former industry (he couldn't offer much reassurance on that issue, I'm afraid) and the challenges that came with being a long-distance grandparent. A terrific exchange with genuine content, as opposed to the cheerful aloofness just one park over.

Another example: a young woman working near the Bug's Life scene admitted she enjoyed this side of the park more than the other. "Just because it's less crowded?" I asked. "Oh, certainly that," she said. "But the guests on this side just don't seem to get quite as ... touchy as they sometimes get on the other side." Now, there's an Imagineering challenge! Hey, ReImagineers -- how's about ReImagineering the guests?

In this family, the adults and the children preferred the Disneyland: California environment to The Magic Kingdom for the same reason: you can enjoy the place at your own chosen speed, because you don't have to negotiate with desperate crowds of people. However, when we asked the girls about their favourite rides, they served the standard answer: Pirates of the Carribean, and The Haunted Mansion. Why is it that the best two rides in the entire place are both over 40 years old? The ReImagineers wrestle with this question, too -- again, with mixed results. (My take: three act plays will pull you in again and again if they dish out a wealth of exotic detail.)

Link from Boing Boing.

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