Why I Dislike #Disney Theme Parks but Love Their Movies

Category: Social Media Social Good Series, Weekly Columns

I grew up in Los Angeles and most of my birthdays as a child were celebrated at Disneyland. It was in Anaheim. It was the ONLY Disneyland. Ever heard the expression, “an e-ticket ride?” Well, in those days, Disneyland had A through E tickets (for each attraction) so you had to parcel them out and be careful not to use up all your E tickets, which were for the “best” rides (like the Matterhorn).

In those days, they had a very basic gondola that crossed over the park. And, in those days, it wasn’t crowded nor was the marketing completely in your face.

Now, I’m going to share the dirty little secret that no one is willing to express (out loud)!

I no longer appreciate Disney parks, though I do appreciate and value their movies and music. The last time I went to a Disney park was in Florida with my then young boys. It was horridly hot and humid and the lines were interminable. EVERYTHING cost a fortune and I hated every minute of it.

Since my boys knew nothing else, they showed patience waiting in those lines that they never showed for anything else. But, they too were exhausted and got to see/do only a few attractions after 10-12 hours of being there.

I have another BIG beef with Disney today. And, that is their “Moms Program.” It’s ALL over the Internet. Why is Disney about the only company that has excluded dads? WHY? Frankly, I don’t get it at all. They have junkets for the moms for everything and everywhere. All expenses paid. I see their posts ad nauseum. And, each time it’s another reminder that we dads are still often excluded.

So, now that I have bashed Disney, I’m going to reflect on my many great memories when, I think, Disney and Disneyland was great! Also, remember in those “good ol’ days,” Disney was close to the only game in town. No Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network.

Their two main television shows were “The Wonderful World of Disney” and “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Those days, the stars were wholesome and family accessible. Annette Funicello came from “The Mickey Mouse Club.” We know what happens to many of the young Disney stars today when they’ve “grown up.”

Today, their movies are highly commercialized but the acquisition of Pixar enhanced their reputation for excellent technique and story-telling. I believe Walt Disney would continue to be proud of his legendary film legacy and it’s well-deserved. He began with the AWESOME Sherman brothers and is successors expanded the music with wonderful contributions from contemporary artists. So, the ONE THING that has remained special, sweet, and truly wonderful is the Disney movie slate!

Among the “old” attractions at Disneyland that I cherished were The Tiki Room and The Carousel of Progress (which I believe was a transplant from a World’s Fair).

Mostly, I remember as a kid being sleepless the night before we went to Disneyland. I remember literally running through the park all giddy when we “finally” arrived, usually heading to the Matterhorn for early thrills.

It was sweet. It is no more…Okay, now all your Disney fanatics, let’s hear from you!