On Thursday, the class traveled to Disneyland. I along with several of my classmates circled this day way back when we first received the schedule. Joining us on our journey to Disneyland was a “Disney Connoisseur” who walked us through Main Street U.S.A.Main Street, U.S.A. is based off of Walt Disney’s childhood home of Marceline, Missouri. Our guide pointed out to us that the street was actually closer to Disney’s memories of his hometown than the actual reality of it. For example the exaggerated size of things like the furniture and columns, or even the bright colorful paint on some buildings. All were carefully thought out and constructed to give off a sort of Victorian feel, and meant to exemplify and era of happiness, hope, and prosperity.In addition to explaining the historical background of the park, he pointed out several differences from the French version of Disneyland and the American versions back at home. One noticebale difference was the employees and how they interacted with the visitors of the park. At home, Disneyland workers are trained to constantly put on a smile be full of energy and interact with the visitors of the park. Here, the workers are more laid back, quietly going about their jobs with little to no interaction. I found this relationship similar to how the waiters are here in restaurants. French waiters are a lot more passive and leave you to your meal. They don’t rush you to get the check, or frequently check up to see if you need anything else.
We sought out not only to examine the obvious differences, but to unlock some of the hidden elements carefully inserted in different sections of the park. For example on Main Street, in addition to the 19th century city feel, the Imagineers of Disney decided to add French elements to the park as well. Take the arcades for example, a staple of french architecture and culture, gave the park a definite french taste. One interesting part our guide pointed out about the park was the relationship between the past and present. Inside one of the arcades, he pointed out two lighting fixtures, one powered by a light bulb, the other by candle light. He made the point that this subtle insertion by the Imagineers gave the arcades a sense of almost timelessness. The candle light represented the past, the 19th century setting the park was meant to replicate. It kind of gave off the sense of being traveling back in time almost, while the light bulb was a sort of reminder/recognition of progress. At first, I was a bit puzzled as to what this subtle difference could have to do with anything really, but after he explained it a little more in depth, I quietly saluted the Imagineers. Overall, the trip was great (still scared from the Tower of Terror ride however) and it was interesting to learn the differences between the parks and examine the minuet details all throughout the park.