Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Most Confusedly Magical Place on Earth

At the risk of sounding devoid of an inner child, I just don't get Disney. 

What's more, I don't get Disney abroad, like in Tokyo where I snapped these pictures a few weeks back when I led a tour there.

I mean, I like Disney movies. I have my favorite characters just like everyone else. I even enjoy the rides- It's a Small World and the Spinning Tea Cups being my favorites, ethnic stereotypes and motion sickness aside. But beyond that, what's the grand appeal? What's worth standing in massively long lines and shelling out money for left and right? Why would an adult want to spend so much time in a place where 75% of the people are under 5 years old? What is it about those plasticky Mickey Mouse pancake flippers which makes people actually buy them?
'This might seem contradictory as my last post gushed about the Alice in Wonderland Izakaya, but you gotta admit there was an element of Las Vegas drag to that place. And I sheepishly admit that given a choice between Disney and Vegas, I'd choose Sin City with all its fakery and glitz any day. 

I suppose that because I consider myself a marginal Disney consumer, I'm confused by the over the top hardcore ones. Like this woman below. She's decked out head to toe in Chipmunk motif. Look! Look at her socks!
What makes Tokyo Disney even more bizarre is this strange trend. At first, I thought people were simply sitting down and waiting for one of those traveling shows. But then I observed a disturbing familiar pattern.

Many people (like chipmunk woman above) consciously pack up and bring INTO the park all their previously bought merchandise from home- stuffed animals, bags, hats, t-shirts, and yes, even socks. I saw one man in a wheelchair wearing a vest covered with pinned-on stuffed animals, like a swarm of killer Mickeys and Minnies. Then, they plop themselves down on blankets and build a little shrine from all their stuff. They sit there contentedly with all their Disney memorabilia and show it off. I'm a bigger fan than you are!

So readers, maybe you can help fill me in. What's Disney's appeal? Are you a Disney fanatic, willing to brave hoards of people and buy $10 corn dogs? Do you obsess on certain characters? What's the longest you've ever waited to ride Space Mountain?

*One cool detail about Tokyo Disney I have to admit was all the popcorn. They sell regular salted, caramel, cheese, strawberry, and milk tea flavors... now I can certainly appreciate that.


Heather said...

I'm totally with you on this one. Somebody would have to pay me to go to Disney. I think the Disney experience has become a quintessential part of the 'American dream.' To be able to say, "Oh we went to Disney for vacation" asserts that you have the money to pay for it!

Ashley said...

I really have no idea. My husband and I went to Disney Land last year ON my birthday. You get in free on your birthday if you sign up. My husband got in free because they had a military deal going on. So.. FREE, why not?! SO we went. It actually wasn't very crowded since it was a week day and kids were still in school. We had a good time, but I do think Disney theme parks are over-rated for sure!!! If we hadn't got in free and lived within driving distance we wouldn't have went!!! It's so over-priced.

maryandsean said...

Free is good. I also got in free since I was leading the tour, but goodness the cost adds up fast even so!

Becca Runs Sometimes said...

My first and only time in Disneyland was on a road trip with my brother and BFF when I was 21. It was pouring down raining in the middle of the week. Not a soul in sight! We didn't have to wait in any lines and thought experiencing Disneyland in this way was both eerie and fun.

Love your photos, as always.

Candice said...

Lol, that's absolutely hilarious. I have no idea why people are so nutty of their Disney stuff, I know a girl who's totally obsessed with Mickey Mouse and she's like...35. Don't get it.

Mika said...

You should see my brother's Thumper collection. He has maybe 30+ different stuffed versions of Thumper, some big, some small. Not what you would expect from a 30 year old deputy sheriff...

Mary and Sean said...

You just never do know by looking at someone, huh?

Anonymous said...

Carrie and I love Disney World. We have been several times. We LOVE roller coasters and rides and love the hundreds of great restaurants there. Our 8 year old loves it too, of course. The craziness that you witnessed in Tokyo Disney is the perfect storm of nuttiness. Disney freaks are hardcore enough. Asians and especially Japanese seem like to take everything to the extreme also. so...you mix the two and its Chipmunk lady nuttiness.-------------Jeff

The Howes Family said...

I occasionally feel guilty for not taking my kids to Disney. I went when I was a kid, my husband is from Florida so he went to Disney World. I am sure we will take them. I have always put it off saying "well this child (insert whichever name) is so little they won't remember. Now maybe I can say well now your to old you won't care. I pray that works.

Steve said...

I went to Disney World too and I have to admit that I enjoyed myself. I wouldn't go again since it was overpriced though. As far as some people obsessing about it...well, some people are just the obsessive type. I think it is similar to going to a sports game and you see the fan wearing an outrageous costume or the team's colors painted over their body.


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