January 5, 2012

As an anti-globalisation feminist, I know a lot about Disney. I’ve read the articles, seen the movies. I understand the innate racism, the sexism, the symbol of corporate sponsorship and the epitome consumerism gone mad.

I know, I know, I know.

But  I also know that I am a child of Southern California and my grandparents had an interesting job, they managed the Travel lodge next door to Disneyland.  So, whenever I visited my grandparents, I also visited Disneyland.  Luckily for me, that was often. Going to Disneyland , for me, is like me going home.

You could imagine my memories: The first time through the haunted house with my grandfather is one of my most treasured moments. The time I let go of my red balloon and blessed it on its way instead of crying, was my first lesson in detachment.

I also had grad night in ’83 with my best friends. Would visit often while a California, it was a great weekend away. When I had children, I brought them, young. (Probably too young). I have experienced Disneyland through the eyes of my daughter with sensory integration issues (not a pleasant experience)  and have found myself at the barrel of a security guard gun behind “Small World” after homeland security measures increased tenfold. (Long story…Ride broke down and seven year old and I escaped through wrong exit during her meltdown). I have been in a tea cup with an eight year old as tinker-bell flew by with no noticeable strings.. My experiences have been varied.

There are many ways to look at Disneyland, and just like life, what you want to see, you will see.  So this year, I chose to go and embrace it fully with entire family. I chose to focus on Walt’s original vision of inspiration and creativity. I stuck to this vision despite the few moments that I slipped and did the math, trying to figure out the income generated by this happiness machine.  I tried not to notice that most people were probably increasing their personal debt with one hundred dollar entrance fees. It is none of my business. (Thank goodness my tickets were gifted,  for I have no way to justify at least a $1,000 NZ day) I quickly turned away from the Princess beauty salon for infants and headed towards the live storytelling.   I  relaxed and enjoyed the moments with my family, choosing what to see and what not to see.

Here is a picture of my siblings and all of our children at the entrance…

We had a wonderful time, especially my five year old. In this video she is “thumbs uping” the characters in the parade marching by our timing was impeccable, I imagine we may have had some support from my grandparents up above…

Thank you Walt.

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