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Disneyland Article
Reflections On A Day At Disneyland

Author:Stephen Silver
Dateline:January 02, 2015
Posted:January 17, 2015
Mickey's House
Mickey's House
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On vacation in Southern California over the holidays, we spent a day at Disneyland, giving my two sons (aged 2 and 4) a chance to spend the day with Mickey and friends, along with their parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle. Personally, it was my first visit to either of the domestic Disney parks as an adult; I had gone to Disneyland and Walt Disney World once or twice each, as a kid.

My thoughts while walking through Disneyland were complicated but ultimately positive. Yes, I know as a sometimes-cynical adult that this whole thing is a corporate/branding exercise, based on hooking young children on characters and brands in order to get them (and their parents) to spend money on them, starting now and continuing for the rest of their lives.

But on the other hand it's also a celebration of about 80 years of fantastic cinematic history, based on characters that have meant a great deal to a lot of people over a long period of time. And yes, the whole family had a great time, the boys included.

Of course, we took them to meet Mickey Mouse, in an area of the park known as "Mickey's Toontown," and more specifically "Mickey's house." ("Mickey's house" is right next door to "Minnie's house," indicating that perhaps it's the separate houses that have sustained the Mouses' eight-decade marriage.) It was hour-long line, made somewhat palatable by several rooms worth of Mickey memorabilia, dating back to the Steamboat Willie era.

And when we finally reached Mickey luckily, things went much more smoothly for my kids. They were legitimately thrilled to see Mickey, even if they know him primarily from the current-day cartoon incarnation of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

In fact, they stayed remarkably upbeat for having spent eight hours in one place, including numerous long waits in line. The one hiccup was when my older boy got freaked out and refused to take part in the Winnie the Pooh ride, which was perhaps for the best; the ride, during a Pooh "dream sequence," took a shockingly hallucinogenic turn, as though someone had slipped some LSD in Pooh's honey.

Characters emphasized strongly in the park? The protagonists of Frozen, Toy Story, Cars, and all the classic characters, from the Mickey/Goofy/Donald/Minnie group to Pinoochio to the numerous animated princesses. Not so much- the Muppets, who despite their Disney ownership were not represented at all, nor were any Marvel characters aside from "Big Hero 6″"s Beymax, though I'm told they're more prominent in the adjacent California Adventure.

Also, in a development likely to horrify some purists like nothing since Greedo shot first, I saw quite a few people wearing Mickey hats shaped like R2D2's head, with Mickey Mouse ears. Yes, it's the Disney/Lucasfilm merger.

Yes, there's a temptation to be cynical, to look with skepticism at all the talk of "magic" and "dreams" and try to find hypocrisies in the Disney façade. But on Monday, I was in no mood for such thoughts. Because experiencing three generations of Silvers, enjoying the glories of Disneyland and Mickey Mouse and fireworks and decades of movie memorabilia? It's really hard to imagine a better day.

Attractions Referenced

Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh

Mickey's House

Minnie's House

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