Okay, it has been a while. Today I opened the closet and put on the Cranky Pants.
A few weeks after a recent trip to Anaheim, something began to annoy me. Specifically, the term “Disney Parks”.
I get that there are certain economies that can be called upon. But let us be honest. Disneyland in Anaheim is now and will always stand alone, apart from all other Disney theme parks around the globe. It will never be, just another park.
This is where it all started. Yes, it is the only park that bears the direct imprint of Walt. But that is not where it ends. Having been to Florida once, and having visited each of the theme parks on that property, I can say that I have seen the difference first hand.
Disneyland is more intimate than any of the other parks. Including California Adventure. The way the lands are laid out around the hub and how some buildings enjoy a facade on one side and a different one on another tells how the designers made use of space to create an illusion. Such as Main Street’s Plaza Pavilion and the Tahitian Terrace. Or how two attractions share the same real estate. Mister Toad and Alice in Fantasyland. In Florida, the luxury of space was made use of. In Anaheim, that was not an option.
Sure, I may be picking at small details here. But when all of the little things add up, they manage to become something more. Disneyland needs, no… demands to be something more than all the parks that came after. And that is why something as simple as beverage cups should say “Disneyland”, not “Disney Parks”. Even the simple rain poncho should proudly say “Disneyland”, not “Disney Parks”. And plain unmarked napkins made of recycled? Bad show. The kind of thing found at the local fast food emporium, maybe. But that is not what Disneyland is.
Sure, the Accountanteer’s get off on keeping the numbers down. But as many napkins and beverage cups that Disneyland goes through in a day? You have to be kidding if somewhere you can’t get a break from a manufacturer sufficient to allow Disneyland instead of Disney Parks to be emblazoned on these items. This is the kind of thing Walt would never have approved of.
Let us call this what it is. Cheap.
With Annual Passes at an all time high price, along with everything else at the Parks, is it too much to ask to keep Disneyland as a brand? Does having these items really cut into shareholder value so much that giving it the heave ho makes any sense?
Just like the title says. Accept no substitutions. Quality will out. And guests do notice.
Disneyland always was and always will be an original. Not just another one of the Disney Parks.
No matter how hard some folks want it to be.