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Derek’s Disney Story Finds Reassurance Among the Parks

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Disney theme parks are for empty heads or those who want to escape reality. Derek Flanzraich digs deep into his personal story of time with his brother enjoying Walt Disney’s magical themed realms and pulls out some touching and life affirming lessons from his Disney experience.

As a kid, Disney whisks you away to a land of fantasy and imagination and chocolate-covered frozen bananas. And as an adult, so I hear, you take your children to Disneyland to experience it through their eyes, to live at least a little vicariously through their unabashed joy at the same escape you once afforded yourself. Disney purposefully builds entire marketing campaigns for their parks centered around “the family experience” and not just because kids can’t afford to pay the entrance fee themselves. In fact, Walt Disney’s original idea for Disneyland stemmed in part from his wanting to share amusement parks with his daughters, not merely sit on the sidelines of sub-par carnival rides. But how long does the real magic of Disney last? And what happens to that time that’s lost in between, that time after you’re old enough to know better and young enough not to have children to take care of? Is Disney forgotten and ignored?

Read the rest on Derek’s blog.

For further reading among the subject of Disney theme park design and philosophy, find the out of print Designing Disney’s Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance edited by Karal Ann Marling. What do you think? Is Disney just an escape from reality for you? Or is there something more philosophically sound in your adventures?