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  • A Family-Oriented Park

    Walt Disney was inspired to create Disneyland in effort to provide families with a place they could experience and enjoy together. (Kevin Yee has toyed with this idea in some of his wonderful articles.) How has this theme affected your memories and experiences at Disneyland? What about the current Disneyland embraces family togetherness and what elements of this idea have been removed from the park over time? Has this emphasis on family separated Disneyland from other theme parks then and now?

    I'm very interested in hearing what responses are generated here, so share share share!
    Last edited by LiTtLeMeRmAiD; 01-26-2005, 07:22 PM.
    "And don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!"

  • #2
    Great topic!
    I've never really thought about why Disneyland is such a family place, but I've never been with anyone that wasn't family or a close friend. Heck, that's where I took my wife for our honeymoon.

    Maybe it's because there's something there for everyone, but nothing really excludes anyone?
    "Do it for me then. Your gaming buddies are going to be there too. It will be good for you kids to go out and blow the stink off yourselves for one night."

    "Fine. For you. And for the eradication of stink."

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    • #3
      It's all about the atmosphere. I had an AP for some time and had been going to DL quite regularly when I decided to take a trip to Six Flags for a change. I was thinking that a theme park is a theme park, so it shouldn't be all that different, right? Wrong.

      On that trip to Six Flags, I was shocked at the behavior of the people in the park, the rudeness of the workers, and the state of the park facilities. I had been spoiled on DL with the wonderful atmosphere and was aghast at the standard that the other park held itself to. Shortly after, I went to Knotts and felt the exact same way.

      I guess for DL, a big part of the "Magic" is an attention to detail. The folks there go out of their way to make the park a unique, pleasant, family-friendly place. Admittedly, some of the resort's previous management team allowed much of that magic to fade, but in comparison to other parks (at least the ones in the So Cal area), DL still stands head and shoulders above the rest. And from all of the refurb's I've seen around there lately, much of the former glory is being restored.... which is Uber-cool!
      "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

      --Walt Disney

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      • #4
        I think DL still has the whole family feel. It is still a place that you can go with you kids on their first trip and see their faces as they walk in. When my family comes up from Mexico, that is the place they want to go and of course it equals a huge family trip where we all stick together and check out everything together. All the other parks in So Cal I can check out on my own and not feel guilty for not taking my little brother.

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        • #5
          I hate those 2 words. Walt meant the place to be fun for everyone, not just families. The "family-friendly" tag was tacked onto everything the company did post-Walt. Universal appeal was what Walt strived for. Entertainment for all. There was no specific market demographic to his thought process. He just wanted to try and entertain everyone.

          With that in mind, he made Disneyland a place for everone to have fun. Not just families. No matter who I have made the trip with to Disneyland, we have always had fun. Friends and family alike.
          www.deliciousmayhem.net
          www.kidseatingpaste.com

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          • #6
            Actually when Walt saw his daughters riding a carrousel in some park, he came up with the idea of making a park where his daughters could have fun. From there his idea was to create attractions families could enjoy together. That was the plan from the start.
            "And don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LiTtLeMeRmAiD
              Actually when Walt saw his daughters riding a carrousel in some park, he came up with the idea of making a park where his daughters could have fun. From there his idea was to create attractions families could enjoy together. That was the plan from the start.
              Right, but in listening to later recordings of Walt talking about the park, that was just the basis for the park. In everything he did, he just tried to entertain. There was no specific group in mind.
              www.deliciousmayhem.net
              www.kidseatingpaste.com

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              • #8
                Isn't the term "family" kind of all-inclusive? If you're making a park that the whole family can enjoy, by definition that means universal appeal. Everyone is part of a family, regardless of age, sex, race, or other demographic identifiers.

                I guess we're really tripping over nomenclature here. In my mind, "universal" and "family-friendly" ultimately mean the same thing.
                "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

                --Walt Disney

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                • #9
                  the park is entertaining for everybody but I thought that the park is more directed to kids.....i mean when disneyland first opened walt had kids cross the bridge into the castle. he probably had every audience in mind but the main target was kids

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                  • #10
                    Walt's vision certainly did center around a childlike innocence and perspective. I like to think that DL was aimed at the "kid" in all of us.
                    "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

                    --Walt Disney

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                    • #11
                      I think over time its not the aim that's changed, but more of the interests of the people. (Again, just ask Kevin Yee about this theory.)

                      The Fantasyland rides, for example, seem very "childish" to some, but when they first opened moms and dads were thrilled with them too. They were "family" experiences that interested everyone. Now adults want what is known today as a thrill ride, and everything else is "for the kids".

                      In that way, Walt did want to entertain everyone, and in the 1950s, he did just that. The technology he used in all of the first DL attractions was so fresh and unfamiliar to all people, that everything entertained everyone.

                      Now we're jaded to this technology, so unless our stomach ends up in our throat, the ride is only acceptable for kids. Thoughts?
                      "And don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!"

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                      • #12
                        Well put. I wholeheartedly agree.

                        I think what I heard you saying is.... the world is a different place in 2005, and what may have appealed to the general population 50 years prior might not hold the same draw now.
                        "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

                        --Walt Disney

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by E-ticket
                          I think what I heard you saying is.... the world is a different place in 2005, and what may have appealed to the general population 50 years prior might not hold the same draw now.
                          Exactly. In the 50's, DL was the first of its kind, so the public didn't know what to expect. In 2005, we are so used to bigger and better that some of the rides that were considered genius at park's opening just aren't satisfying to everyone anymore. We have really high expectations now.
                          "And don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by E-ticket
                            Walt's vision certainly did center around a childlike innocence and perspective. I like to think that DL was aimed at the "kid" in all of us.
                            That was what I was trying to say! Thank you.
                            www.deliciousmayhem.net
                            www.kidseatingpaste.com

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                            • #15
                              So I guess "family-friendliness" is not so much a goal as an outcome. It just so happens that by appealing to that common denominator in all of us, DL becomes a place that families can enjoy.... although you don't necessarily have to bring granny and the rugrats to enjoy it!
                              "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

                              --Walt Disney

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                              • #16
                                I like the fact that I can ride al the rides with my kids. The people that work there for the most part are way nicer then those at some other parks in SoCal. Yet, still when the wife and I want to get away, Disneyland offers so much for use to do without the kids. Disneyland is just a unique place that I hope continues to improve yet keep its uniqueness

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                                • #17
                                  I see myself in what you said about hating the label "family-oriented", Swagdaddy. The thing is, this day and age, "family" has become a rather politically loaded word. I mean, when one hears about an organisation that goes by the name of "Focus on the Family" for example, I don't think there will be a lot of mystery regarding the purpose it wants to serve. To proudly put "family friendly" on the ads would therefor be a bad idea...
                                  Anyone who's ever witnessed one of the endless fights that never fail to sprout up around Gay Day will understand why I'm mentioning all of this, and that the term "family park" carries some very controversial ammunition with it.

                                  But quite frankly, I think Disney has always done a superb job catering to all tastes, which is how I think it should be. And you don't have to call it anything. I'm sure monkey brains would be a lot more delicious if they didn't mention that name on the menu, haha.

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                                  • #18
                                    Isn't sad that we live in such a pc world, where we're afraid to say anything and everything...that words have both lost all and gained meaning. Soon, saying, "please and thank you" will insult someone, I'm sure.
                                    Marge: Barnacle Bill's Home Pregnancy Test? Homer, shouldn't we have gone with a better-known brand?
                                    Homer: But Marge, this one came with a corn-cob pipe!
                                    Marge: [reading from the test box] "Ahoy, Maties! If the water turns blue, a baby for you! If purple ye see, no baby thar be!"
                                    Homer: So, which is it? Blue or purple?
                                    Marge: Pink.
                                    Homer: D'oh!
                                    Marge: "If ye test should fail, to a doctor set sail!"

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                                    • #19
                                      At this point, I'd say the family focus is the entertainment of taking kids there and seeing it through the eyes of someone who hasn't seen it before again. I myself wasn't interested in Disneyland until my Dad (who visited early DL a lot as a SoCal resident back then) described some of the things there.

                                      At the same time, though, I know people who are irritated with the idea that every family has to take their kids to Disney. They "don't get it." Usually these people also are the kind of people who complain about fast food indoctrinating kids or how steeped in corporatism our culture is. So, I wouldn't say it's for EVERY family.

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                                      • #20
                                        Family is a strong powerful word, it can be all encompasing or closely knit.It can cross gender preferences ( gay couples have kids too),be very extended mom, dad stepdad , stepmom, etc.., or very traditional . I also believe that as Hilary Clinton said It does take a village to raise a child , therefore more family.. I have read that Walt wanted a park where he wasnt just sitting on the bench watching his daughters go on a merryground, somewhere that he could also ride the rides and see a show, and also have fun ( he was the child in all of us ), a park that offers so much to so many, he wanted an Interactive experience see he was ahead of his time. He just viewed interaction as in with other human beings , not key boards and computer games, who knows if he were alive he may have embraced the keyboard and pc games and would have created the best pc/video games in the world , he was a visonary.

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