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  • Cellphones and the Happiest Place on Earth

    I am currently working on a project involving the breakdown of civility in our society. I believe that Disneyland may well represent a microcosm of such issues, and I hope to obtain a few opinions from those of you with decades of experience in the park.

    While many have attributed the adverse changes to the Disney experience over the past few decades to the growth of the AP program, perhaps there is a more insidious mechanism behind the loss of the Disney magic: the cellphone. Prior to cellphones becoming ensconced in our existence, visitors to Disneyland were able to leave their daily concerns in the parking lot. Once inside the berm, everyone would quickly forget those problems and become immersed in the joy that seemed to permeate the park. The result was an ambience of genuine happiness that was even more contagious than COVID.
    As cell phones began to consume our existence, such immersion became more difficult. Work and family problems were now able to follow everyone into the park, and thus erode the magic of the Disney experience. As smart phones became more common, social media feeds bearing many negative connotations were now similarly invading and undermining the ultimate park experience. The introduction of the Maxpass system now serves to strengthen the tether to those devices and further exacerbate the issue.

    Any opinions on the veracity of such an assumption would be very much appreciated!

  • #2
    You may be on to something.......I hate standing next to someone who's conducting business on a cell....especially when they keep repeating themselves louder and louder because the other end can't understand what they are saying thru the park din.
    Waiting for Godot Micechat.com

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    • #3
      Maybe it's just me but if I'm at Disneyland, I'm out of service. If it wasn't for the Disney app, I'd turn the phone off. I think people have really forgotten how to disconnect from the web and enjoy what's around them.
      Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Here you leave today behind and enter the worlds of past, future, and fantasy..."

        Cellphone = the ultimate tether to "today."

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        • #5
          Smart phones, in terms of technology, are a part of the "world" now. More and more tasks in life will involve a smart phone. That in itself isn't a bad thing. It's more efficient. For example, I've been hearing that magicbands at WDW will become a thing of the past because scanning your smart phone works much better. From paying for groceries without having to use the checkout line to opening your front door for package deliveries while you're away are examples of how smart phone technology makes life easier.
          The major fail with this technology is (not surprisingly) from people themselves. And the biggest culprit is social media. If there was no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. you wouldn't see so many people at the parks glued to their LCD screens.
          And you mentioned APs as a reason for the erosion of the park experience. I believe many of those APs who used to come to the parks were motivated by the need to post those visits on social media...with updates every few minutes. Dropping in for an hour or two just to put something online is pure arrogance.
          Last edited by SuperHappyCM; 03-07-2021, 09:37 AM.

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          • #6
            Having my phone with me has no effect on the way I feel once I'm inside the berm. That comes from within and is not 'disturbed' by outside forces. Once inside the turnstiles I am a child again, my cares drop from me, and the 'real world' ceases to exist.

            I'm not one to 'play' with my phone or use it constantly though. I don't 'do' social media and I don't play games/surf when I'm in a queue. It comes out for taking pictures, MaxPass, and the occasional text message. Other than that, it stays in my bag.

            I think there are a LOT of people like me in the parks. We're just not as visible.
            "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

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            • #7
              Cell phones can be useful in the park. There is the obvious, calling a member of your party who somewhere else in the park. Or taking a photo of the parks, if you wish.

              The most genius thing with the Disneyland app, is that you can see the wait time or ride status of every attraction! In addition, it tells you which characters are in the parks, and when they will appear.

              Cell phones do have detractors like mentioned, but it can still be a useful tool in the parks.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fantasmicgallery View Post
                I am currently working on a project involving the breakdown of civility in our society. I believe that Disneyland may well represent a microcosm of such issues, and I hope to obtain a few opinions from those of you with decades of experience in the park.

                While many have attributed the adverse changes to the Disney experience over the past few decades to the growth of the AP program, perhaps there is a more insidious mechanism behind the loss of the Disney magic: the cellphone. Prior to cellphones becoming ensconced in our existence, visitors to Disneyland were able to leave their daily concerns in the parking lot. Once inside the berm, everyone would quickly forget those problems and become immersed in the joy that seemed to permeate the park. The result was an ambience of genuine happiness that was even more contagious than COVID.
                As cell phones began to consume our existence, such immersion became more difficult. Work and family problems were now able to follow everyone into the park, and thus erode the magic of the Disney experience. As smart phones became more common, social media feeds bearing many negative connotations were now similarly invading and undermining the ultimate park experience. The introduction of the Maxpass system now serves to strengthen the tether to those devices and further exacerbate the issue.

                Any opinions on the veracity of such an assumption would be very much appreciated!
                Spot on! I couldn't agree more.

                "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                designed to appeal to everyone."

                - Walt Disney

                "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                - Michael Eisner

                "It's very symbiotic."
                - Bob Chapek

                Comment


                • #10
                  I think it all depends on how someone chooses to use their cell phones while in the park. When I'm inside, I'm usually not scrolling through social feeds as I would if I were at home. I'm using it more for updates in the park like checking wait times, trying to utilize MaxPass if I have it, or making reservations. I actually feel in a sense more connected to the park than I did before. I don't think I would have made reservations to certain restaurants if I didn't know they had reservations available and if it wasn't so easy to make that reservation simply by clicking an available time.

                  I also don't think it ruins the immersion for me either. I choose to come to the parks for immersion, so I'm actively paying attention to that.

                  I can imagine that for some people not having a phone for an entire day can cause anxiety if they can't check on the things they need to throughout the day, so it's also peace of mind that can help people focus on the parks.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Spongeocto4 View Post

                    Cell phones do have detractors like mentioned, but it can still be a useful tool in the parks.
                    I agree.....
                    But as for me .......My phone stay "OFF" more than it on......
                    I keep a phone near me ,for emergence mostly.

                    Last edited by Eagleman; 03-07-2021, 04:31 PM.
                    Soaring like an EAGLE !

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Use of cell phones in the park is a personal choice. If people are using them then it must be giving them some value that they want. It's true that some people are addicted to their phones, but that has nothing to do with me. If people want to look at their phones while they're in the park and miss out on some of the magic,then I really don't have a comment on that.

                      I think the exception is if people use their phones in a way that isn't conscientious of the other people in the park. If some people are having loud conversations on speaker phone, then it can be pretty obnoxious. Similarly if people aren't looking where they're going while they're looking at their phones. I think these behaviors are more about awareness of your surroundings and less to do with the technology itself.

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                      • #13
                        Nah, I'll take the max pass, thank you very much. Generally speaking, I don't find much worth discussing in the lions share of "lack of civility" analyses.

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                        • #14
                          Checking wait times, great! Paying an extra $20. per person for max pass, not so great. Having Uncle Walt track your every movement of body and wallet, frighteneing.
                          My wife is the rebel spy.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Darth Scottie View Post
                            Checking wait times, great! Paying an extra $20. per person for max pass, not so great. Having Uncle Walt track your every movement of body and wallet, frighteneing.
                            I mean sure, I am one of those 'infamous' childless adults millennials, but I understand the cost calculus changes when it's a family or bigger group. For me, on a once a year visit with my friends? Worth it.

                            As far as tracking? Unless you're on a flip phone or you've scrupulously disabled most of the functionality of the majority of the apps on your phone, you're giving away more data just going on with your day.

                            Comment


                            • #16
                              There is a theory that social anxiety is rising like crazy because of cell phones. Cell phones have given us the perfect excuse to not interact with each other. It's so sad when you look across a crowd of people and only see the tops of their heads because they're all buried in their phones. This is everywhere, not just at Disneyland. But now we have reached the point in our existence where no downtime can ever be spent without a cell phone. People can't just talk to each other anymore - they have developed such strong bonds with digital voids that they have no idea how to interact with other human beings anymore.

                              I can it see it both ways - I have been with my friends at WDW and have opened my Kindle app on my phone when we were all together in line. I told them that as an introvert, I just needed to retreat for a few minutes so that I can re-charge my batteries, so to speak. I made sure to close the app at the end of the chapter because I didn't want to lose out on the time with them. I have also been in their shoes when friends whipped out their phones in line to play Candy Crush, and none of us were talking to each other. That hurt because I only had this limited time with them and was guaranteed to lose some of it to this game that had somehow become a priority in their lives.

                              Comment


                              • #17
                                Has nothing to do with Disneyland...the social media and online engineers have figured out how to provide hits of dopamine through likes, comments, messages, views, notifications, curated directed content, and posts to keep one engaged which makes the in person people and experience seem boring by comparison to interact with. No one need to "give" anything anymore to receive validation like is required in a relationship of any level which can be work at times, they can just consume digital content to get that now. It is a literal drug.

                                While using something like MaxPass does give you that hit of dopamine when you book, that is a bit different mechanism that ultimately increases the user experience in park making the day much more efficient allowing you to also do things like book meals, see wait times, and access tickets...so IMO it is way to simplistic to say that the tool in the hand is the problem.

                                The flip side is that I own a business and my cell phone allows me to GO to Disneyland more often and work more remotely as needed than ever before. I have taken more than one business call with Big Thunder screaming in the background!

                                ...now excuse me while I go check Facebook.
                                Last edited by DisneyPilot; 03-08-2021, 10:22 AM.

                                Comment


                                • #18
                                  Correlation does not equal causation. While both things are true - there has been a breakdown in civility and cell phones are pervasive - and people generally tend to be less civil online and use a cell phone to engage in that behavior, one does not need to have much to do with the other. There have been countless studies on how anonymity affects human behavior and those have nothing to do with cell phones, Disney parks, or "always on connectedness"

                                  Comment


                                  • #19
                                    I think with the removal of APs, you're going to see a lot less people distracted by their phones and using Disneyland as a way to pass time.

                                    I know that the difference between when I was an AP and visiting the parks a couple of times a month vs. when I plan the once every year or 2 trip with family and loved ones, I use my phone a lot less when I'm more committed to being at Disneyland. I think it's normal to visit the parks, you tend to find ways to distract you when you're in line among other things.

                                    I enjoy seeing those people who use their phones to play games with friends and families in line though. I think that adds to the experience.

                                    Sometimes it's unavoidable to take a business phone call at Disneyland, but I think if it continues to be more focused on actual vacationers rather than locals stopping in for a bit, you'll see less of the business talk.



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                                    • #20
                                      Although I rarely pull my phone out while I'm at the Disney parks, I take comfort iin that there is absolutely no reception in the Temple of Doom!

                                      If you ever want a family member to live in the moment, that's the spot.

                                      Comment

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