Amalgamation of Life

Disneyland and Directing

Part II


I adore Disney – for its ever evolving (albeit slowly) values, it’s internal culture and norms as well as it’s all encompassing wholesome, exciting environment that captivates a wide range of audiences.  A trip there can be very refreshing and tiring simultaneously.

Refreshing and tiring?
I end up feeling a calming resolve when I’m in the parks – sure I’m worried about being alone while my friends ride the scary attractions or potentially being singled out for pick-pockets (the parks are not crime free).  These unsettling feelings don’t usually last long and I find myself swept up in the what the park does best – provide entertainment.  Is that not the goal of a director?  Even for us big kids, I found myself with a clear mind, and in the inspiring environment, developed ideas for shows in my head.[1]

  • How would I have changed the presentation of that villain?
    How can I ask my actors to be bigger, louder, more credibly evil?
  • Could they have used this typography instead?
    Do these match the street signs of Philadelphia in 1776?

Everything has a purpose at Disney but there are some upgrades that surprise even hardcore fans and delight new participants.  Everything has a purpose on stage.  As the ‘happiest place on Earth,’ there is a sense of artistry and entertainment that has fascinated people of all ages, identities, and cultures for over 6 decades. How?  Disney is built on imagination – the parks, specifically Disneyland, will never stop growing or changing ‘so long as imagination exists.’  Every day, people go into the park and either meander or run, against the official rules, to their favorite attractions – attractions, I might add, they have ridden multiple times perhaps even as recently as the day before.


Some start with the rides Walt designed for opening day, July 17th 1955 or, if it’s their child’s first time visiting the parks, with the carousel that Walt had built for his daughters.  But most often, others start with the hard to get rides – Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain (ALL THE MOUNTAINS).  I start with the classic dark rides and then move deeper into the park hitting rides that have classically low wait times – the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Where’s Roger Rabbit?

Specifically, in the morning.  No particular day, as long as it is in the early morning hours.

Because most families can’t make it past the castle before noon where in my opinion the best and most family-friendly, restaurants are located.  Also, this is where the classic Disney dark rides are located – the rides focus on the adventures and stories of Peter Pan, Snow White, Mr. Toad, and Pinocchio.  This is no place to be for a single adult unless you’ve made it to the parks for early Morning Magic hours or have the luxury to afford a Disney Guest Service guide.


This was the third day of my trip – my travel companions last day at the D23 expo and my last opportunity I went right after noon, hadn’t eaten lunch yet (second mistake) and I had mistakenly (third) solicited ride suggestions from my friends to see what they would do on a Disney adventure if they were in my shoes (which no one wanted to be due to the multitude of blisters I acquired this trip).

Hopefully that is insightful enough into why a trip to Disney is both refreshing and tiring.

Oh, what also helped, was the secret menus available at some of the bars at Disney’s California Adventure – the park directly across from Disneyland.

It’s not an overly adult theme park, it does star a couple of Marvel rides and it’s the Summer of Heroes! right now, but it also holds fun activities (like dancing cars) in Cars Land and Pixar! Toy Story Mania.. a game which I never successfully succeed to beat, or even top.  For more information on the available attractions, read my friends blog Disney in your Day.

[1] Mental note for next trip: bring a pad and pencil to the park or (which I did not think of until sitting on the plane) write out ideas with the Notepad app on your phone.

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