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An honest open discourse concerning this silly love of Disney
July 16, 2014 9:40 PM   Subscribe

"I mean, seriously we're adorable. How could we have a blog that didn't feature us up front and center? ;)" Meet Adam and Andrew. They blog about the aesthetics of Disney. Those little details that are found in all aspects of Disney parks (and related materials): bathroom signs, murals (bathrooms again), vintage Dumbo book illustrations, Epcot's UK (part of their Shake to Randomize series), Theming At Animal Kingdom's Serka Zong Bazaar, and Six Things I DON'T Hate About The Italy Pavilion At Epcot. (In fact The whole month of June 2012 is a treasure.) There's also a podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (21 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Eek, that blog is pretty heinous. They should do some research on why those details are actually there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:38 AM on July 17


Details like what?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:35 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I can't help myself, I love the Disney Hipsters. For one thing, they write a lot about eating vegetarian in the parks. And for all their... well, hipsterness, their genuine, unabashed love of what they're doing is so clear, and it's not something I take lightly in this day and age.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:28 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


their genuine, unabashed love of what they're doing is so clear, and it's not something I take lightly in this day and age.

Wasn't the defining characteristic of hipsters their utter lack of earnestness and sincerity? I thought ironic enjoyment was what made hipsters hipsters.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:42 AM on July 17


Details like what?

The signs and things are the details, but the notable thing about them is how they're designed to fit with their surroundings instead of just being generic signs you order from a supply catalog.

One of the best-researched, most detailed Disney history blogs out there, Passport to Dreams Old and New, did a fascinating series about the light fixtures of the Magic Kingdom. Not only do they fit the areas they illuminate, but the choice of which fixture goes where within each "land" subconsciously eases the guest's transition between the different areas.
Two examples from the Crystal Palace, which sits on the Adventureland side of the Hub; notice the tropical palms and fronds already starting to transition us into Adventureland are echoed in the flowery, organic design of the lamps. Like everything else on the Crystal Palace, these are polished brass and quite beautiful.

While WED could have simply re-used the Hospitality House lamps here for the same effect, they didn't. The more open, twisting nature of these lamps brings to mind gardens and vines instead of the stoic, dense details used on Main Street. At the Magic Kingdom, the Hub really is its own land, with its own meanings, quite distinct from Main Street...

...Once past the Tiki Room, these Caribbean Plaza streetlights appear. There's about twelve of these lining the street headed towards Pirates of the Caribbean, and they're a nice transitional feature, preparing us for the Spanish colonial setting even before the whitewashed plaster, iron railings and tile roofs appear...

...There is a small area in Liberty Square dividing Frontierland from the rest of the land which is intended to recall St. Louis - "The Gateway to the Frontier" - immediately surrounding the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon. This elaborate light, near an exit to the saloon and right at the border nicely straddles the line between the Frontierland kerosene lamps and the Liberty Square colonial lights, as well as echoing the Adventureland Veranda Breezeway lights seen in Part One. It's quite an elaborate "hero" light, straddling three times and places effortlessly.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:42 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Wasn't the defining characteristic of hipsters their utter lack of earnestness and sincerity? I thought ironic enjoyment was what made hipsters hipsters.

Yeah, usually. I honestly think these kids either just have a few hipster affectations without the core philosophy, or make an exception to it for things they really love.

Which is another reason I like the blog; one of the takeaway messages for me is that it's OK to like what you like, even if you're not the target demographic or the sort of person people associate with liking it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:46 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


the choice of which fixture goes where within each "land" subconsciously eases the guest's transition between the different areas

I felt like such a barbarian, because I'd never experienced a subconscious difficulty in effecting transitions between areas which was actuated by insensitive placement of light fittings. Then I realised that since it was subconscious I wouldn't know about it anyway. Hell, maybe it happens all the time.
posted by Segundus at 7:13 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Disney does a lot of subconscious stuff when you're at the parks, apparently. For example, the structures on Main Street USA are built in forced perspective; the street looks short when you enter the park, and looks much longer when you're leaving. Also stuff like pumping flavours into the air outside whatever food stores there are, the Hidden Mickeys everywhere, all sorts of stuff. I kinda sorta totally hate the evilness of Disney as a cradle-to-grave marketing empire and cultural appropriation and whitewashing a whole lot of things (they are good to their employees, for the most part, though), but you have to admire the sheer attention to every detail they can think of.

Eek, that blog is pretty heinous. They should do some research on why those details are actually there.

Can you expand on this?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:22 AM on July 17


Quoting myself from another thread:
Disney parks aren't about having the biggest roller coasters. They're about the whole experience. Not the whole experience while on the ride, the whole experience from the time you set foot inside the gate.

I tried explaining this to a coworker once, but I think she took it wrong and thought I sounded snobby or something: For example, you go to Six Flags, and you have a big roller coaster with a chain link fence around it. There's probably a sign out front with the name of the ride on it, but overall it feels a bit industrial. But that's ok, because the whole point is to ride a bigass roller coaster with extreme thrills.

At a Disney park, the coaster isn't that huge, and it's not that extreme. But the coaster and the environment surrounding it are carefully crafted to make you feel like you're in another place. The Expedition Everest coaster is carefully themed to make you feel like you're traveling to Mount Everest in search of the mysterious Yeti. The queue area looks like a base camp mixed with Tibetan style buildings and decor. Your coaster looks like a mountain train. The ride itself doesn't go super fast or go upside down, but you go around a curve and it looks like the track is broken, then the train stops, reverses direction and goes backward into a cave. Suddenly a shadow flickers across the wall. Is that the Yeti?! You round another curve and the train reverses direction again. You enter another tunnel and suddenly there's an enormous animatronic Yeti growling and swiping at you. Before you can react to that, the train drops out of the cave into its big, fast slope, which is right next to the queue area so everyone waiting gets a peek.

I understand that some people are put off by all of the theming and find it creepy and fake. Personally, I enjoy it and appreciate all of the care and design put into it.
I always loved the level of immersion and theming when I was a kid going to Disney. Now that I'm grown up and a graphic designer, I can return with my own child and appreciate the attention to detail and design that goes into everything.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:09 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


I think it's creepy how the FPP+comments are making me kinda interested in visiting Disney World at some point in my life.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:51 AM on July 17


Same thing happens to me whenever I read about the immersion experience of Disney parks.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:54 AM on July 17


Even my Dad, who found it such a chore to say anything positive about anything that you could practically hear rusty gears grinding and stiff belts squeaking in his head on the rare occasions he attempted it, was blown away by the level of detail in the Magic Kingdom, from the architecture to the background music to the way they cleverly hid, camouflaged, or drew attention away from mundane things that might break the illusion.

Mind you, it's not quite everything it used to be in that respect: every year there are a few more vending carts cluttering up the view, or a stage blocking the castle, etc. But it's still a masterpiece of twentieth-century design.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:09 AM on July 17


Don't get me started on the fucking Yeti....
posted by mikelieman at 12:17 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I think it's creepy how the FPP+comments are making me kinda interested in visiting Disney World at some point in my life.

So do it! It's a blast. Some amazing childhood and even young adult memories. Just remember to check your cynicism and adulthood at the door... And bring a lot of money.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:04 PM on July 17


I've been to Disneyland several times. It's just not the same with out the LSD.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:11 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Instagrammy filters on anything, whether 'ironic' or not, instantly make any content, however deep, funny, self-aware, etc., into moronic crap.
posted by signal at 2:49 PM on July 17


I've been to Disneyland several times. It's just not the same with out the LSD.

There should be a support group for those who lost it on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

(or so I've heard...)
posted by mikelieman at 5:05 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Well, the first place I ever smelled pot was on Tom Sawyer's Island. Not quite the same thing, but it marks me as OC4LYFE.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:47 PM on July 17


I always loved the level of immersion and theming when I was a kid going to Disney.

Ditto. I love the themes, I love the environments. I have gone to Knott's Berry Farm after going to Disneyland. Never do this. It is a pathetic comedown on all fronts. Disneyland is quality visuals, baby.

Though I do think California Adventure's not-great theming is why it's the weakest park. It's either "Parts of California!" or "Planes N' Stuff!" or "Car World" or "Bug World." Really needed a better overall theme.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 PM on July 17


Really needed a better overall theme.

I'm not sure I follow. I haven't been to DCA myself, but none of the parks have an "overall" theme. You've got Main Street, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square (Or New Orleans Square at DL), etc... The theme park is made up of several areas, all with different themes.

Although they all have splendid transitioning between each area. Does DCA lose the transition/smoothness between themes?
posted by Fleebnork at 6:25 AM on July 18


There should be a support group for those who lost it on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

There just aren't enough amusement park rides these days where you die and go to Hell. Where are kids going to learn these life lessons?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:41 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


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