O boy! Disneyland was surely an adventure. We made a plan not to spend a dime in the park so we packed bananas, almonds, and some good ol’ PB&J. Since Matt works for Disney as a Designer/Programmer we would have our tickets and parking on the house. We got there when the gates opened and it was go time. As a kid I went to Disney World a few times… as for Rory this would be his first time experiencing the “magical world.” It was magical in a sense … magically enervating.
The three of us had a really nice time together but after spending the day riding roller coasters and walking through the park we began to wonder how a family survives such an experience. Around 1 or 2 in the afternoon – after only being there a few hours – we all felt exhausted and left shortly thereafter. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the day was when we sat on a park bench and counted fanny packs (later we would count ravers since there seemed to be a convention going on). Although diminished in popularity the fanny pack is still represented by a devout minority (we did see a whole family carrying on the tradition which reminded me of my own family at Disney back in the 90’s….anyway…)
Watching families roll by made you wonder just how much they were spending for this magical experience. To start park tickets were around $94 for adults and $80 for children and that’s after paying for an absurdly priced parking spot. You can’t forget the highly necessary Goofy hat or customized Mickey ears which will set you back $25 each… and the food… standardized American food court fair at 200% mark up. We have inside information and you would be baffled to know just how much Disney’s parks alone make in profit for just one day.
They have been so successful at selling us this idea that once you walk through the gates you won’t have to do anything – you can let your worries dissolve away and you will simply experience bliss – nothing but shear joy. Fun will just happen and it has nothing to do with your attitude or what you put into the experience. But in reality, this is the only thing that matters – the only thing that determines whether or not you have fun. We saw so many people there who had all the stuff, the t-shirts, the ears, the cotton candy and the balloons – but they moped about with sour faces, their children not taken with glee, but whiney and miserable. After a few hours there we all began to feel tired and robbed of our energy and we hadn’t even spent a single dollar (but had the satisfaction in knowing that fact – otherwise I’m not sure anyone of us would have actually gone).
How is it that this place that is apparently made expressly for the purpose of providing happiness can be so draining and unhappy. Commercialism. It’s all a lie. They just want your money and that’s the bottom line. So why do American’s after all these years still buy into this false promise of happiness? Are we really so lazy? We need to wake up and realize that we must make our own happiness. We need to realize that happiness cannot be bought – not from Disney or iphone or BMW or anything else. Families could have meaningful experiences with each other out in nature – for free – all they have to do is want happiness and put energy into being happy. Have some imagination and you can make all the magic you want for yourself – you don’t have to pay $100 per family member for what isn’t magic at all. It’s only illusionism.