The other day Brenna suggested we go to Disneyland next month. I believe for the first time ever I was not 100% excited about the idea. A little part inside of me died that day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge fan of Disney but am becoming less of a fan of Disneyland. I’m not exactly sure why but I think I have a couple ideas. I think it might have something to do with the way we were treated last time we were there. Disneyland offers discounts for military service members. We checked the prices on the official Disneyland site, realized that they were offering me as a former service member a pretty substantial discount, so we planned our entire vacation around getting the three day pass to both Disneyland and California adventure.
Now when I ended my active duty in 1996 I never got a military ID card. As I recall, the reason was I took three months of vacation time at the very end of my time of service so I was not anywhere near a military installation on the day I actually separated from the army thus there was no one to give me an ID card. Now many years later I wanted an ID card but come to find out they do not give them out to former service members. I was given a identification card from the Department of Veteran Affairs. When we got to the ticket office at Disneyland I presented that as my ID and the cashier said it was not an acceptable form of proof of military service. I explained to her what the card actually was and that it was indeed my ID. She would have nothing to do with that. The challenge is without the discount the tickets were going to be substantially higher in price. Yes I could have been the man and just ponied up the extra cash but it was the principle behind it.
After a few tears and gnashing of teeth a supervisor made a deal with us and we were able to get into the park at a pretty nice discount. So in the end they took care of us but I don’t think they treat military service members as well as they should.
I think more so the reason why I have lost a lot of interest in Disneyland is the place has become very commercial. Oh yes I understand that there has always been commercialism at Disneyland. I know there was the Carnation Cafe or whatever it was called and Kodak sponsored numerous attractions. (Kodak had served as the official film and camera partner at Disneyland since the park opened in 1955 and up until 2012. Kodak was one of just three remaining original sponsors: Coca-Cola and Carnation, now Nestlé, are the other two.) But I think when they jumped the shark was when the submarine ride became the Finding Nemo submarine ride. (Read the history of the Disneyland submarines at www.disneysubmarines.com) And now they are converting approximately 20% of Disneyland into a Star Wars themed area. Not only that but they are changing the theme of the Tower of Terror into a super heroes theme. Now I give a dang about Star Wars or superheroes. I mean I like them and all but to me Disneyland is about Mickey Mouse not Chewbacca. Yes I get it, the 20% of the park that they are converting to Star Wars land was area that was very rarely used as well as some back lot area that they are converting to actual parking space. But the point is having a Star Wars section really takes away from the magic that is Disneyland. Look at this picture and you can see exactly how much of the park they are using. That big dirt area is what is going to be Star Wars land.
Sadly I think my days of being in love with Disneyland Park are probably over. They’ve made their decision. They’re moving forward with it. And anything I say or do is not going to change their minds. Large companies like Disney rarely actually care about the consumer. They are just interested in the bottom line and pleasing the shareholders.
Legoland sounds more and more exciting the more I think about what Disney is doing to my beloved park.
Read The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by clicking the picture below.