A Perfect Place

11 May 2004|Added Value

I just spent the last half hour writing on my experience visiting Disneyland for the first time in over 20 years. In one errant keystroke I accidentally deleted my entire blog. I’m trying again. More briefly this time…

I went to Disneyland for the first time in over 20 years with four kids (3, 5, 7, 11 – my sister’s, not mine ;-). I wanted to have fun and see it through their eyes. I also wanted to pay attention to what was different and see if the Disney brand experience was what I hoped it could be.

Disneyland was perfect – truly too perfect. The landscaping was perfect, the weather was perfect (not Disney’s doing I hope), the signage and navigation were perfect, the staging was perfect, the paint was perfect, the “cast members” were perfect. And that is what it felt like – I was in a perfectly, deliberately art directed experience meant to take me away from my “real” life. I never saw an ATM or an indication of today’s world events. I expected huge co-branding. Not a Starbucks in sight (although the “homey” brands of my youth – Nestle and Stouffers still subtly “host” a few places). No one littered, no one smoked, almost no one spoke a foreign language (ok, this last part was really strange, but I’ll save that for another blog). Yes, I was transported. I could feel like a kid again.

But really, nothing’s perfect. Disneyland to me used to be where imagination went wild – Tomorrowland showed me the future (courtesy of Monsanto). And that’s where the experience fell flat. For all the legacy of technology that made Lincoln speak, I was disappointed. I was dying to visit Innoventions – I wanted to see the future. Instead, I saw alot of current video games, a somewhat boring presentation on extreme sports equipment (no live demo), and an interactive hopscotch game. I did have the opportunity to ride a Segway. Given that there was a hit and run Segway accident in my neighborhood last month, I don’t consider it too novel anymore (though admittedly, it was pretty fun).

When it comes to new technology and imagination I want more. I want a website that doesn’t make me wait while it loads and that gives me the magical experience I expect from Disney. Can’t a website be the happiest place on earth too? Can’t Disney not only take me back to my childhood, but make me look with wonder at our children’s future? I hope so. I hope Disneyland can live up to its brand.

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