Is Disneyland art, however? There has been a growing desire to view Disneyland as art in recent years. Despite its cultural importance and the 18.6 million visitors it attracts each year, Disneyland has never been considered in such terms. Its sister parks in Florida and Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai, and Hong Kong have not been discussed in the same way.
This is changing. The debut of a new documentary series called Behind The Attraction on Disney+ last month highlighted the technical and artistic ingenuity behind the parks most popular rides. The Imagineering Story is a fascinating and in-depth history of Disney+’s park. It premiered on Disney+ in 2019 Mark Brickey, an artist, presenter, and host of the podcast Disneyland for Designers, says that Disney is now trying to tell its story and acknowledge the elements that make it magical. His show is proof of the fact that not only the Mouse House is leading the charge to recognize its artistic talent. A slew of podcasts, websites and Instagram accounts have emerged online to dissect the park’s inner-workings and push for it to be reexamined in our culture. Disneyland has been associated with fun, frivolous entertainment and popcorn-fuelled entertainment for decades. Disneyland fans now want to see it as more.
It is not easy to move that needle. Martens wrote an article entitled Single Rider: Going solo at Disney in 2015 for Los Angeles Times. Martens’ article, Single Rider: Going Solo at Disney, detailed some of the stigma that he experiences as a man in his 30s who loves Disneyland. It also included a description of the “prospective girlfriend”. [who]”It was creepy”, were the confused looks at dinner parties. The piece was concluded by a lie. “Does this place have business?” As he eats alone in a Disneyland steakhouse, a waitress questions him. He says he was “here with my brother and her husband, but they had children and called it a night.” Moments later, he is overcome with regret and realizes that he went to Disneyland by himself “because I believe pirates can coexist and that it’s possible to solve all problems with one kiss.” Disneyland is a place that puts me under the spell.
Art is the case
His experience speaks to a larger phenomenon – of the parks becoming ever more an obsession for adults as they are for children. Many aficionados like Carlye Wisel who created Very Amusing, a podcast about theme parks and culture, find the fascination in Disneyland in its details. “Disneyland is carefully designed to reinforce the story it tells. She says that the pastel paints and floor tiles under your feet in New Orleans Square are different from the ones in Adventureland. The same goes for its bathrooms and the plants that line its walkways. To match the atmosphere of the area, bins at Disneyland have distinct aesthetic identities depending on their location. The lengths they go to is truly amazing when you break it down. These lengths are part of the magic of Disneyland. Every design detail is there to create and preserve a fantasy world that, if it were too obvious, would be destroyed. Disneyland has a lot of design that does not draw attention to itself but instead contributes to a feeling.