Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wonderful World of Disney

I love this photo of Walt. Dressed in a casual sport shirt, natural hair, huge smile on his face, eyebrows raised looking like a kid on Christmas morning. He's doing something that he genuinely loves.

Cynics could point out dozens of things about him which they question, from his sincerity to his intentions, but far more often than not, their complaints are more reflections of their own unhappiness than any objective judgement of the man behind the throttle.

There is a reason why he called the park Disneyland and described it as the Happiest Place on Earth. It was literally his world - his creation - and was intended to be different than what was going on outside the very deliberately placed berm which shelters and frames what happens inside.

It is also part of the reason why so many others have tried and failed to accomplish what he did. When you enter one of Walt's worlds, the rules are supposed to be different. It's not about today and here. It's about the best of the past, your hopes for the future and magic - which is a key element of fantasy.

Here is an example of the type of things that can happen in Walt's Worlds:

A young girl recently recounted the story of what happened to her when she met Peter Pan;

"He saw my arm and he grabbed it and held it up and looked at it. There are scars on my arms from self-harm."

The he asked:

"Are those scars from pirates? That old Captain Hook can be so thoughtless sometimes. Doesn't even realize what he does hurts! You can come to Neverland with me, and I won't let any marks find your arms ever again."

When asked why he cared so much, Peter said that nobody should have to deal with such personal pain and "marks like that made a person grow up too fast." I don't know why Peter knows what he seems to about self-harm, or that it is associated with a history of trauma. What I do know is that Disney and the Parks are supposed to be a place of refuge from the things on the outside, often imperfect world.

Walt put it this way: "Safety, for both our Guests and our Cast is always our first concern. We take pride in our tradition of providing a safe, carefree environment..." 

 Peter clearly understands this and I'd bet he loves creating and sustaining the Wonderful World of Disney as much as millions of others enjoy visiting it.

Walt's Park Rules

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