I have what may be one of the most unpopular opinions at Chapman: I dislike Disneyland.
The park’s proximity is used as one of Chapman’s main selling points, but the university’s closeness to Disneyland actually concerned me when I first visited campus. Growing up in Orange County, I had long grown tired of the tourist attraction that so many people flocked to for vacations.
“I’d rather exist in the real world, instead of buying into toxic commercialization and being caught in an arrested development in which your childhood never ended”
Now, after being a Panther for almost two years, I have only become more exasperated with my peers’ over-the-top obsession with Disneyland. I am tired of seeing people’s sappy posts about “the happiest place on Earth” and their multiple pairs of overpriced mouse ears. I pray for the day when I can scroll through Instagram without seeing one of those fancy mouse macarons or someone posing in front of that recognizable castle.
Imagine paying upwards of $150 for a day of germ-ridden kiddie rides, taking photos with underpaid and exhausted teens inside a sweaty Goofy suit, spending ridiculous amounts of money for sugary food and waiting in hour-long lines to see Disney-themed shows made for children. Apparently, this is what some Chapman kids call a typical Wednesday afternoon. No, thank you. I’d rather exist in the real world, instead of buying into toxic commercialization and being caught in an arrested development in which your childhood never ended.
I appreciate the strides Disney has made when it comes to representation, but the fact remains that Disneyland grew from a man whose own grandniece admitted he was an anti-Semite, a misogynist and a racist, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Just because Moana, a brave and independent Polynesian princess, exists now, it doesn’t erase the toxic representations of young women like Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and Cinderella. Embracing these characters long into adulthood and allowing your children to idolize them is unhealthy and odd.
I will admit that I have been to this infamous theme park and had fun. When I was in second grade, the crowds and the expense were of no concern to me. But now, going to the park once every year or two for maybe a couple hours at the most is enough to last me a while. But compared to the students who spend their hard-earned money on extravagant passes and seem to go every day or in between classes, I seem like the abnormal one.
Disneyland brings joy to many children and their parents, and even serves as some children’s final wish for the Make a Wish Foundation. I totally respect that, but I think adults need to get ahold of themselves. Please grow up, save your money and leave the fantasy and magic to children.