Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Lessons Disneyland Taught Me
Nostalgia is very powerful. Much of the joy my family and I experience at Disneyland has to do with nostalgia. Mickey Mouse shooting off and directing fireworks at the end of Fantasmic means so much to us because it has meant so much to us for years and its something that has been a form of bonding for us many, many times. My favorite rides are the simple ones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, rather than the more thrilling Screamin or the flashy new Radiator Springs because the classic rides and stories have been with me since I can remember. What I think this means is that people may be entertained by flash and thrill, but what they will care about and what will stay with them are stories and characters that mean something to them. And what means something to people often has to do with their experiences growing up.
Go with the flow. Because there are ten of us, if you are super stubborn, whiny, or opinionated, you are going to be miserable, because you're not always going to get what you want. We do our best to hit on the things everyone cares about, like Tower of Terror and Fantasmic, but moment to moment, its best to just go with the flow. I was reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut while waiting in lines (nerd moment) and one of my favorite quotes says, "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." I would amend that to say, "Peculiar travel suggestions are story ideas from God." Or the universe, or both. I don't know. But its worth it to say yes, be happy, and see what happens.
This includes the 3 times the car engine overheats while driving through Nevada desert, the car rental that wouldn't rent to us because my dads license had a misprint saying that it expired three months after it was issued, the 3 or 4 times Dad has to call the bank because they've somehow messed up something on the credit card, accidentally leaving the debit card at The Bear Paw restaurant, the flash flood that reached above our car tires in St. George, and the stomach cramps that may or may not have come from the shrimp gumbo I ate at Farmers Market in LA. Life is a wonderful, happy, fun adventure, and I'm learning that looking at it that way and just going with the flow is so much less stressful than any alternative. Write what you want to write, use the popular marketing tools, follow the stories and trends that interest you. Because other than overheating cars and lost debit cards, it might also mean eating ice-cream next to Alan Tudyk outside Ghiradeli Square in California Adventure. It happened, I promise.
Detail, detail, detail. If real estate is location, location, location, writing is detail, detail, detail. They don't miss one thing at Disneyland. There is never any trash, the ginormous crowds are well directed, and even the garbage cans match their respective areas. Its a hard standard to live up to, and I'm not trying to say that every other paragraph in our novel needs to be a setting description paragraph. But what I am saying is that if we take as much care and precision in our words as Disney does in their parks, it can make the difference between being a professional and an amateur.
I could say more, but I've gone too long already. I know not everybody has the same experience and love for Disneyland that I do, but no one can deny that they're successful. Might be smart to take a few leaves from their very large book.