Friday, December 30, 2011

On the DL with Chad: Will the Real Magic Kingdom Please Stand Up?

I was out at Disneyland, well, out at the Disneyland Toy Story Parking Lot recently anyways, during one of our very famous (or infamous, depending on how you view such things) 'Santa Ana' wind-storms.  For those unfamiliar, they're great big gusts of winds that come tearing down out of the Mojave Desert, fly down through the gaps and mountain passes between us and them, and generally make you feel like you're in four-alarm hurricane.  I was trying to text a tweet out at the time, but because the winds were literally almost blowing me off of my feet (and my phone out of my hands), I opted for throwing this out to the masses: "It's windy today at the magic kindgom! #Disneyland"  I'm going to assume that by now you've already noticed what's "wrong" with this picture... and yes, I did include the word 'wrong' in quotation marks, but we'll get to that more in a minute.

I've been in the game long enough now to know that there's a distinct east coast-west coast rivalry going on between those that consider Disneyland the quintessential Disney Park experience, and those that consider Walt Disney World the same, and I've learned to be pretty careful with what I say; but I slipped up.  What else can I say?  Within minutes I had received comments asking me "Don't you mean Walt Disney's ORIGINAL Magic Kingdom? ;)", and "Are you allowed to call DL the magic kingdom?  Won't FL people be upset with you?"  I assume you see what I'm getting at here... 

As I've gone along I've learned that Disney Park fans run the gamut from those that don't care one iota about the history or technical aspects of the Disney Parks (Disneyland Florida, anyone?), those that are complete and totally anal "Disney-philes" about everything (and you better make sure you say the exact right things around them or they'll let you know about it!), and those that are somewhere in the middle (like me) who can appreciate both ends of the spectrum.  We tend to view things on a simpler scale (we use the correct verbiage most of the times, but allow ourselves the occasional slip-ups) but by its very nature, we're also completely interested in the history and technical aspects of the Disney Parks, but not enough to say something to someone when they mess it up.  Honestly, and it's just my own opinion, to me it's always been a sign of negativity in a way to correct someone about the way they say something.  The question, "Is it necessary to correct that?" is the stick by which I gauge what I do and do not say, or correct someone upon.  Don't call Sleeping Beauty Castle by Cinderella Castle or I'll probably, gently say something to you; that sort of thing.  But I don't like doing it, so I might just keep my mouth shut about it, to be perfectly honest.  It's just my nature.  Like I said, I kind of view it as a negative in a way, and to me, there's already enough negativity in the world without my adding to it.

But it did get me thinking (which I like) about just why I tweeted about "the magic kingdom" like that.  And since Growing Up Disney hired me on to talk a little Disneyland history, I figure it would make a good topic!  And yes, I know that Walt Disney World has a Park called 'Magic Kingdom' and this is in no way meant to detract from that.  Despite what many people might know, or what they think they might know about Disneyland, there is in fact more than just a few precedents set by which Disneyland can also lay claim to the nickname "magic kingdom".  It was actually good for me to be able to take a few minutes to stop and think about it later (to make sure I wasn't completely losing my mind about the whole thing) and hopefully it interests some of you as well.

What might be little known to many people is that Disneyland has almost always carried the nickname "magic kingdom", and with Walt Disney World and it's creation of an entire Park called the same, it's created quite a bit of confusion (and contention) over the years.  But even from the very beginning, Disneyland has also carried the title to a pretty large degree.  One actually has to look no further than some of the Park maps from those early days to see exactly what I mean.  If you head on over to this article on Vintage Disneyland Tickets, you can take a look at a Disneyland map from 1964 and see what I'm talking about.  In the bottom right corner next to Walt Disney's head. It reads, "Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom - Disneyland U.S.A."  I figure there's only so many ways to interpret that.  Although Disneyland was never "officially" called The Magic Kingdom (and people even debate that, too!), there's certainly little way around the fact that it was at the very least a nickname for Disneyland; it's on the map for heaven's sakes!

But I can even go you one better!  One of the main reasons I think I referred to it as that is because of the Disneyland Resort music that I listen to!  It's used quite prominently in what I lovingly refer to as "The Disneyland Railroad spiel".  In two different bits of dialogue, Disneyland is referred to as "the magic kingdom" or "Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom".  I have a collection of tuneage from the Disneyland Resort entitled A Musical History of Disneyland, a 6-CD set of Disneyland songs and sound bites which I picked up from Amazon last year (and I'm glad I did because it's out of print now!) which has a track titled "All Aboard!"which testifies that the Disneyland passenger train, the E.P. Ripley, is now loading on Track 1 for trip around Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.  And perhaps my favorite reference of all, during the Remember... Dreams Come True fireworks spectacular which debuted during the Disneyland Resort's 50th Anniversary celebration, we learn that "the Disneyland Ltd." is "now leaving for a grand circle tour of the magic kingdom".  Seems pretty cut and dry to me!

I'm sure I could probably go on and on with all kinds of information meant to try and convince people of my point, but the truth is that's really not the point of what I'm trying to say.  At some point it kind of becomes like the whole "our castle is bigger than yours" argument, which I've sworn I'll never touch, but now that I have I probably will again.  In the end I guess that what I'm trying to say is that both are correct in their own way, and neither group of people should feel slighted or irritated in the least when someone refers to their own home as "magic kingdom".  Both Disney Parks can lay claim to the title, and they co-exist on opposite ends of the country as such.  To me, it's a non-issue, and I guess that's maybe what I'm trying to do here with all of this nonsense; convince others that it's not such a huge issue too, and see it all as an entire package with plenty of playground for everyone.  I know that I love playing around in my "magic kingdom", and I know that I can't wait to travel back east in a couple of years and play in everyone else's Magic Kingdom, too.  And let's be frank here, there is a pretty obvious reason that the Florida version is shaped to look so much like Disneyland Park.  It's in the genes!

So, with all of that said, I know what the weather was like at the "magic kingdom" last Thursday?  What was the weather like at Magic Kingdom?

Contributed by Chad E of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I'm a married dad with three little boys doing the stay-at-home-dad/youth ministry/seminary student/card carrying Disneyland Annual Passholder (Premium!) thang! And when I have the time, I also like to blog and podcast about The Disneyland Resort and am the co-creator of both Days in the Park and the Days in the Parkcast podcast.

Other Disneyland articles from Chad:

  • On the DL with Chad: An Introduction!
  • Why DisneyLAND means the World to Me
  • The D55s

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