If the phrase "Buyer's Remorse" doesn't have its origins in Disneyland, then I'm surprised.
Understand that I'm not the biggest fan of the Mouse on the planet. I have openly mocked Disney for many years. Early in our relationship myself and Cathy filled out one of those online quizzes to see if you're compatible. One of the questions was "Disney cartoons or Warner Brother cartoons?" For me, this was a no-brainer - Warner Brothers, of course. How could one resist Bugs, Daffy, Willie E. Coyote and company. No contest.
Cathy, of course, choose Disney. She's a Disney girl. Always has been.
And yet, despite all of this, I spent what I consider to be an obscene amount of money at Disneyland. Cathy was worse, but that was to be expected. Yet there I was, buying a retarded sorcerer's Apprentice hat that lights up at night when you turn it on. (Yes, there are photos. And yes, you'll see them later)
Terrifying. And it's a miracle I didn't buy some of the Grumpy (the dwarf) clothing that was there.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is what Disney does to you. The science behind Disney. I mean, I went to the San Diego zoo and there is science on display there. But it's mostly about ecology and education and biology.
The science at Disney is human. And more terrifying when you think about it. It's psychology and sociology. It's population control and economics. And it works, whether you realize it or not. The park has basic purposes: to keep people moving and to keep people happy. Because as long as they do that, they'll keep doing the main purpose of Disney - to keep people spending.
Everything is tightly controlled and efficient. It's ridiculously clean. The lines for rides are always moving. They might be a mile long, but they're always moving so you feel like you're getting somewhere rather than just standing around. The exits to the rides always exit into a store where you can buy stuff. Hell, even getting into and out of a ride is efficient. You're rushed in, you're rushed out. Politely, of course, but make no mistake they get you in and out pretty quickly.
Even the food and beverages have gotten better, long a sore point with the patrons at the park. Yes, it is still overpriced, but not as badly as before and it's of better quality. The attitude there is not to gouge you on a few items, which might piss you off, but to slightly over-charge you on everything so you keep buying more and more.
Honestly, the person who can walk out after spending a day at Disney without dropping $100 after the price of admission is tapping on will power reserves that most of us don't have. I think it's actually impossible if you have kids. The whole atmosphere of the park practically compels you to reach for your credit card (They only take Visa, by the way).
Of course you want to spend $20 on the Mickey Mouse ears with the Pirates of the Caribbean rag and dreadlocks. Of course you need a Goofy sweatshirt. Yes you need the Tinkerbell Christmas ornament (sadly, we apparently do). There are so many ways to make you part with your money. You have to constantly chant to yourself "Do I need this and will it ever be used again after I leave here?" If not, well, I pity you when you get the Visa bill.
It's astonishing. I'm a touch in awe of it, to be honest. Because somebody did the science on this. People sat around, commissioned psychologists, sociologists, people familiar with how to get people to move and created this park around their suggestions. It's as brilliant a creation as it is terrifying. It says something about humans. I'm not quite sure what, and I'm not quite sure I'll like the answer, but it certainly says something.
Does this mean I didn't have a good time? I did have fun, although I was aware of something oddly creepy about my enjoyment around the edges of my subconscious. The rides were fun and there is something about watching the kids run around and have fun. Other people's kids, mind you. I think Disney is best enjoyed without kids. Less stressful and certainly cheaper. You can enjoy the wonder the kids have in Disney...just make sure it's watching other people's kids....