My parents took me to Disneyland for the first time when I was 4 years old. For years, we continued to create magical memories together while spending entirely too much money on food.
I am celebrating my second year as an annual pass-holder to Disneyland, and growing increasingly dissatisfied.
The Walt Disney Company has progressively slipped into a pit of corporate sell-out that I have found harder to follow. The passion and love that Walt Disney poured into his company 60 years ago seems to have been lost in the whirlwind of consumerism of whatever new movie brings the most money.
Case in point: the termination of “Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” in favor of a stage version of “Frozen” at the Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure. For 13 years, hundreds of thousands of adoring Disney connoisseurs have attended the musical, which featured Broadway-style music and dancing that far exceeded any and all expectations of what a theme park musical usually provides.
When Disney first announced in September that “Frozen” would be replacing “Aladdin,” the decision was met with outrage. While some people conceded that Disney would go above and beyond with any new show produced on the Hyperion stage, many felt that a “Frozen” musical was Disney’s greedy attempt to capitalize on a worldwide phenomenon that is losing its hype.
The announcements of movies like “Toy Story 4” and a new Star Wars Land will arguably drive up park attendance, but sequester it to a small corner of the park that will only congest, are also questionable choices. It also runs the risk of dampening the Disney experience for people who might think the company is better off preserving some of the more classic Disney tales that appeal to all generations.
Will I continue spending money on all things Disney? Probably. But my willingness to do so is disappearing in light of the magic I once loved turning into big piles of money bags for a corporation that has lost sight of what it once stood for: family, friends and imagination.
Perhaps Disney would be better off preserving the beloved aspects of its park and products, rather than trying to fix what is not broken.