Disneyland and Disney World have often been cited as the most magical places on earth, and that’s not an exaggeration. From the moment Guests drive under that archway or pass through those gates, they are transported into a magical realm of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy. Disney has a gift for taking us away, but could it actually be a curse as well?
The biggest reason we go on a vacation, especially to places like Walt Disney World or Disneyland, is because we want to get away. We want to escape our reality, even if only for a week or so, and Disney has been offering that for decades. However, the Parks might be where magic and memories are made. Have you ever stopped to wonder what makes them so irresistible?
Related:Why Disneyland Would Be Better Without Kids
Why is it that whenever we get to Disney World, we are so ready and willing to drop everything and turn away from all distractions from the outside? Because Disney has had us under their spell for decades.
The Art of Manipulation
There’s a reason some people like Governor DeSantis are obsessed with how things are run at places like Walt Disney World. It’s because Disney properties are completely separate from the rest of the surrounding areas and in more than in just locational or political terms.
Related:Disney Fans Are Going “Beyond the Parks” at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney originally designed his first Park to be a place where kids and adults could have fun together, but he didn’t just design a giant theme park, but a place completely dedicated to the magical world he created. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are entirely separate entities, and they were always built that way.
The Disney Bubble
Many fans have cited the reason Disney feels so separate from the rest of the world is something called the “Disney Bubble.” Disney’s boarders, structures, and even employees go to excruciating detail to keep Guests as immersed in the magic as they possibly can. What Guests might not realize is just how detailed that can get.
Related:Families Split Over Disney Parks Vacation
Disney loves to play with all five senses to pull all the attention they can away from any remnant of the outside world. While many of us who frequently visit the Parks greatly benefit from this phenomenon. It starts to take on a sort of strange and almost cult-like vibe from an outside point of view.
Think about what Disney World is without the aid of Mickey’s magic. It’s an isolated area sitting on swampland almost completely cut off from the rest of Central Florida. As much as we love not thinking about anything but our vacations while we’re sealed behind Disney’s gates, there’s a fine line between enraptured and captured.
A Matter of Perspective
All jokes aside, it doesn’t take much for Guests to be drawn to the magic of the Disney Parks, but the Walt Disney World Resort is practically an entirely separate city within Orlando, Florida. Disney has spent countless dollars making their territory a completely separate entity from the surrounding area, but it’s much deeper than that.
Related:Nearly All Rides Shut Down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Sometimes, it’s all about what Guests don’t see. Along with the Parks distance from major outside landmarks, the architecture of Disney’s property also plays a huge deal as to how Disney is viewed. It’s easy to be awed and mystified by Cinderella Castle, but how many have noticed the warehouse-styled structures that contain attraction housing?
While that all sounds like clever and practical design on the part of the Imagineers, consider the fact that Disney also literally invented a new color to keep Guests from noticing secret doors and off-limits areas. Suddenly, Disney’s magic takes a decidedly shadier turn.
Disney World’s Secret Police
Like any other place with massive crowds visiting daily, Disney has it’s own security team, and not just the boys in blue with the Mickey Mouse badges. Any Disney fan worth their salt knows about the undercover Park security wearing street clothes and hiding in plain sight. While the concept isn’t obscenely scandalous, the unsettling fact of the matter is why they would be needed in the first place.
Related:Historic EPCOT Ride Facing Closure
Disney Guests have proven to be capable of some rather disgusting and appalling behavior, including public urination, and even child abuse. With the increase in bad Guest behavior seen in the past two years alone, it’s no wonder Disney has upped the ante when it comes to security. Like Roz, they’re ALWAYS watching.
Not only that, but Disney’s secret service are also in charge of covering their tail whenever something goes wrong, including excruciating injury and worse. Case in point, they have a whole procedure carried out if someone dies on property.
If the phrase “no one dies at Disney World” makes you uncomfortable, it should. There are multiple reports of Guests passing on property and staff covering it up. @tcruznc goes into great detail in the TikTok above as to how quickly and swiftly Cast Members can act if someone unfortunately passes on Disney Property, and their commitment is certainly remarkable.
How Disney World Ensnares the Senses
Disney doesn’t just stop with a secret security spy network either. Through the use of environmental factors, Disney Park Guests are continuously subjected to sensory and even emotional manipulation any time the enter the property. It’s not just about making popcorn and cotton candy out in the open, but utilizing special technology to pump smells, music, and subliminal cues to elicit a sensory response.
Related:Fans Discuss Animal Kingdom’s Abandoned Attraction and Unfinished Themed Land
Some fans might be familiar with Disney’s Smellitizers, the hidden devices that continuously elicit pleasant aromas, but it goes far beyond ice cream on Main Street. There’s practically a scent for every occasion, including the famous “pirate water” scent. As fascinating as that is, it’s not just about putting Guests in the mood for another trip to Port Royal or through the halls of the Gracey Manor.
The use of music is also a prominent factor in pulling a Guest into the desired frame of mind, and some Guests have even exhibited a major outpour of emotion whenever they hear a certain song. We’re looking at you “Married Life.”
An Emotional Response
The sights, the sounds, they’re everywhere and all around, and they all play a huge part in establishing one primary goal. Two words, emotional manipulation. While that might sound like a bit of a stretch to some, Disney has been doing it for almost a century every time someone sits down in a movie theater.
Related:Disney Attraction Leaves Guest With Emotional Trauma After Scary Experience Changes Life Forever
Not all of Disney’s sensory sorcery is intended just to set the mood for their attractions, although that’s a very big part of it. Disney is also incredibly gifted at what can best be described as “emotional manipulation.” The Walt Disney Company has practically built their empire on tugging the heartstrings of their audience, and the Disney Parks are no different.
How many of us have gotten swept up in the whimsical vibe of the Magic Kingdom by the dulcet tones of Dixieland Jazz as we walk right down the middle of Main Street USA, or found ourselves joyously comforted every single time we get hugged by our favorite Character Meet and Greet? That’s all part of the Disney package and essentially what Guests pay for, but not all of the emotional reactions are designed to be happy ones.
Related:Disney Villain Park Deemed “Too Scary”(Video) A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie
Rides like the Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, DINOSAUR, and Expedition Everest are all absolutely saturated with rich theming to create perfect environmental storytelling. However, that same sensory manipulation used to make Disney Park Guests feel warm and fuzzy is entirely reversed to elicit sensations of anxiety and dread in places like a haunted hotel in the Twilight Zone, or a forbidden mountain guarded by a giant yeti. Whether for joy or for fear, Disney has us dancing to their tune every single time.
Side Effects of Disney World
Some of you might read this and think we’re exaggerating, but consider some of the behaviors we engage in every time we visit the Parks. Outside of Disney, how often are we excited over something as common as a hot box of popcorn, a favorite song coming over the speaker, or the appearance of a childhood hero? Why do we keep so attached to our rigid routines every other day, but completely let ourselves go once we past that big, blue entrance guarded by Mickey and Minnie? Because Disney lets us.
Disney pulls a lot of strings to make Guests to give themselves over to their special brand of magic, and most visitors don’t exactly need that much of a push. Most Guests show a side of their personalities that hardly gets out anywhere else, and that’s exactly the point of the Parks.
There are many who think the Disney Parks, Disney Adults, and so on are all exhibiting cult-like behaviors, and it’s easy to understand why. However, where’s the harm in letting go and indulging in our fun-loving childish sides every once in a while? That’s what Walt would have wanted, right?
Related:Disney Denies Entry to Magic Kingdom For The Next 9 Days
Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and any other Park, private island, or vacation spot that bears the Disney seal is designed with magic in mind. They’re the places where memories are made, and we can’t help but get swept up in the whirlwind of emotions generated by Disney’s environmental manipulation. While some of their methods might raise a few eyebrows, we can’t argue with their results.
Have you been emotionally manipulated into joining the Disney cult? Tell Inside the Magic about it in the comments below!