From 2nd grade on my family lived in Southern California, and so we went to visit Disneyland about once a year during my childhood, trips that I greatly enjoyed. So Disneyland would be sacred to me because of that alone. But it also seems relatively sacred to many others. For example, my sister-in-law now lives out a life-long-dream by working there, even though she could retire.
Previously you listed out a bunch of criteria that distinguish the sacred from the non-sacred. While Disneyland does check some of those boxes I'm not seeing the argument that it checks enough. Generally merely being highly valued and nostalgia promoting doesn't warrant the sacred label.
In particular doesn't the sacred usually require we think about it in far mode, that we highly value belief/respect relative to effect (u don't piss on the eucharist to convert someone), that we don't trade off the sacred for the material (direct payment for indulgences/sex bad), and tend to have intermediaries etc...
And my understanding is that ppl are pretty enthusiastic as the new additions to Disneyland while often resisting changes to the sacred.
I few.years ago Jaxk Ma came to LA study moviemaking. His aspiration was to take the hero story back to China to bring about a positive influence on society through storytelling. I know many people who have found the entire Disney experience has a positive impact on their whole family. There are a few wholesome efforts like Disney. Let’s hope we see more.
My family went several years down (from NJ) to Disney World, and that produced feelings and memories similar to yours.
Hmm.. coming from Denmark I find it difficult to understand how an amusement park can be “sacred”. Maybe my understanding of the word is different or maybe the fact that it is considered sacred in US tells a lot about the culture in the US..
My parents worked at Disneyland and Disneyworld when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of time there growing up. It does feel like a trip to Mecca when I go now because it's the only part of my childhood that still stands - there is no family home to return to, no church that resonates anymore, no hometown that hasn't changed dramatically since I was a kid. It absolutely feels sacred not only because of the warm memories but because of the communal experience of being around strangers who are so happy to be there right now. That energy is contagious.
I don't mind the high prices for access because that pays for it to stay pristine and attended to instead of neglected or abandoned like so many other childhood spaces I lost.
This post reads sort of like a GPT wrote it. Baudrillard wrote extensively about Disneyland, drawing interesting comparisons and contrasts to LA traffic and the prison system, among others.
People seem willing to trade eg Disneyland trips for money (a profane value).
If you went up to people in the street and asked them if they think Disneyland is "sacred," what do you think they would say?
Disneyland may be fun. It may be special. It may be "magical." But no one assigns religious significance to it. Disney is a corporation, Disneyland is a theme park that exists to make money for the corporation.
I've never been to Disneyland and hated their movies even as a child, but as usual this post is like taking bodyblows of insight from a fighter way out of my weight class. "Huh 'magic kingdom'? wonder what Hanson is up to today -- probably something about the sacred. Oh wow he's right! Oh goddamn this next point is even more right!" Left me reeling by the end, feeling homesick for the mere possibility of having a sacred site, something none of my ancestors appear to have known since leaving Europe ages ago.
I read the whole thing to the wife, who added (to the 0th point, about it being a family pilgrimage site remembered from childhood) that for most Americans these days there is no family home or gravesite to return to, and if there were it wouldn't summon happy memories.
Why do u have to find “sacred” things in something that is just pure entertainment! It’s not church and isn’t meant to be.
I feel a little less cynical after reading this post.
As a kid, I enjoyed Disneyland a lot. I don’t get the sacred vibe from it, though. I think all the movie tie-ins separates it from other theme parks and fairgrounds. The Universal Studios tour is an interesting comparison.
> the ideals taught to kinds
Should be "kids" I think?
Opposite experience. Found Disneyland to be a corporate, capitalist feast of emotional manipulation. Walt was a profound racist and it still shows. He was an Ayn Rand capitalist and it still shows. I had to climb over the cement wall and barbed wire surrounding the area (conveniently hidden in vegetation) to sit with Hispanic drunks in the surrounding impoverished neighborhood to feel sane. Good food, warm spirits, music and dancing found outside the carefully protected world of Disneyland. I suggest going there.
While my boys loved going to Disney World in Florida and France, the Wokefication of Disney Corp places their wholesomeness brand image in serious jeopardy.
My wife tells me it also has an “after sun down” fun part for adults that holds up pretty well