Friday, June 6, 2014

Disneyland Diversity and Familiarity

Disneyland is still a lot of fun - especially when your son works for the studio and has guest passes. It is expensive otherwise. Still, you get the value of the expense because it is, well, Disneyland! It would be my wish that every kid or kid-at-heart could go even if only for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The reality is, Disneyland is a middle-class family place.

I think that is the reason why the demographics have changed over the years. The middle class has expanded in the U.S and around the world giving more people economic access to places like Disneyland. IMO, Disneyland is one of those middle-class touch stones that aspirants target to have an American experience.

On my two lucky visits in the 1970s, Disneyland seemed pretty white. Here's some evidence for that in this 1970 vid:

Yep, hardly a person of color anywhere except for a few entertainers. Nowadays, Disneyland seems broadly diverse. There are so many varieties of people and culture in the Park. Some are obviously Asian-Indian with bindi dots on the forehead. Others are Muslim with varying degrees of a womens' head scarves. And there are Catholic or other Christian groups, usually kids, in matching t-shirts identifying their status.

As we were on free passes simply to spend relaxing time with our granddaughter, it was a great idea for a favorite hobby of an introvert in a crowd - People Watching. And I couldn't help but search for a few of those of my own tribal tradition. So, cranking my "Mo-dar" up to eleven, I began to note them in the crowds.

There were quite a few I saw that I didn't have a chance to snap surreptitiously with my camera or phone. I didn't want to appear too creepy. So I usually got them from a distance or from behind. A lot of them were easy. Why? Well, "Y" not?:

It's a Small World, After All.
The guy in the red oval was hard to catch as he seemed to be rushing somewhere. He was also sporting a BYU cap.
And the guy just left of center sitting could be a match with genetically-Utahn hair-loss pattern. (Probably why most of us wear caps.)
The kid's BYU t-shirt clinched this one too. But there were other indicators or feelings of the Mo-dar perking up.
Not sure if the guy in the dragon suit was with them, though.
The guy in the hat was with three boys. I'm not sure the people behind him were in the same group.
This one required a bit more detective work but there was time as we waited for the Enchanted Tiki Room to open while enjoying our Dole pineapple ice cream treats. The family group was clearly from Utah as the teenage girls had Utah soccer t-shirts. But there are a lot of great families from Utah that aren't necessarily Mormon. The clincher was the 20-something kid toting the Nicaraguan "man-bag." The guy didn't look Nicaraguan, so I'm guessing a recently returned missionary from there.
"Phone-Mom" with her four or five kids at Mater's ride seems like a shoe-in. Dad must have a good job to afford this. Maybe he's working, or possibly - with the baby?
The odds are pretty god there were many more Mormons there that I didn't recognize. There were likely some among other ethnic groups. It seems easier to identify and recognize people of your own type. That is why we all have to try a little harder. Disneyland has made some good progress in that regard.
My granddaughter's instant, new friends from . . . who cares?!

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