It's the end of an era.  I've had three wonderful years filled with day dreams, roller coasters and yummy treats found in the most cliche corners of an imaginary world.  I won't be renewing my Disneyland Annual Passport at the end of this month.  I also won't ever get the same Southern California pass back again since Disney discontinued it.  It was the perfect option for me, too.  I didn't mind being blocked out on highly populated days or even an entire month during the summer.  Standing in long lines under the California sun and resembling livestock as I'm herded from one ride to another hardly evokes feelings of happiness.

Some avoid Disneyland altogether, arguing that it's just for kids.  These are usually the same people who think only children should be watching cartoons.  This, of course, is ERRONEOUS!  I highly doubt anything on the Adult Swim Network is appropriate for a child's ears.  I remain unapologetic about the simple things that bring me joy.  I love balloons.  I love ice cream and cotton candy.  If there were bubbles in the air, oh, I'll find them.  

This park is far beyond other amusements like Six Flags which is content with dirty walkways and undecorated surroundings.  Knott's Berry Farm is more pleasing to the eye, but I have to resist my natural impulses to knock down screaming teenagers who think they're on reality television.  But Disneyland - this world transforms people.  I guiltlessly order churros, steal the fastest teacup for a ride and take pictures with characters roaming the park.  I even smile when I'm called "Princess," a comment that would typically cause my knee to greet someone's crotch.  

There's evidence all around of Disney successfully tapping into our lighthearted, child-like demeanors when I see adults wearing Mickey ears or girlfriends torturing their boyfriends with matching t-shirts, both of which I refuse to spend my money on.  (Agh!  Typing with my oversized Mickey hands on is proving quite a challenge.)

The best time to visit Disneyland will always be in the evenings.  That's when the magic really comes to life for me (and when the parking is cheapest).  Millions of vibrant lights pave the streets, outline moving rides, give depth to the surrounding trees almost making it easier to see at night than during the day.  The contrast of colors and constant music force a smile to my face as I hum a merry tune.  The young children, who have passed out from their sugar highs, don't even wake as Disney says goodnight with a glorious display of fireworks and water shows.  

They've done a fantasmic job of ensuring the park is clean, safe and friendly (I'm pretty sure the churro-man knows me by name).  My research on Disney's strict rules for both personnel and park guests was eventually confirmed by friends who have personally worked there.  If anyone does anything inappropriate, they are either fired or banned for life.  I attribute the success of most businesses to this simple, solitary concept -- If it's not working, let it go.

Someday my prince will come and cough up the boatloads of money it now costs to become a Premium Passholder.  In the mean time, while I continue my daydreams, here are 10 rules Disney has for their employees/"cast members" that other businesses can learn from:

  1. Know-It-All - No one is allowed to say, "I don't know."  If they truly don't, they have to find the answer right away.  
  2. No Pointing - To avoid any offensive or confrontational gestures, workers can't point with one finger.  They must use their whole hand or two fingers to direct someone.  
  3. Everyone's a Custodian - Everyone has to pick up trash whenever they see it, including princesses.
  4. First Name Basis - Everyone goes by their first name.  Their name tags also have the state where they are from for a more personal touch.
  5. Code Words - To avoid alarming guests with disturbing terminology, workers use code words to address specific issues.  For example, "protein pill" or "Code V" means there's been a vomit situation.
  6. Stay in Character - This includes no frowning or bad posture.
  7. Watch Your Mouth - Cast members aren't allowed to chew gum, use cell phones or eat on the job.
  8. Appearance Standards - Hair styles and facial hair must be neatly groomed and can't be dyed any unnatural colors.  No visible tattoos or piercings, either.
  9. No Social Media - Cast members are not allowed to disclose anything about their jobs on social media.
  10. Ensure Positive Experience - If a (child) guest is sad, characters are allowed to give them small gifts to encourage happiness.  

Follow me on Instagram @JentleBiz to enjoy nonsensical behavior.

If you're interested in purchasing a Disney Annual Pass (provides access to both Disneyland and California Adventure) for either yourself or as a generous gift to me, their webpage provides all the information you'll need.  

23 September 2015 - Anaheim, California

disney - my land

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