Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Disneyland dream-crusher

<lass="page layoutArea column" title="Page 1">

Every year my high school raffled off a trip to Disneyland with one of the most well liked teachers from my school. He was one of my favorite teachers too, mostly because he was a combination between eccentricity and intelligence. But I never wanted to go on that trip, ever. I knew that he would ruin Disneyland for me.

During my junior year World History class he gave his well known, lecture heard around the campus, “Disneyland Speech.” Everyone was obsessed with it, they told me that it would be the greatest lecture you’ll ever come across. But I didn’t think so. Instead, he talked about how the whole theme park was racist and stuck in a bygone age, how main- street was a path of disenchantment and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride a travesty. And you know what, even if I agreed with some of it, I didn’t want to accept it because Disneyland was a big part of my childhood. But his talk and my reluctance to believe it made me think of something: why and when do adults decide it’s okay to ruin childhoods?

There is always that moment when your pure childhood belief in something is burst: Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy. People can nearly always remember when they were told that these things didn’t exist, and how they were told. For some kids, that age is very young. For others, like me, maybe your parents never had the heart to really tell you. Maybe they didn’t want to spoil your love for it. Maybe they were afraid to do it.

Looking back on it now, I understand where adults are coming from. Children inevitably have to grow up. They have to, as we are told “face the real world.” There aren’t the safety nets of make-believe protectors. Instead we get huge furry suits of Disney characters with people inside who are forced by contract not to utter any English to you.

So looking at it that way, parents really are just trying to protect us. But by protecting us, they force us to give up that pure belief in something. In magic, in wonder, in naïve joy. We don’t really get that many times in life. And that’s why even my high school self wouldn’t let go of the picture I painted of Disneyland in my mind since I was little. I wanted it to still be a place that I could pretend to be my younger, carefree self. Where I could wear T-I-double G-R ears and feel completely normal. And thankfully, because my mother never actually bid on that trip, my Disneyland bubble never had to be burst.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *