Sunday, August 12, 2012

Disneyland And A Study In Characters

Just a note before we begin. This is only one person's perception (mine) fully recognizing that I am in the minority.

A few years ago, we booked a family to Disneyland through Walt Disney Travel. Part of the package is kids get a call at home from a Disney character (usually Mickey) that tells them how much the Disney characters look forward to their visit and meeting them. Nice touch and certainly my great nephew Joseph was excited when he got his call from Mickey. Kids love the Disney characters. I am not a kid anymore.

I'm not and never was much of a Disney character guy. I'm not even a fan of most of what can be considered the classic Disney movies. I vaguely remember the Mickey Mouse Club when I was a kid but it hardly left any kind of lasting impression on me. I remember seeing Walt's TV show on Sunday nights from time to time but it wasn't one of those things I had circled in TV Guide as "must see TV". 

So the characters that run around Disneyland don't have a whole lot of interest for me. I'm not even really much of a parade person. No don't get me wrong. The Disney characters in the park do add tremendous value to the overall atmosphere. And I get a bit of kick seeing the expression on kids faces when they do meet their favorite Disney characters but for me, I can take or leave them.

The pictures posted in this blog entry are of the "Fab Five" as they are collectively known by Disney fans. The five are Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, all original creations of Walt Disney himself. Other than maybe Mickey, I'm not even sure these are the most popular characters in the park with the recent additions of Disney princesses and Pixar characters gaining most of the attention now days.

Everyone likes Mickey. He's "The Man" or rather "The Mouse" in the Disney realm. He's never far away from a picture or statue of Walt Disney who once said "it all started with a mouse". Mickey is cool, an expression that I guess is still used. 

Back in the 1930's, Donald Duck came along to steal some of Mickey's popularity. Donald is perhaps the most interesting of the five who with his ill-tempered attitude always seems to be a step away from launching into an expletive laden tirade at something or someone. He also doesn't wear pants. He wears a shirt or some other top, but no pants. Who, outside of Randy Travis, runs around in public without pants?

I guess my favorite character of the fab five is Goofy. Goofy tries hard. He tries to fix things, build things, learn new things. He is the good intentions of Mr. Everyman. I see a lot of myself in Goofy for where there are good intentions to be found, Goofy is basically an idiot. Yep, as I look back and see some of my past failures of well intentioned efforts I can only look at myself as "what an idiot".

Then there's Minnie and Pluto. Mickey and Minnie seem to lead separate lives infinitely linked in love. In Toon Town, they have separate houses. Somehow they have a son named Max. Not sure how that works. Mickey and Minnie also have a pet dog named Pluto. A mouse with a pet dog. How does that work?

Anyway, I may not be a character guy but it's nice to have legacy and tradition. And in the Disney parks world, while Buzz and Woody, Belle and Ariel, may get the most of the buzz these days, the tradition and legacy of five of Walt's original creations still has and will always have a place.

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