Disneyland, at Twenty-Three…
There is a special place in my heart for Disneyland, and there always will be. Maybe I feel a special relationship to it because as a Southern Californian, I’ve grown up with the place. No more than four years have ever gone by between visits, though of course when I was younger often much, much less time would pass before I’d visit. I’m 23 now, and the last time I saw Disneyland I was 19-years-old; I paid for a few friends and I to stay at the resort, and we tripped acid on my Birthday in the park. By the way – I don’t recommend that one…it’s interesting, yes, but perhaps not in the right ways. At 19, I must have been making up for Disneyland Grad Night – senior year graduates at my former high school were sent to celebrate at the park, an arrangement that was made by the school system.
Yesterday’s trip was not like the others. Of course, I wasn’t on acid this time. But I’ve also become quite a bit more conspiratorial since the last time I’d gone. Back then, I didn’t know anything about mind control, nor the occultism that runs rampant in Disney. Ever since the Alternate Reality Game designed to promote the movie Tomorrowland last year, the desire to return to the stomping grounds of my childhood had grown greater and greater.
Synreal & Hyperreal
Disneyland is the ‘Magic Kingdom’, and in the styling of true magicians, they are absolute masters of psychology – perception in particular. All five senses of the park-goer are very carefully controlled to create the impeccable Disney atmosphere that makes the park world-renowned. Disneyland creates what is perhaps best described as a Hyperreality – from Wikipedia:
In semiotics and postmodernism, hyperreality is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.
Almost everybody now knows about the system of secret underground tunnels which allows cast members and janitors alike to scramble quickly through the park, whether they are bound for greeting children or picking up a stray Churro wrapper. The objective of these tunnels is to maintain the atmosphere of the park – the illusion of entering into a new, magical world of fantasy and wonder. All aspects of the illusion are maintained.
The red bricks at the entrance of the park are designed to make visitors feel they are getting the “red carpet” treatment, while the dark paved roads that border them are designed to move foot traffic along from Main Street into the park’s perimeter. It’s one of the only places in the park with black roads – the black get hot in the sun, discouraging lingering. Colors can be appealing or repelling – ugly colors like “Go Away Green” are designed to make certain features melt into obscurity for the average visitor. Unsurprisingly, the entrance to the infamous “Club 33” is painted in “Go Away Green”. The “Smellitzer Machine” releases scents that emulate the desired sense or experience. It’s dusty and musty in the Haunted House, it’s citrus over the orange groves features in California Adventure’s “Soarin’ Over California”, it’s ice cream and fresh cookies as you pass those tantalizing shops on Main Street.
Walt was a true mastermind of the human psyche, a talent inherited by his Imagineers. The enchantment is as evident as the spellbound children and plethora of adults milling through the park sporting Mickey Mouse ears and Disney shirts of every variety. Opinions on Disney run the gamut – from Fritz Springmeier’s claims that Walt was a federally employed satanist with mob and Illuminati ties, to the loving adoration of obsessed Disneyphiles who worship Walt and his legacy. I am not inherently cynical, but I do believe in scrutiny. While I treat everything written by Fritz Springmeier with a hearty sprinkle of salt, his article about Disney is worthy of consideration by skeptical and curious people like my readers. My motivation for writing this piece on Disneyland stemmed from an honest curiosity about how magic and illusion in the theme park environment could be understood psychologically, and whether a ride, and a contained ‘hyperreality’ such as Disney might constitute a basis for mind control programming as Fritz claims.
Storylines & Symbol I’s
My friend whom accompanied me to Disneyland yesterday and so graciously agreed to pay said something interesting after we got off the Winnie the Pooh ride at Critter Country and the sun was setting on our overstimulated day and jellied legs; he said: “Every ride has a storyline…it’s pretty interesting to think about. You could probably write an essay on every ride if you wanted to”. I thought his observation was interesting. As time has graduated the architecture, a ride like Winnie the Pooh is a lot more impressive than it’s older Fantasyland Brethren – even the beloved “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” seems a little lackluster by direct comparison. But my friend was right – each of these rides told a story. Some of the stories the rides tell are even rather dark – I saw a child exit “Alice In Wonderland” in tears yesterday.
We got fast passes for Indiana Jones, arguably one of the best rides in the park.
“What’s the storyline for this ride?” My friend asked me, just as the ride’s “introduction video” concluded. scratching his chin in the big stone room. It’s possible that the edible pot brownies he’d consumed prior to entering the park made his ears tune out the man talking on the big screen.
“No idea,” I replied with a shrug – I hadn’t really been watching. Eager to help, a large girl standing ahead of us turned around.
She said something like…”The storyline is that we’re taking a tour of the temple of [doom?], and if any of us look into the forbidden eye, we all invoke the curse of [blah]”. I said, thanks. But my friend, perhaps stoned, didn’t hear her explanation. Oh well.
Anyways, I had a bit of a ‘timeline’ slip. Had this ride always been called, “Indiana Jones: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye“? Or is it just that I never noticed the swirly dark black outline of that eye under every posted sign for the ride before? This time, it stuck out to me in a big way, and I found it strange that the entire theme of the “Forbidden Eye” had completely escaped my cognizance up until this visit. The ride itself had not changed, but I’d never remembered such pointed references to the sigil of the eye lining the walls and featured on every sign.
There are certain ‘themes’ I noticed on the rides that popped up numerous times. One of them is the ‘barrels of TNT’ or explosives of some variety culminating in a cartoon ‘BOOM’ with accompanying flashing lights and ‘seeing stars’ swirling. This particular plot event was present on a number of rides, and one might say it could be found in some form on nearly all of them. Could it perhaps represent the fall into wonder or the transition from reality to fantasy? In some disguise, this ‘descent into wonderland’ is a persistent feature of Disneyland from every perspective.
Now, it is not my intention in this article to examine the occult symbolism of Disney movies and Disney rides, in particular. That symbolism is present – in great abundance, and in plain sight. It’s a topic of massive berth that deserves special treatment, but I did touch upon it a little bit when researching the “Plus Ultra” society in the Tomorrowland movie’s Alternate Reality Game. The occult overtones of It’s A Small World are no small feat. The symbolism of Disney’s rides, movies, TV Shows, and characters is a fascinating subject I encourage the interested reader to probe. But my question for the park yesterday was more mechanical than theoretical.
Twisting & Turning
Is there an element of the physical process of the rides at Disneyland which may invoke a certain dissociated state of mind? There is an undeniably hypnotic element present in all experiences offered by the park, and a certain hypnotized mentality that seems to possess visitors in lines, waiting for parades, or on the rides. Excitement and anticipation are built as the queue lines progress and the visitors get closer and closer to the main attraction. Details and features of the ride become not only visible, but creep into the ambiance slowly, chirping or dimming or enclosing the atmosphere. When I visited the park on LSD with a number of friends, one of them remarked upon the flickering lighting on the “Pirates of the Caribbean”. She said there was a distinct flashing that made her ill. Perhaps only on such a sensory-enhancing drug would a person notice something like this. But the details of each ride are pinned to the smallest discrepancy, and lighting is an important aspect of the illusion.
Does the combination of lighting, smells, twisting and turning, stories and darkness, tend to lend minds to a formative, malleable state of dizziness and disorientation? It’s quite likely. And in an altered state of consciousness, it’s hard to reject the fantasy script the rider is passively progressing through as they ride. In a certain sense, the ‘virtual’ and passive experience of the ride is a very good model for ‘mind control programming’ scripts, because they seat the visitor and then send them into an experience – an experience with a predetermined outcome, but one which follows all the reality modeling rules the mind uses when making determinations about what is real. By controlling the rider’s perception, the ultimate result is the ‘hyperreality’ of the Disney magician which is so inherently effective on children and which even adults find difficult to pierce.
People can be programmed subconsciously by their own behaviors or their perceived participation in a behavior. The passive and tumultuous state created in a Disneyland ride acts directly on the underlying physical processes of the mind without directly engaging the conscious mind for reality testing or participation. In a sense, these rides speak fluently to the neurological processing that occurs in the subconscious mind, and perhaps this does nothing more sinister than create a deep-seated nostalgia and longing for Disney, creating lifelong customers. But Disneyland is more than just a corporate trademark of colossal global power – it’s the underpinning of an entire system of collective consciousness for the American Culture.
Children are raised on Disney movies, which retell ancient fairy tale stories and appeal, again, to the basic mythological level which understands the worlds in themes, feelings, and symbols. It is a level of communication instantly communicable which bypasses reason. Those who script Disney’s headlining mascots, shows, and movies, understand the way this process of ‘Fairy Tale Integration’ works on both children and adults. Like all brands, Disney seeks to make money and win the hearts of those who buy from them. But they have done something more, by understanding the deeper developmental and archetypal processing that is involved with psychology: they can win the soul of a kid. And everybody with a “magicked” bone in his or her body knows that inside the shell of the conditioned and socially adjusted adult is the soul of a child.
Disney understands how to reach these cores of people and access their hidden and forgotten dreams and desires, for better or worse. That is why in some people, there is such an observable fanaticism and devotion to the Disney creed.
Researching Mind Control at Disneyland as I was driven home last night by my awesome friend (he paid for my ticket!) resulting in strangely stumbling upon a story or two from former Disneyland employees. I invite the reader to judge whether or not they believe these stories to be the product of fiction or fantasy; I expect in either case they will be found to be intriguing. Posted on the Reddit ‘nosleep’ subforum, the first story discusses an employee’s experience working at the Matterhorn at Disneyland and how kids would sometimes disappear from the video cameras, or come back from the ride much much later than the ride’s length. The second story was posted by a construction worker for Disneyworld who claims he witnessed a park princess being used in a blood sacrifice to ‘anoint’ a new ride he was working on (Snow White).
Some Parting Thoughts…
The subject I’ve broached in this hopefully intriguing article is vast and in need of elaboration, as there is a great deal of content and history related to all things Disney which Disneyland is only a small part of. Expect more to come on the enchantment of Oz’s greatest Illuminators.
Oh, and before you care to ask, dear reader – I had a wonderful time at the Magical Kingdom yesterday. And boy, aren’t their employees customer service stars? The Alice In Wonderland ride operator called me “Princess”. And I wasn’t even a five-year-old in Disney’s Frozen attire with a birthday pin!