AMA: What is it You Love About Disney Parks?

Joey asks:

I know you love Disney Parks – how come?

I love concise questions! (use the “HMU” link at the top of this page to send yours.)

Lots of people answer that question with things like “the customer service,” or “the magic,” or whatever. All valid. For me, though, it’s the detail. 

Take New Orleans Square in Disneyland. New Orleans is a port town. Now, we do see the Rivers of America from New Orleans Square, but that’s a river. Where’s the real waterway? Where are the high ships plying their trade?


Right there. You can see them just beyond those buildings. In reality, of course, Disney only built what you see – below the roofline, there’s nothing more. But this kind of fine detail lends a sense of place. They didn’t have to put those up. Nobody would have noticed if they hadn’t. But they did. And I love that kind of gratuitous detail.

Or consider Liberty Square in Florida’s Magic Kingdom.


Why are the window shutters crooked? Because in the late 1700s, American colonists needed bullets. So they melted down their metal shutter hinges, replacing them with leather straps, and those straps eventually stretched, making the shutters crooked. Disney’s shutters don’t even close, but they caught this minor detail.

Or what about the “path” of brown paving material that runs through the middle of the roads in this land?


Again, it’s period detail. At the time, many towns’ roads had a drainage ditch running down the middle. That makes for dangerous footing in a theme park, and so Disney paid homage to the “look” with a different colored pavement.

It’s exactly those little details. I’ll often spend a day in a Disney park and scarcely go on a single ride. They’re environments, for me, and they’re ones I can let myself sink into. That, in turn, trips the “relax” circuit breaker in my head, and I unwind a bit ,without having to really make an effort at it (which is how relaxation should happen).

All of their parks have these details, and I spend a lot of time reading about them, examining them, and coming to know them. And it’s a huge part of why I enjoy hanging out in the company’s parks.