Top 100 cultural trends shaping the West

The ideas, people, places, and things that are making life out here better right now

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Disneyland
Photo by Disneyland Resort

#95: The case for Disneyland

We know people who don’t like Disneyland, and here are their reasons. The admission price. The lines. The fear that they will have to have their picture taken with Goofy; the belief that while Disneyland may enchant kids, it only bores adults. They are wrong.

No place takes as many pains as Disneyland to get the details right, down to its Mickey Mouse topiary. And while the park is 55 years old, it never stands still. Its theme park twin, California Adventure, has opened a hallucinogenic laser- and fire-effects show. Coming this spring is a Little Mermaid extravaganza. And the sparks keep flying from Disney’s alliance with the animation wizards at Pixar: Finding Nemo’s Nemo, Toy Story’s Buzz and Woody—all have been installed in the pantheon of Disney rides. Next year, the Pixar-inspired Cars Land opens—the Disney equivalent of a new continent.

So give in. Brave the lines. Let yourself go. Because somewhere, say on Nemo’s submarine, you’ll feel gratitude for pop culture that exalts rather than demeans. And you’ll grasp the essential Disneyland secret: All the pains the park takes are taken just for you.

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