Thursday, August 08, 2013

Disneyland Vs. Dollywood

Ha ha, yes that is sort of a joke. Because, obviously, there is no comparison. It's not even fair to mention them in the same sentence. However, I want to point out why Disneyland costs as much as it does. When compared to what Dollywood charges, it's a total bargain. Plus I love talking about Disneyland because it's my favorite place on the whole entire planet. 

Oh, Dollywood. We had to call it Dollywalmart. Here are some things we noticed immediately.

1. There is peeling paint. Everywhere. It totally gives the impression that nobody cares about the place.

2. There are no ride monitors. You know, those people who ask how many people in your party and then direct you to the appropriate seat line? That saves a ton of waiting time.

3. The people working there are either young kids boring everyone in line by talking about football statistics or really old people who should either be in retirement homes or hospice. It's depressing.

4. There is an attempt to create a theme by having Dolly songs playing in certain areas that have something to do with the songs. It's really a rather pathetic attempt.

5. Their "mascots" are a sad, sad Corduroy Bear and Strawberry Shortcake. The bear's feet were filthy and Strawberry Shortcake scared the kids away. I don't know if it was her giant head or her odd strawberry scent. Mixed with the BO of what was surely a teenage boy inside.

6. There are more food places than rides. I guess the goal is to entice you into a food coma so that you don't notice how lame the entire park is.

Now, I wouldn't complain so much had I not spent $130 for D and I to spend a few hours there. I would have spent nearly twice that to enjoy Disneyland for a day, but it would have been completely worth it. Because why? I will tell you why.

Every detail is attended to. Each restroom has a theme based on the "land" it is in. The restaurants and food stands continue the theme. The uniforms, yes, continue the theme. By and large, these areas are cleaned on a more than regular basis. Also? The employees doing the cleaning don't care that their job sucks. They're happy about it. I once saw a young guy cleaning up excess trash while on roller skates. I asked him if he hated cleaning up after lazy people. He looked at me with a smile, but also like I had a second and third head. No, he actually, genuinely enjoyed his job! Oh, and he wasn't 70.

The characters stay in character. Their costumes are impeccable. They engage visitors rather than slumping through like they wish they were dead. They make you believe the fantasy.

Which is really what it's all about, right? The fantasy. The illusion that, just for a little while, you have escaped into another world. The Happiest Place on Earth. A place where you can be your inner child, your most innocent, happiest self. You're entertained, you're treated like Somebody. You get caught up in the music, the surroundings, the overall environment. Rides are an adventure. You get to immerse yourself in another world. For a day, a few hours, a few days.

Dollywalmart was more like reality. Buildings require upkeep. Old people have to work because retirement isn't an option for everyone. Food makes you fat. There isn't much worth waiting for. Entertainment is expensive. Family time is a chore. Humidity sucks especially when you're surrounded by other sweaty people in an enclosed space with nothing to look at.

There is no comparison. Like I said. I'll always love Disneyland more than anything; I didn't expect to convert to Dollywood. I just didn't expect to be depressed. If you have a choice, choose Disneyland. Or Disney World. Or Ripley's Belive It or Not. At least you'll be getting what you paid for.


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