As you walk beneath Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, if you look closely at the ground, you’ll see a golden spike driven into the concrete. If you stand there long enough, there’s a good chance you’ll hear someone say, “this marks the geographical center of Disneyland when it was first built.” Many casual fans and newcomers may be fascinated with this bit of trivia, but most DisNerds will be biting their tongue, trying to decide if it’s worth the argument to point out the falseness of this statement.
A conversation about the man himself, Walt Disney, can take an even more devastating turn. Among many of the uninformed, or more to the point, misinformed, it’s often been stated that Walt was racist, sexist, or anti-semitic. These are fighting words. I had this happen on my personal Facebook page once; I came very close to “unfriending” someone, which is something I never do.
Some fans of Disney, myself included, get rather passionate about certain subjects. There are some bits of misinformation that might seem minor to others, but it’s hard for us to be silent. We have to choose our battles.
When someone tells us they remember in the 60’s during Disneyland fireworks when Tinker Bell would fly down, circle around the castle a couple times and fly back up, do we tell them Tink didn’t have that luxury (she flew straight down a wire), or do we let them cling to their memories?
When someone tells us their favorite Disney movie of all time is Fievel Goes West, are we able to not laugh in their face?
I have to admit, sometimes at Disneyland I overhear people saying things like “I’m not riding the Matterhorn right now. I’ll get fastpasses later,” and while part of me wants to tell them there are no fastpasses in place for the Matterhorn, the other part of me thinks, “Let them learn first hand.” And I keep my mouth shut.
Another reason I keep my mouth shut is the plain and simple fact that I know I’ll probably come across looking like a know-it-all. Maybe I am. No, come to think of it, I KNOW I am. However, I would honestly rather people were uninformed than misinformed. Because when I hear people say things like “You know, Walt built Disneyland around the Swiss Family Treehouse,” I can’t help but think…
….Walt’s cryogenically frozen head must be spinning in his chamber underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean.