I am a huge fan of the Disney Parks. If you know me this is not a surprise. I have been to Walt Disney World over 30 times, Disneyland in California 3, and one trip to Disneyland Paris. The original park in California opened 60 years ago today. It almost goes without saying that Disneyland changed the entire amusement park industry. Themed areas, attractions with storylines, and deeply immersive experiences are now something we have come to expect when walking through the gates of a theme park, usually to be let down. But Disney continues to deliver.
The company has had its ups and downs to be sure. Disneyland in the late 90s and early 2000s was literally beginning to fall apart due to horrific mismanagement. But since new leadership took over just before its 50th anniversary, the resort has again been flourishing. And this revitalization has expanded to all of the parks around the world. Right now is probably the most exciting time for the Disney Parks since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971.
I love Disney Parks because I grew up with them. But I also love the parks for their increasingly rich diversity of people and technology, both major interests of mine. Disney has been a very pro-gay company since the 90s when they faced down – and won – a boycott by the Southern Baptists. They offered marriages for gay couples at their wedding venues as soon as they could, and ceremonies before it was even legal. There is literally an entire ride devoted solely to the idea that we are all more alike than we are different. The Disney parks are for everyone.
So happy birthday, happiest place on earth.