We recently arrived home from a trip to Disneyland. Actually, we went to other places in the States as well, but three days at Disneyland in Anaheim kind of eclipsed the rest of the trip for me.
And here’s why.
Walt Disney the man was a master storyteller. He created some great characters who inspired love and devotion the world over. And the massive company that is Disney today is carrying on that legacy, and creating more amazing characters for kids to love.
I think the main reason I respect and admire what they do is their adherence to what I would call a story bible. What I mean by this is that they are strict about keeping the way a character acts true to the original, or at least how that character was designed to be.
I’m trying to think of ways to explain this for non-writers, and the best I can think of is – you know when you’re watching a movie and it seems bad for some reason? You can’t put your finger on it, but you’re not enjoying it? It seems unlikely, somehow? It’s probably because the characters are doing stuff that doesn’t fit with their character. They’re being made to do something that the writer wants or needs them to do to move the plot forward, but they’ve created characters with certain beliefs and motivations that don’t match that.
Disney never does that. Ever.
We met Tinkerbell, and she looked just like Tinkerbell. She acted just like Tinkerbell. My daughter was overwhelmed.
We met Peter Pan and he got down at her level and whispered in my daughter’s ear. Luckily, she told me what he said: “Make sure you get into lots of trouble, stay up late and eat lots of ice cream.”
I mean, okay, I wasn’t entirely excited about the message – but man, it was exactly what Peter Pan would have said. 🙂
So to my point. Three days at Disney is a tiring, overwhelming, amazing, truly magical experience. But it’s because they’re so good at staying focused, and they make sure their characters always act…well, in character. And I really respect that.