Your Nostalgia Could Be Killing the Disney Parks

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It’s no secret that Disneyland and Walt Disney World have cultivated a time-honored reputation amongst their ever-growing fanbase. Generations of cherished memories have been created in the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy, but that could prove to be a double-edged sword. Although Walt Disney practiced the motif and mantra of “keep moving forward,” the nostalgia goggles seem to have made millions of Disney fans blind.

Walt and Mickey at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

It seems like negative reports from the Disney parks are flowing in almost continuously on the news feeds. Some fans have even stated that Disney has “lost their magic,” and that can be incredibly dismaying to those who still cling to all that the brand stands for. However, a recent Reddit post has brought a few good points to light. Fans have stopped looking at what Disney IS and are more concerned with what Disney WAS. Nostalgia plays a big part in Disney’s established charm, but there’s a time to remember the past and the time to look to the future.

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On a post concerning Guest responses to Disney’s changes, a user known as u/Johnykbr makes an observation that many longtime fans likely share.

“Well it’s Nostalgia that separates Disney from most other large theme parks. It took Universal forever to realize that and they are tapping into it and doing well. That doesn’t excuse the reaction of people over the Epcot sign removal (although it does look horrid currently), but if they destroy the value of nostalgia then there’s little to drive return visits.

beacon of magic epcot
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

The user is referring to the recent Guest responses to the changing of the EPCOT entrance sign, but they also make a point about the “value of nostalgia.” Another thread concerning Disney’s changes had many sharing the same sentiment, including u/bruceymain who comments on why visitors are behaving like they do.

“Because people don’t like change and it’s not how they remember it when they were young blah blah blah. I do get it and it’s nostalgic or whatever, but things have to change to keep moving and to keep being successful.”

Change is important for the Disney parks, as is remembering what made them great in the first place. While the company does need to get with the times on a few fronts, it’s also important to maintain that same sense of classic Disney they’ve been known for decade after decade. Disney has helped make so many wonderful memories for millions of guests, and sometimes it’s OK for memories to be memories.

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Only through a sense of balance can the company maintain its timeless reputation but still maintain the mindset of moving forward with bigger and better projects for future generations. Nostalgia is important in all of Disney’s Magic, but it shouldn’t blind them to progress.

Do you suffer from too much Disney-brand nostalgia? Tell us in the comments below!

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