Even though this is generally a great time of year to go to Disneyland, crowd levels toward the front of the park have been consistently high, largely due to the ongoing Occupy Main Street protests that we have all been reading so much about. Protesters set up a tent city in the Plaza Gardens area every morning (after getting their Star Tours FASTPASSes), moving it only at park closing, and crowd the area area around the flagpole throughout the day, making speeches and displaying protest signs (“When do I get my dream?”, “We are the 10% (of guests who have annual passes),” “People, not princesses,” “An arm, a leg, a churro,” etc.) to passing guests.
Photo: A princess who prefers to remain anonymous but who stands with the protestors and tries to raise awareness of the Disnification of the continent of Africa (shown here sideways).
It is not clear what the protesters want. Some are angered by ever-increasing novelty snack prices. Some feel that Disney California Adventure’s gate price is artificially high, that Disney refused to admit he park’s problems because their theme park division was “too big to fail,” and that those who visited in the park’s early years when it had few big attractions were unfairly subsidizing its growth. A few still seem to be under the impression that they need to speak out against a scheduled removal of Mr. Lincoln, want the sexism returned to Pirates, or are angry that you can no longer go to the front of attraction lines by renting a wheelchair.
But the majority seem to be pushing for Disney to give more attention and praise to “the little guy,” not just in the parks, but in their films. Said Hipster Burns, a self-appointed spokes protester, “On a cartoon like Beauty and the Beast, there are lead animators who just handled a single character, but there are other animators responsible for whole crowds of background characters and animals. Why don’t the minor characters get the love and attention the big characters do? It’s the same in the parks. There is so much that is designed to appeal to children, but look around — there are far more adults here than children, and we’re the ones paying for everything. Why can’t the kids sit at the exit and wait while we go on an attraction once in a while? Where’s the parade for us?”
Said protestor Chrissie Bathless, “Look at the princesses, living in castles. Sleeping Beauty got an awesome new walkthrough installed in her castle not too long ago, but why? Because she’s beautiful and rich? What about the toons, the characters that really do the heavy lifting for Disney. These are the men and women and others who get whacked in the head for laughs while the princesses sing and get waited on by forest creatures. But look at Toontown — it’s a mess! The attraction count has actually gone down since it opened, fun stuff keeps getting removed and not replaced — I’m even starting to think the hills aren’t real. But is Disneyland doing something about it? No — they’ve announced that they’re building a whole new area just for princesses. As if they need it!”
There have been a few minor incidents related to the protests. There were multiple complaints of protestors crowding or vandalizing restaurant restrooms, but this was solved by pointing out to them that there are restrooms all-the-heck over the place in the park. Bad blood was also stirred up when a splinter Occupy New Orleans Square group noticed that a group of Club 33 patrons were standing on a balcony, drinking champagne, and laughing down at the poor, lower-status guests who had to visit the park sober.
If you have been to the park recently and photographed the protests, please send them to us along of your report of the action. We will post updates as they become necessary.