Being Goofy at Disney

Disneyland is one of the few places on earth where you can wear whatever you like. There, you’ll see a large-biceped bodybuilder sporting a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and standing comfortably next to a glamour model with sequined Minnie ears. The sprawling assemblage of teenagers posing together in matching orange shirts emblazoned with the words Johnson Family Vacation. The 20-something collegian wearing a fanny pack to hold her tickets and water. These people are dorks — for a day, at least. And no one at Disneyland cares.

As much as I haven’t understood why full-grown adults squeal at the thought of meeting Cinderella (or, rather, the person dressed as Cinderella) or registered the thrill in collecting all the collectibles, I appreciate that Disneyland is a place where adults…don’t have to be.

Our culture emphasizes growing up, whether we’re ready to or not. Yet we bask in escapist entertainment, from video games and movies to alcohol. Our free time allows us to roleplay, to imagine, to take on buried personalities. Disneyland takes it a step further. It allows us to imagine a world where we don’t have to mask our inner selves at all — the selves that are just kids who really just want to spin around on the teacups in a Pluto t-shirt.