Re "Taking a Ride on Disney's Dark Side," Commentary, Aug. 26:
I very much enjoyed reading Jonathan Turley's account of the wickedly good time he had at Disneyland. I too had found the experience to be very unsettling and for some of the same reasons.
The sheer amount of organization and manipulation of "guests" struck me with more than a little shock and awe -- only a totalitarian state could muster such efficiency.
On the other hand, I can recall seeing an interview with a very successful school principal in the San Fernando Valley who had been inspired to study hard and come to the U.S. from China after she saw photos of Disneyland. Her reaction -- could there really be such a place on Earth that exists only to give people pleasure? -- was a life-changing event.
Wicked? Yes, a bit. Evil? Maybe not.
Thank you for the honest description of Disneyland. The three times I visited were disasters. I went as a teenager, shortly after the heralded opening and was disappointed because it had not been completed. I went with a boyfriend during the smoggiest month (August); he got violently ill on the teacups and I was forced to navigate crowded freeways to get out of there. My last visit was when I felt pressured to take my son before he entered college; again, it was hot, crowded and expensive.
My father, admittedly an idealist, thought that Walt Disney should have given children free admission because they (and their parents) made the Disney fortune. Right.