Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disneyland Park

Despite the blog's title, I haven't discussed too much nomenclature (yet!). Partly this is because I'd like to use a lot of sources to talk about name changes through time, inconsistencies in naming, or what have you. The source base I've gotten through so far is broad, but not yet terribly deep. Nevertheless, I'll still try to address nomenclature from time to time. Today, we'll start at the top!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Disneyland is not an approved term in my thesaurus. One function of a thesaurus is disambiguation, and since Disneyland can refer to several things, Disneyland exists as a lead-in to more descriptive terms: Disneyland (television), Disneyland Park, and Disneyland Resort.

I remember when I first heard sustained use of Disneyland Park in the late 1990s. It certainly left a bad taste in my mouth! I remember a February 1999 thread from alt.disney.disneyland about this very topic. I didn't recall seeing Disneyland Park used much in earlier times, but for several reasons I now accept its utility (though Disney's California Adventure Park has never warmed my heart).

For starters, being able to distinguish Disneyland Park from the Disneyland Resort proved immensely helpful to me as a Guest Relations Cast Member. Especially in 2001, Guests would arrive and have no idea what was what. They might think "Disneyland" had just expanded and everything new was all part of "Disneyland." I don't know what they did after I explained that they were at the Disneyland Resort, and there were now two theme parks, including Disneyland Park. They might have gone off as confused as ever, but at least I knew I was as specific as possible. Perhaps a detail-oriented person in their group would recall that the nice man at the Information Booth had kept repeating "Disneyland Park." (I think I was also one of the few Cast Members that would never shorten "Disney's California Adventure," no matter how much of a mouthful that was to say.) So, it served as a useful point of distinction.

As I've been doing this thesaurus research, I've also found that it has historical precedent (though not terrifically strong) and was used even before Opening Day. But as Werner Weiss notes in that Usenet thread, and as I have found so far, Disneyland Park is used to differentiate the park from the Disneyland Hotel. The earliest source I've yet seen for this is a March 19, 1955 Los Angeles Times article about construction of the Disneyland Hotel, which is described as "adjoining the new Disneyland Park." The other early mentions I have in that vein are in the big souvenir newspaper insert a couple of days before Disneyland opened (when it's clear which Disneyland we're talking about, there's no reason to be verbose!) and the 1960 edition of "Walt Disney's Guide to Disneyland."

It then seems to go into hibernation for a time; the next mention I've found (thanks to VintageDisneylandTickets) is the January 1993 guidebook. There are many mentions of just Disneyland, and the logo certainly has no "Park" attached to it, but some text has begun to refer to it as Disneyland Park. The references to it since then have increased in intensity. It now has a very specific legal usage (Disneyland is an adjective modifying Park) and always has the registration symbol. If the 1990s is indeed when this usage took off, I might have a source who can shed further light on this. I will, of course, pass along whatever I find.

One thing I can say conclusively is that it has always been known colloquially as "the Park." Newspapers, guidebooks, Disneylanders (both people and the publication) and other sources refer to it that way. It is still used in conversation today. Sometimes I'll say "I'm going to the Park" when I'll be visiting Downtown Disney or Disney's California Adventure as well, but I'd never use "the Park" to refer to that other park! The use of "the Park" is certainly strong amongst Cast Members and Annual Passholders; heck, I even had a co-worker here in Maryland ask me something about the Park (well, maybe "the park"), and he's never even been there!

Does anybody out there have feelings one way or the other on the use of Disneyland Park? Do you talk about "the Park" with your friends? Is there anything like this in Walt Disney World, or do people refer to the parks by some variant of their proper names?


Matterhorn1959 said...

I will admit I use "the Park" when talking about Disneyland. However I feel the reason for this is the increase in Annual Passport holders. Instead of going to Disneyland, the area (Downtown Disney, Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland) have become much more mundane and not as much of a special trip. It is now like going to any large municipal park such as Balboa Park in San Diego, Golden Gate in San Francisco and even Central Park in New York. I would liken Disneyland as one of the large municipal parks in Orange County. Many people, myself included, do activities that one would normally do at a large municipal park--walk around, meet friends, feed ducks, etc. This is my take on the reason for the usage of "the Park."

mydisneycollection said...

San Francisco is "The City" and Disneyland is "The Park" (alway capitalized). Seems pretty simple to me.

Major Pepperidge said...

I have friends who will say, "I'm planning on going to the park on Sunday", and of course I know they mean Disneyland. I've never liked the term "Disneyland Park", not sure why... like you I first noticed the term being used regularly fairly recently. I understand the need for a more specific term, and yet... Walt always called his park "Disneyland" in all of those old TV shows, and that's what it is to me. Downtown Disney isn't Disneyland, and neither is Disney's California Adventure!

The Viewliner Limited said...

My first visit to Disneyland was in 1957 (it was truly a magical place for a ten year old) and have gone pretty much every year there-after until... I believe 1994. I am not one of those people who go nuts over name changes or for that matter the changing of rides. It will always be... DISNEYLAND to me! I think your blog is very informative and enjoy it very much, Richard.

Will Robison said...

I grew up with Disneyland and I don't think I ever called it the Park. Nowadays, I prowl so many blog sites and news sites, that I basically have started calling it by its initials, DL, or DCA, or MK, or AK, etc... DLP would, of course, be Disneyland Paris, not Disneyland Park.

Princess Fee said...

I know when I worked in WDW we would say that we were going to play 'in the park' but that would just refer to one of the 4 parks - between me and my friends we called them all by their proper name, with the exception of the (then) Disney MGM Studios, which we mostly referred to as The Studios. My friend has worked for DLP and he will always refer to all the Parks around the world by their full titles, but that was because of the job he was in.
As for Disneyland, I would always call it Disneyland - but that is because I only get to visit every 2 years if I'm lucky. The full name seems more magical to me.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Fascinating post Jason, I realize I too refer to it as "The Park", but only on the blogs. I would never tell a family member or friend “I'm going to the park" they would assume I meant a city park and ask me "which one".

But if I say on a blog post that "I'm going to the Park" no one assumes I'm going to my local park and I bet almost everyone knows I'm going to Disneyland!

Do you ever sleep with all this nomenclature/thesaurus/encyclopedia stuff swirling around in your head?

1. The uppermost part of the body: noddle, pate, poll. Slang: bean, block, conk, dome, noggin, noodle, nut.
2. The seat of the faculty of intelligence and reason: brain, mind. Informal: gray matter.
3. An innate capability: aptitude, aptness, bent, faculty, flair, genius, gift, instinct, knack, talent, turn.
4. One who is highest in rank or authority: boss, chief, chieftain, director, headman, hierarch, leader, master. Slang: honcho.

SagePixie said...

So I've been thinking this over and I think the reason Disneyland Park became so used in the 90's was that the resort was being expanded. Before it had been simply Disneyland, the Disneyland Hotel, and Disneyworld. But then they started demolishing the parking lot and expanding and since most people weren't sure exactly what was being added they started specifying Park. Also, Disney started adding Disney Stores to all the malls, they added the sports team and bought the sports arena. So Disney became more of a prefix than it had been before. I dunno just some thoughts.

Datameister said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mistryl said...

I just had to laugh at all the names in the a.d.d. thread. Oddly, I just got back in touch with one of those people via myspace about 48 hours ago, after probably 8 or 9 years of losing touch with him. And, no, it's not CAnder. :)