Disneyland and Data

by

Mickey Mouse

I spent the past three days at Disneyland with my family and another family. We have a 3 year old boy and girl who is almost 5 years old. As I wrote a friend, “It is such a joy and wonder and treasure to see them in their youth and vibrance and wonder.” Disneyland brings out the kid in all of us. Amazing how many 20-80 year olds are here, without any kids.

Even though so many of the rides seem out-of-date in terms of technology, the creativity behind this place is incredible. It makes me want to read the biography of Walt Disney. Being here also makes me think about data and digitization, as well as the value people place on having experiences. Many of the rides have been around since I was a kid, like “It’s a Small World” and “Pirates of the Carribean.”

Small World

Pirates

Despite the age of these rides and the fact that they seem humorously antiquated in terms of technology, people flock to them…my point is that each of the rides is a mechanical/technological representation of a different and “exciting” reality. The forces of technology and entrepreneurship are no doubt at work to create these same types of experiences using internet technology. The challenge for technological theme parks is recreating the interpersonal/social aspects.  Although I did not meet one person I knew during our visit, we had at least a dozen encounters with people, both workers at Disneyland and attendees, that made the whole experience more satisfying. Stephanie drove us from the Disneyland train station to the Castle one morning. Along the way, she told us her story, how she applied 10 years ago to be a secretary at Disneyland and was given this job by mistake…and she’s loved it ever since. How do you replicate that over the internet?

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