Last summer, I was at Disneyland on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when it broke down. The train sat, stuck, on one heck of an incline. Ride operators eventually came around and helped us off, then walked us down the faux, red clay steps just to the side of the track. We carefully made our way into the bowels of the attraction.
Having worked there during high school, I’m familiar with the carefully crafted sheen that’s prevalent in every nook and cranny within the park. I’m also familiar with the inner workings, the shortcuts, the “cast member” entrances and the putrid smells behind the scenes that are often covered up by the guest-friendly aromas of sweet, sugary churros and buttery popcorn.
That trip down memory lane reminded me that things aren’t always what they seem. You think you’re getting one thing, but all you can really count on is the facade.
The shameless act of selling is something we probably all see on a daily basis. People say the right thing to bring you in, then they wow you with their sparkly ways, their colorful aura.
In the evenings, if the night air and the breeze are just right, I can hear the Mark Twain Riverboat. It’s as though it’s calling people to come inside and visit — to be captivated by its sights, sounds and smells of a theme park that’s been creating magic for almost 60 years.
I can still see that magic when I go, but I’m always aware of what’s behind the scenes, just waiting to bring me back down to reality. It’s a balance, escape is, but so long as we’re aware of the truth underneath it all, we’re all that much more prepared. And for awareness of the facade, I am thankful.