Oh, fine. Now Disney decides to offer free admission to its American theme parks on what Talib Kweli calls “the born days.” Until about five years back, I took a birthday trip to Disneyland every year and they didn’t even offer me free parking. I had to wear a big, silly pin, and cast members called me out at every opportunity, sometimes in tuneless song. Uh-huh. I see how it is.
The birthday thing is part of Disney’s 2009 promotional campaign, “What Will You Celebrate?” (For beginners, I think we should celebrate the end of the three-year “Year of a Thousand Dreams,” a promotional campaign that was beginning to take on the character of the Hundred Years’ War.) It’s an ingenious move by Burbank; this loss leader will draw thousands of celebrants, surrounded by an entourage of tens of thousands of singing and hollering friends, frenemies and sycophants. The tiara industry will explode.
Personally, I’m a little disappointed. I understand that Disney needs to push hard these days — it’s kind of tough to make the calliope heard over the buzzing of gas pumps and the thud of falling banks — but I was rather looking forward to a couple of months in which Disneyland was not bedecked in gaudy flags, banners, standees and other crap. I can’t recall the last time I saw the Park au naturel — wearing nothing but its innate charm.