Reading time: 7min.

by Sanaa Siddiqui

I went all the way to Disneyland and did nothing

28th March, 2017 – the day I went to Disneyland … and did nothing.

No rides, no shows. Sure, I met Daisy Duck and sure, it was a great experience, but aside from that? NADA.

Why? I hear you say. Well, as a social experiment, it was super interesting. The children gawped and the adults murmured in hushed awe about The Laowai [1] who travelled all the way to Shanghai Disney Resort and sat stationary on a bench in the Marvel Zone. I even got a few strange – albeit subtle looks from cast members. Does she not know where she is?! 

And it was entirely understandable. Disneyland has long retained the title of “happiest place on earth”. People flock from far and wide to witness the spectacle of the famous castle, the parade, and many character meet-and-greets. I remember clearly the amount of planning and preparation that went into our family trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, when I was 8.

So what ailment could have possibly inflicted my mind on this day, when I decided to travel an hour to the world’s most coveted place – only to sit tight and doodle?

I went all the way to Disneyland and did nothing Subscript

It’s simple; I get in for free. I’m a Disney employee.

Though, people hear you can get yourself and three guests into Disneyland for free, and suddenly you’re a Public Service. Not that I’m complaining the genuine excitement on those ‘first-timers’ as they enter the park is well, well worth the long commute, the early mornings. It’s better to share your perk than savour it yourself.

These deeds aren’t advertised publicly, though. For the most part, all people know is that I spend a LOT of time at Disneyland, often doing nothing at all. (It’s true. I do.)

I have a monumental privilege; the freedom to waltz into a park most people only get to see on the television, right before the Disney movie begins. This story in particular signifies some form of abuse to the privilege I have, even from those passing by me as I write. Here in the Marvel Zone, I’m getting more attention than Captain America. [2]

In a sense, I feel like this is a tiny-scale representation of how we look upon those under the limelight. Celebrities, actors, footballers, politicians. [3] The abuse of THEIR privilege (fame, fortune, etc.) is always documented and scrutinised more than their greater deeds. For all we know, they’re investing a significant portion of their monthly salaries on philanthropic initiatives, keeping quiet about what they do.

Yet, I noticed how societally speaking, we have created a lose-lose situation. If good deeds are documented, they are insincere and purely for publicity. If they aren’t documented, they don’t exist.

I’m not completely immune to this myself; I have perfected my “Kim Kardashian is on the News Again” eye roll – but maybe, maybe everything would be so much simpler if we stopped monitoring each and started focusing on ourselves. Even religiously speaking, I won’t be judged on Kim Kardashian’s antics, after all. I’ll be judged on my own.

It’s actually a beautiful Disney Day – I think I’ll go and hug Mickey.

[1] Mandarin slang for ‘foreigner’.
[2] not really. But I can dream.
[3] and this isn’t to liberate anyone of their wrongdoings. We all know some politicians can be shady, some actors can be extravagant to the point of ridicule and some footballers can’t see past their own egos.