Friday, December 10, 2010

Retro Disney Creates Nostalgia, Even for the Young

I recently turned the ripe old age of 20, the anti-milestone of milestones: no longer a teen, not yet of drinking age. I'm still a young person, but for some reason I have nostalgia for Disney history that I haven't even been alive to witness, and I don't seem to be the only one.
Disney merchandise for rides that no longer exist

Retro, or vintage, Disney is extremely trendy right now. It could be because of the down economy, which some say causes people to look to the past for comfort. This is not the case for me because I have yet to join the workforce and fully realize what a hole we're in, but I still look with admiration towards the things of Disney past, and Disney seems to be quite aware of this. Or it's that Disney also has released some exclusive merchanidse to celebrate their 55th anniversary.

With their Disney gallery, one of the first things you stumble upon when walking under the Disneyland Rail Road's berm, models of the original Disneyland, sketches of past Disneyland attractions are displayed along with paintings of what made Disneyland iconic when it opened in 1955. In the store, you can buy the prints, take them home, put them on your wall, and be constantly reminded of Disneyland past.

Or you can buy the $75 vintage pin/lanyard combo, designed after all the original Disneyland merchandise. Head down to D-street and you can buy retro-Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, or Flying Saucer t-shirts.

Maybe you're not at the parks. You could go to the Disney store, where their bags are modeled after the classic versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, or pop in one of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD's.  If you've got a Wii, you could play the new Epic Mickey video game, where Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey's predecessor, is a main character involved in the gameplay. The creator of the game, Warren Spector, laboriously went though the Disney archives while researching the game.

New merchandise, old look

Or you could just wait for the Jon Favreau directed "Magic Kingdom" film, about a family trapped in Disneyland over night that discovers the rides come to life when the sun goes down. In a recent interview with Geek Time Radio, Favereau discussed how he looked to Walt's original Disneyland and vision for inspiration:

"I've got to watch every Disney property. I started with 'Steamboat Willy' working my way all the way up. I really want to focus on the classic stuff like 'Dumbo,' 'Steamboat Willy,' all the early black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons -- all the Fantasyland stuff. I think there was something timeless about what Walt [Disney] did, and I want to explore, not just Disneyland, but Walt’s vision of Disneyland. If you look at his concept art it diverges a little bit from what the park turned into over time; but if you look at his original concept art and really explore what that world is, I think there is something really fun and magical to be done there," Favereau said.

Or you could watch one of Walt's ultimate pet projects: "Fantasia"on BluRay, a format on which it was recently released, or watch the Sherman brother's documentary, "The Boys," also having been recently released for home viewing.

I've never been on the Flying Saucers, nor was I around for Oswald, or the opening of Disneyland. With Disney's new marketing scheme subtlety focusing on the Disneyland of the past, it's left me longing for the old days. Those old days, that for a young person like me, would be completely new.

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