You may have noticed I did not post anything last week. That is because I was off having a magical experience with my family. And I know it was magical, just based on the fact that I am now imagining that any of my three readers noticed I did not post anything last week.
I love Disneyland. I love it as much as I did when I was five … at least, I think I loved it when I was five. I can really only remember the part where the talking skull on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was like 150 times bigger than it is in real life, and barfing all over my Mickey Mouse doll on the plane ride home.
I could give you all a review of our Disneyland experience but that would be pointless because a billion other bloggers have done the same thing, and also I am super biased so that would add up to an especially yawn-worthy post. Instead, I’m going to talk about something that occurred to me while standing in line for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at California Adventure.
Disneyland is famous for doing things like piping the smell of cookies into Main Street so you’ll get hungry and buy overpriced treats. And as we were standing in line for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride we noticed similarly piped-in odors, but they were odors that could only be described as, well … poop. I think Disneyland may have a sewage problem. Either that or they are taking the ambiance thing at Guardians of the Galaxy really, really seriously (hey, some of the planets those guys go to do kind of seem like they would be stinky).
Anyway, that got me wondering. Pre-pandemic, roughly 50,000 people went to Disneyland every single day (if you’re wondering, it’s now operating at about 85% of capacity). That seems crazy given that we kept seeing the same damned people over and over again, but I digress. A lot of people go to that park every day, and that’s got to have an impact on the environment.
As it turns out, though, Disney Parks are actually pretty eco-friendly. Who knew? I mean besides everyone but me.
Disney has taken a few steps to make their parks more sustainable — things like reducing plastic waste and using recycled cooking oil to power park vehicles (not the ones at Autopia, though, which still stink of fossil fuel exhaust … hurry up and fix that one please, and also please get rid of that voice that says “Hiya folks! I’m Bird!” literally every 60 seconds). They’re also building solar energy plants to help power Disney World. Their stated goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2030. Also, pollinator-friendly gardens.
You do always have to wonder a bit about the motivations behind these kinds of actions. I mean do they really care or is it just because they want everyone to think they do? Whatever the reason, it’s something.
Not everyone thinks Disneyland should be applauded for trying. I did find one article complaining about the environmental impact of Disneyland. It was authored by an obvious Disneyland hater who says the real problem with the parks is the carbon footprint of all the visitors (roughly .67 tonnes of carbon dioxide for each traveler flying a distance of 3,500 miles). Which is valid — sort of — if you’re also against airline travel to any and all other tourist destinations. Because travelers flying to the Grand Canyon, London, Sydney, or wherever leave the exact same carbon footprint per mile as travelers flying to Disneyland do. The real problem, then, is not that people want to go to Disneyland — it’s that the airline industry needs to make air travel more eco-friendly.
Finally, the dude who wrote that article (and openly admits he’s never actually been to Disneyland or anything) clearly has no sense of joy in his soul, and also rather embarrassingly believes going to Disneyland is about “shaking hands with Mickey Mouse and riding a roller coaster or two.” At least he has never, ever boarded an airplane to enjoy a holiday away from home, because that would be hypocritical.
He’s also written a couple of important books, apparently, but still, the Disneyland-hating thing simply cannot be forgiven.
Anyway, I love Disneyland and I’m glad to know they’re making an effort to be eco-friendly. Now, if they could just get rid of the poop smell. And that Bird guy.