Even if everyone in the family comes armed with a cell phone to provide constant distraction, time in the parks always seems to bring families together to talk. That's one of the attractions of visiting the parks for many families, after all. But since a theme park provides such an unusual environment, it often tends to inspire some unusual topics of conversation.
One of those unusual conversations provides the topic for my Orange County Register column this weekend. Many years ago, when my now-college-age daughter was a toddler, she was obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. She carried a small cloth Buzz everywhere and always was asking me to "talk like Buzz." So, of course, when we moved to Los Angeles, I was going to take her to Disneyland to meet her hero.
It did not go well.
When we found Buzz in Tomorrowland, she crumpled. She refused to look at Buzz and just cried, inconsolably. Years later, she confided that she was confused and disappointed because the Disneyland Buzz was too big. She'd thought something had happened to him because he was not longer the toy-sized Buzz from the Toy Story movies.
Recently, that inspired a long conversation between me, her, and my son on how Disney (or any other theme park) could create meet-and-greet characters of different sizes. That's what I address in the Register column. While most kids are perfectly happy to meet the human-sized Buzz and Woody at Disneyland, wouldn't it be cool if you could meet and interact with toy-sized Buzz and Woody characters— just like from the movies — instead?
That would require some nifty technology to make happen, but Disney already uses much of that tech in its parks and in its films. All a toy-sized Buzz theme park meet-and-greet character would require would be bringing that technology together.
Would fans go for it, though? I know my family would. I don't know about others. But talking about that is the sort of conversation you often end up in when a theme park visit gets your imagination running.
What have been the topics of some of your favorite, creative theme park conversations? Tell us in the comments.
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