Disney Now and Then: The Frozen Fever Effect

A lot of people have expressed that they feel like Frozen and Star Wars have completely taken over Disneyland, and I totally get it. You feel like the park you know so well is changing all around you. And change can be great, but comfort can be better. I get it, trust me. When I worked at the Disney parks, it was before Frozen Fever. Heck, it was even before Disney owned Marvel. It was jarring seeing the signs of Frozen everywhere in the park when I visited last summer, and it was weird seeing a Thor meet n’ greet. At first I thought to myself, ‘Am I ok with all of these changes?’ And the answer I’ve decided upon is, YES. And here’s why…

Frozen Fever isn’t a new phenomenon for the Disney parks. It feels like it to you, the grownup who is watching your park change right before your very eyes. It doesn’t feel this way to the little girls and boys who are obsessed with Frozen and jump for joy whenever they see Frozen merch or their favorite characters from Frozen. If we all re-traced our steps, back to when we were a little younger, we might remember that Disneyland went through a Tinkerbell phenomenon about 15 years ago. There were probably adults walking through the park at that time thinking, ‘Enough already. We get it. Tinkerbell is popular now.’ I was obsessed with Tinkerbell during this time. And Disneyland fed into that obsession for me. I had to own any piece of merchandise that had that pouty pixie face on it.

When I started to work at Disneyland, there was an awesome photo location for Ariel. Music would play and mist would fall over Triton Gardens, and a cove would transform into an over-sized shell and Ariel would appear for her meet n’ greet. It was so special and fun. Don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s because this area is now Pixie Hollow, where you can meet Tinkerbell and all of her friends. Pixie Hollow came a few years after my Tinkerbell obsession. The photo location was setup in response to the success of the new Tinkerbell movies. When they first announced that Ariel’s meet n’ greet was going away to make room for Pixie Hollow, we were all disappointed. We thought, great…Tinkerbell is taking over. Then, I quickly remembered that little girl who used to beg her parents for Tinkerbell stuff and I would’ve been thrilled if there would’ve been a Pixie Hollow when I was growing up.

I’ve seen Frozen and most of the Tinkerbell movies. I loved all of them. Better yet, I love seeing little kids faces light up when they see their favorite characters from these movies. It’s truly special. And sure, some of it might feel a little overboard. But next time you roll your eyes at the abundance of Olaf, keep an eye out for the little kid excitedly waving at Elsa in Paint the Night, or listen to little kids singing “Let it Go” at the top of their lungs. It’ll warm your heart. There will be new Disney movies that will get a huge response from Disney fans, and when that happens, the parks will feed into the hype. Things that we know and love right now will change to make room for the new. And that’s ok. Because the great thing about Disney, is they never forget about their classic stories.

Erika Jenko
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Posted on February 3, 2016, in Articles, Disney Now and Then and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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