The Unhappy Halloween Tree

This pumpkin in the Halloween Tree ain’t happy. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because he’s heard the rumblings of what’s to take place in the back of Frontierland.

No more BBQ.

No more Ranch.

A (potentially) smaller River.

Right now this pumpkin is thinking “Oh-My-Gourd! Who’s running this place??? And who the hell is Spiderman??”

I can’t blame him. I grew up loving Star Wars. Spiderman was my favorite superhero. But Disneyland held a special place in my affections.

There are a million arguments to be made on both sides regarding the changes coming to Disneyland. I’ve read a lot of them and see well-made points on both sides. I think what my biggest disappointment is is that I’m starting to recognize Disneyland less and less. My experiences with things like Star Wars and Marvel hold different associations and memories than Disneyland does. The integration of these things now blurs the lines that made Disneyland unique and distinct for me.

I get it. Time passes. Culture changes. I get older and my life experiences cause me to see things differently.

What I don’t get is a company built on imagination and ingenuity obsessing over acquisition and assimilation.

I know I’m in the minority. I know Disney is going to continue making a ton of money with the decisions they’re making. I’m just feeling a lot less welcome in a place that used to feel like home and I’m inclined to agree with this unhappy pumpkin.

An unhappy pumpkin in the Halloween Tree at Disneyland

About Matt Hansen

Matt is a photographer and designer based in San Diego. When he’s not working, he's charting his next adventure over coffee or craft beer.
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  1. I remember back in my early adulthood lamenting the loss of the Mine Train, the Pirate Ship Restaurant, and later the Skyway. Back in 1987, I was taken aback that Disney installed a non-Disney IP (Star Tours) at Disneyland. Since then, so much time has passed and so much has changed at Disneyland that I’m not so much a Disney purist anymore. I’ve learned to adjust my expectations and ideas of what Disneyland is. I mourned the Disneyland of my youth long ago. I still enjoy Disneyland today, but with a different perspective and attitude. I understand and accept that the IPs are the reality of Disneyland now. I feel that if bothers you that much and your not feeling the magic anymore, it’s time to take a break from Disneyland. When you come back you might have a different perspective and maybe even enjoy the place a bit more. That was my experience. I went to Disneyland every year from 1963-2005. Then on the Park’s 50th Anniversary I decided it was time to take a break and not return until Buena Vista Street and Cars Land were completed. (I thought Disneyland had become stagnate). When I returned, I found that I enjoyed the park and appreciated much more. Just my two cents.


  2. I’m a little late to this post, but I absolutely agree with you, Matthew. In my opinion, the apex of Disneyland’s creativity was during the era that produced Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. Amazingly detailed and complex attractions, with all sorts of stories and hidden moments throughout, and not tied to any specific movie or franchise outside of the attraction itself. They truly were their own creation. A world and story all of their own. Yet, to be fair, I have always equally loved the Indiana Jones ride as well… so perhaps there’s some solace in that. But yeah, when the park seems to have more and more “franchise”-based attractions, it does make one worry if Disneyland could eventually lose too much of its original charm. And as much as I love “Star Wars” as a trilogy and franchise, I too am not so keen on its (and other IPs’) increasing presence in the park.


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