While staying in France this past week I was able to live with a host family. While there, I visited Disneyland Paris with one of my hosts. My host had previously worked at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, so they were very familiar with the Disney culture. Walking around Disneyland Paris with them was an amazing experience. It was great to hear about the pride in which they had for the park. Even though they had been to the larger park in Orlando, they were very proud of how their version. They were proud of how their Haunted Mansion was scarier and how their version of the fireworks show was more detailed.
All of this is of course, opinion. Not one is better than the other, just different. However, it was really exciting to be with someone who had such pride in their park, even though originally Disneyland was seen as an ugly American thing that was dropped on Paris. It was great to see how a previous cast member could have so much pride in their home park.
This theme of pride carried though tout my visit. Generally speaking, the French are very proud of their culture. They are proud of their French wines and their French breads. It’s really exciting, and even invigorating, talking to locals because they are so aware of French products and they enjoy talking about them.
This awareness of products is something I have not seen in the United States, to this extent. At restaurants they can tell you where their produce comes from and what vineyard their wine was grown in. In the United States this is not something that is commonly known or even cared about.
I originally decided to visit France specifically to do some ethnographic research at Disneyland Paris. Being able to experience and immerse myself in the French culture was necessary to preform my research. I really enjoyed my time at Disneyland and hope to one day come back for pleasure, as well as for more research endeavors, one day.