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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Short blog post this time. I have a lot to say, but when you get right down to it,most of it is off topic. So...

The Walt Disney Company has always fascinated me, so it probably is no surprise that I really love Disney Parks. I have an annual pass to the parks in Southern California, granting me access to both the original Disneyland, as well as its recently-awakened neighbor California Adventure. 

So, with last week's announcement that Disney is going to acquire Lucasfilm -- no real surprise given that Lucas has long been a DIsney collaborator -- I wanted to take a moment and mention the company. Disney is a major leisure industry leader, and the theme parks are a major part of that. 

But a funny thing happened when I sat down to write. I found myself going into quite a few business details that really are irrelevant to a discussion of a travel destination. Yes, Disney is a massive conglomerate, and the story behind the scenes is a truly fascinating one, but it has little to do with the experience inherent in visiting the parks. Disney operates a completely enclosed world (no pun intended), and that is part of what Walt Disney himself first made an important requirement when Disneyland first opened. The phrase "beyond the berm" refers to the fact that the berm -- the outside perimeter of the parks -- cuts the Disney experience off from the rest of the world. That once you entered Disneyland, the experience ought to be immersive and complete.

 This applies to the many lands found in the various parks. And nowhere is this more evident than in the brand new Carsland. It is a wonderfully immersive and full experience, and is solid demonstration that the Disney Magic is still alive in the company. A walk through it is to be transported to the desert town of Radiator Springs. At night, my own favorite time for visiting any and all of the parks, the forced perspective can give you a real feeing of being in the middle of a desert town. And it truly feels like no expense has been spared.

And this is the part of the secret, in my mind. If you're shelling out top money -- Disneyland can set you back $80 for a single admission -- you need the experience itself to be top notch. To their credit, the Disney Company has shelled out what was required to make the Disney Resort a great destination once again.

So, while it's tempting to go into the business details behind the changes, I'd rather just share a few shots from the four parks I've visited (Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom), and let you see for yourself.

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