Walt’s Weenies

Carrot and Stick

Walt designed the layout of Disneyland, which also then defined the Magic Kingdom in Florida. His use of the “weenie” has the purpose of drawing you from attraction to attraction. It is a great design, but you still should navigate with your intellect fully engaged!

Walt’s strategy of putting an attractive ride or enticing entertainment at the end of each path, is what he called a weenie. The general idea, often showing up in cartoons is the suspended hot dog, or weenie, dangling in front of a dog. Similarly, there is the carrot, hanging before the horse. This comcept is a tempting reward placed so as to motivate animal, or in this case, people to move forward.

The design of the park is masterful. They make it easy to walk around, intuitively transitioning from one land to another. The various lands arranged around the castle, at the hub, resemble a wheel. Simple to understand, hard to get lost. So where is the hack in that?

The Point

The weenie concept uses the metaphor of hunger, or food temptation. Walt wanted the audience to naturally, or even unconsciously work through the park. If we always allow our human hungers and desires, we may get what we want, but there may also be a lot of back and forth, chasing every thing that catch our eye.

A full day at a park is certain to make you and everyone in your group tired. There is more to see than most people can mange to hit in one day. If it happens to be in a moderate to heavily crowded season, you must be strategic in how you work your way around the park so your day isn’t wasted. It takes discipline to not chase the weenie, and to see everything in an area before moving on. But the benefits are that you get more done, and you save your time and your feet from unnecessarily walking across the wheel-shaped map.

Which Way?

When the Magic Kingdom opens, the crowd bursts in from under the Main Street train station. They flow toward the castle, the hub. Then there are a few options to help the crowd break up.

Thrill seekers, typically turn right and head for Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. I read that the path along the restaurant is a good 100 feet shorter than the main bridge off the hub.

The castle beckons the crowd to keep moving straight ahead into Fantasyland. You can also veer to the left of the castle and proceed straight into Liberty Square, if a shot of spook is your ideal wake-up in the morning.

Our family’s tradition wasn’t any of these. We turned left and started a thorough clockwise path around the Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed Jungle Cruise and Pirates when the crowds were at their lightest. The animatronic characters and boat drivers were at their perkiest selves following a good night’s rest.

Do it Your Way

It doesn’t matter which path you take. The important thing is that you concentrate on what is important to you and your group, and manage your time and energy wisely by sticking to one area of the park at a time.

The Fast Pass system certainly has thrown a monkeywrench into the traditional continuous stroll around the park’s map. But you can still look for opportunities to see attractions that are nearby first.

Does your family have a traditional path they use to work through the park? Or do you explore the park in a different way every time?

Photo credit: Alan O’Rourke of audiencestack.com Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, (modified background).