“EK na tayo!”
These words probably echo in people’s minds when they decide to go on a road trip and visit the popular theme park, Enchanted Kingdom. When they get there, they set their minds free from any troubles they may be going through. If people are tired from a long semester of studying, the fatigue is quickly forgotten once they go on their first ride, or in some cases, as soon as they enter the gates. People who go to EK let their only concerns be what ride they want to go on next and, if they rode the Jungle Log Jam or the Rio Grande Rapids, if they remembered to bring a fresh set of dry clothes! So in this aspect, Enchanted Kingdom really is quite the magical place. This effect though, can only be said of the theme park’s regular visitors or customers. We however, were not your ordinary EK visitors. What follows is a series of observations made by us, from an onlooker’s point of view. It focuses on the kinds of people that visit the park and how they behave with respect to the other people they came with.
Objectively speaking, it seems that the kinds of individuals that visit the park are of the B and C classes, or in other words, people of the upper and lower middle classes. We arrived at this conclusion by observing the manner in which they spoke, as well as the kinds of clothes that they wore. We made assumptions that the class A citizens are those more inclined to be english speakers and those who wear expensive/branded clothing and accessories, while the class D citizens are more on the financially troubled side. We observed that there were no people who fit the description of what we defined as a citizen of the upper class. Not only that, since our definition of the class D citizens were of the financially troubled, we figured they would not use their money to spend on the five hundred peso entrance fee.
In terms of the groups of people present in EK, we observed that they were either families, couples or groups of friends. Families are present because, as the theme park is mainly youth-oriented, the children naturally want to visit and so, parents, or in some cases grandparents as well, are dragged into going with their child around the park and on the various rides. Couples may view EK as a chance for them to spend some quality time together. From what we observed, the couples were either at the gaming areas where they can win prizes or simply sitting down in the benches or food court, enjoying each other’s company. Lastly, the groups of friends may simply view the theme park as a getaway from school or work, and so they just try to enjoy all the attractions present. As we observed, the groups of friends would be aggressively jumping from one ride to another. However, it was with the groups of friends that we were able to come up with another observation.
Going on the rides is a large part of the reason why people love to go to EK. From the slow and relaxing rides like the Carousel and the Ferris Wheel to the fast and thrilling rides like the Log Jam and Space Shuttle, majority of the people in theme parks really enjoy the different type of rides the theme park makes available to them. In fact, people are willing to wait in long, slow and time-wasting lines for up to thirty minutes or even more just to go on a ride that will only last for about a minute or two.
It is actually in these lines that we were able to make another interesting observation about people in theme parks. We noticed that the lines for fast-paced rides such as space shuttle contained two types of people. There were those people who were excited but in a way calm about riding the ride and the others who were simply afraid and seemed like they didn’t want to be there out of fear but were being forced to by their friends and family. Majority of the people we noticed who were being forced to ride were males. One could easily tell that a person didn’t want to be there because waiting in the lines was like torture for him and all his companions would tease him and make jokes about his bravery and even his masculinity. Nearly all of these people ended up riding the rides in the end and maybe even had a good time, but what is so interesting is why they forced themselves to ride when they can just say “no”.
Related to this, we saw that the people who were waiting outside the lines were usually girls and the elderly. We thought that these were the people who also didn’t want to go on the rides and did not feel pressured to do so. It is clear that the elderly probably didn’t go on the rides due to safety concerns, but why is it that the women who didn’t want to go on the rides didn’t feel or get forced to by their companions? Only the guys were forced to ride these frightening rides while it wasn’t a problem for the women to opt not to.
We think that this observation has something to do with the way society views men. In many cultures, men are usually seen as the breadwinners and leaders of the family. They are supposed to be the pillar that the family leans on and relies on. Characteristics associated with this perspective are bravery, strength, power and many more. This is probably why it is so hard for men to back out of rides especially when their female companions want to ride, because they believe that doing so would dictate their manhood.
Another interesting observation we made was how the rides seemed to unify the people riding, regardless if they knew each other or not. It is as if there is an unspoken rule that makes all the riders start shouting or raising their arms in unity when the ride makes certain sounds/movements (for instance, the sound when the ride is about to begin). This is something we noticed more evidently in the ride Anchors Away. Here, without fail, all the riders in one side of the ship (who weren’t completely terrified) would raise their arms and scream when their end of the ship would rise and then the other side would do the same when their end would rise.
People don’t go to amusement parks to look for trouble or be “kj.” They go there to escape from the problems of reality and have a good time. This unity amongst strangers is probably the result of everyone in EK simply looking for a good time, which is why they join in on the rollercoaster traditions of screaming and raising their arms together as a group. After all, if there is one thing in common amongst all the people in EK, it is that they all are there to have fun and enjoy the magical experience that only amusement parks can offer!
Miguel Menchaca – 102523
Kevin Magsaysay – 102371
Martin Garcia – 101642
II BS ME