Around the end of February, I was already thinking of what outfit I was going to have during our exposure trip. However, during the morning of our trip to Enchanted Kingdom, I was still furiously flipping through pages of fashion magazines in the hopes of being able to decide on what to wear. I needed an outfit that was bright, something my block mates wouldn’t miss if they were to look for me in a crowd. I needed it to be cool and comfortable so I that I wouldn’t have a hard time dealing with the harshness of the sun, the ruthlessness of the Rio Grande waters, or the complexity of the Flying Fiesta harnesses. I also needed it to be fashionable. This was partly due to the fact that I needed to look the part if I wanted to interview people about what they were wearing, and partly due to my own personal preferences. I had planned to bring Ron (my stuffed giraffe) with me, and I didn’t want her to look so misplaced in relation to what I was wearing. It was almost impossible to try to find a way to satisfy both my needs and wants, while still being practical with my choice of clothing. However, after consulting with a number of online articles, trying on several items of clothing, and generally just turning my whole room upside down, I was able to put together a masterpiece.
When the clock struck 11, I was ready to leave the house. I met up with my block mates at McDonalds, and we proceeded to Ayala to meet up with the entire group.
Going to Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna was part of our task to make a study about different groups of people in the park. Initially, I had planned to observe people and the kinds of bags and/or belongings they carried around to be able to get a sense of their personal preferences in relation to their functionality. However, when I started observing my block mates and the kind of bags they had, I began to realize that looking merely at their possessions would not yield enough data for me to analyze. It was then that I changed my study to one concerning fashion as a whole, in relation to the functionality and practicality needed in places like theme parks. By observing people’s clothing and belongings, I hoped to get an idea of the kind of people they were (in terms of style preference and functionality). This was directly inspired by the Ricky Abad article we had taken up in class, along with my experience with deciding on what I was going to bring and wear myself.
When we got to the park, I started taking pictures of crowds so that I would have records of what they were wearing and bringing. The task became harder and harder as we started roaming around the park, though. I admit, at times I was more preoccupied with enjoying the rides with Ron and my friends. But most of the difficulty came from the fact that people were roaming around too. Most of them ended up only as blurs on the pictures. So I started taking mental notes about everything instead. This method worked well, and I was surprised to find that doing this enabled me to start analyzing my observations as soon as I made them.
Our group stayed in Enchanted Kingdom for approximately 5 hours. During this time, I was able to observe other people while touring around the area, waiting in line at the rides, and eating at the food centres. After the trip, I was able to compile all the data I collected and make certain generalizations about the kind of people I observed. These are:
1. People visiting Enchanted Kingdom relied on staple items of clothing for functionality.
When I looked at the kind of clothing that they had on, I could only see combinations of tops, jeans or shorts, and rubber shoes or open-toed footwear. Only roving performers wore heavy make-up and heels. Almost no women were in dresses, save for one of my block mates, Marianne (who still had denim shorts underneath). Though some people were able to express their sense of style by accessorizing (eyewear and bags) the rest of their outfits were almost uniform in nature. Tops went from colour to colour, but generally they were of the same styles. There was a collection of graphic tees, lightweight and flowing tops, and sleeveless tops. The key characteristic between them all was the coolness of their fabric and the ability to dry fast. This generalization shows how functionality trumps over personal preference.
2. People with certain preferences chose to prioritize certain functions over others in deciding what to carry around or bring to Enchanted Kingdom
Who was able to maximize their experience in the theme park? Two different kinds of people had caught my attention. The people who were able to go on the Rio Grande for several times were usually the ones who availed of the baggage counter services and the parking lot to store extra clothes, etc. Because these people had other clothes to change into during sweaty or soiled situations, they were able to keep riding specific rides and doing more than the average person trying to stand his or her own in a single outfit. On the other hand, the people who were able to go on some of the more physically demanding rides (the Space Shuttle, the arcade games, the go-karts, etc.) were the ones with little to no baggage with them. They didn’t have to keep holding on to multiple bags in the middle of each activity, they were able to spend more energy in having fun as opposed to carrying around a heavy load, and they never had to deal with the risk of misplacing something or having something stolen. In the end, they both were able to maximize their park experience by prioritizing the experiences that they wanted over others. This generalization shows how both functionality and preference can intertwine to affect the decisions people make.
3. Lastly, people either have no need or no want for umbrellas in Enchanted Kingdom during sunny days.
One can only go so far in observing people without being able to interview every single one of them about their reasons for doing such things. During my observation, I noticed that no one was using an umbrella inside the theme park. Outside, people waited in line for entry passes in caps and umbrellas. But inside, nobody was holding anything above their heads. Instead, they used sunglasses and sun block to protect their eyes and skin respectively. I assume that this is either because they believe that sun block works better than an umbrella, or that sunglasses would be more practical during rides, or that their Philippine-conditioned skin could withstand the sun exposure. This generalization suggests how people’s preferences can affect which thing they decide to use, among a range of things to choose from, to fulfil a particular function.
All in all, it seems that the people who visit Enchanted Kingdom are primarily concerned with their needs before their wants, in relation to what they would wear or bring. However, this doesn’t mean that their personal preferences do not or cannot influence their decisions on the matter.
My advice for those interested in visiting the park in the near future: Decide on that one thing you don’t want to miss out on during your visit. Whether it be taking pictures of your outfits for LookBook, or strolling around with a toddler, or getting drenched at the rides, or having a stuffed toy to keep you company when your boyfriend’s not around, let it be the one thing you look forward to the most. As long as you prepare to enjoy that particular experience, you’ll be all set for the day. And if ever you find yourself with the wrong clothes/things at the wrong time, there are always park merchandise shops to help you out. 🙂
Gala Angeni Q. Sanchez