The scientific reason why you can't stop going to Disneyland

The scientific reason why you can't stop going to Disneyland

Sep 19, 2023 by Los Angeles Times

Key Facts

  • Not only do Disney Smellitzers enhance the visitor experience, but because of how strongly smells are linked with memory, the scents can pull visitors back to the parks whenever they get a whiff of similar aromas that remind them of the woodsy pines around Grizzly Peak in Disney’s California Adventure park or the freshly baked goods along Disney’s Main Street U.S.A.
  • Ludden echoes that because of how often people chronicle their Disney vacations, those following them from home feel especially driven to experience and share the same vacations so they can “belong to the elite group of those who have ‘been there, done that.’” Selepak believes Disney recognizes its influence and points to the effort it puts into setting up meet-and-greets with beloved characters, creating eye-popping backdrops and decor, and coming up with photo-worthy treats and souvenirs.
  • (Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles) NOSTALGIA WE’RE WIRED TO CRAVE Perhaps Disney’s most powerful strategy is how it triggers feelings of nostalgia through its many throwback details: old-time attraction posters at park entrances, a train whistle sounding from a steam-powered locomotive as it loops around the park, classic movie characters mingling in real life with guests, a horse-drawn street car transporting visitors along Disneyland’s most visible walkway and the architecture of Main Street U.S.A. built to resemble Walt Disney’s idyllic turn-of-the-20th century hometown.
  • “Visiting Disney parks allows people to indulge their nostalgia by immersing themselves in this reliable world filled with familiar colors, characters, smells and music,” says Erica Hepper, a lecturer of psychology at the University of Surrey in England and author of multiple nostalgia-related studies.

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