You definitely read that right! Students of the University of California Irvine, or UCI, can now take a class all about the Disneyland Park. Imagine studying the architecture of Mainstreet, USA or the mechanics of Peter Pan’s Flight. One UCI professor has done just that.
Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, Roland Betancourt, is showing his students how buildings and attractions in the park work in a specific space. Although Betancourt’s specialty is the medieval period, his knowledge in modern art in a specific space makes him perfect for this subject.
In order to prepare for his curriculum, Betancourt came to visit the park more than 100 times. He rode the Matterhorn 600 times. In addition, he took thousands of photos and stop-motion videos. He studied and took notes of the mechanics of the land and his experiences.
Professor Betancourt wants his students to think outside the box. He challenges them to go past all the history of Disneyland that you can find in any book. Students study and review cast member scripts, watch YouTube videos, and read training manuals of various attractions. Betancourt is fascinated with the mechanics behind attractions like Splash Mountain and the Alice in Wonderland attraction. He captured slow-motion recordings of how these specific ride vehicles operate. Also, he is intrigued by the wheel mechanisms and reviews the patents of certain ride cars.
Challenging his students further, Betancourt takes them on an optional field trip to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. First, they observe a roller coaster, like the Incredicoaster. Then, they focus on the look and sounds of the coaster departure and return. Finally, it’s their turn to ride. At the direction of Betancourt, the students ride the Incredicoaster 6 times in a row! He says that’s how they will really take notice of the workings of the coaster.
Roland Betancourt’s class will be available for UCI students in the spring of 2020. With the recent opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, students can bet that Batuu will be up for discussion for the upcoming quarter.
Would you like to take a class about Disneyland? Let us know in the comments!
Sleeping Beauty Castle photo by our friend and photographer, Eric: @dorkydisneydad
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