We went to Disneyland Paris last week and it was a wonderful week but very, very busy. People everywhere, constant queues, more people and more queues. In many ways it is fascinating as it is a truly multinational experience as you are surrounded by people all talking a variety of different languages and for the children in particular, they found it interesting to hear so many different languages during the week.
The languages may be different but not thing that all of these people have in common is the selfie. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people taking selfies. It is quite incredible. Family selfies, couple selfies and individual selfies wherever you go. Long gone are the simple photographs of the Disney sights, if you’re not in the photo, it isn’t worth taking.
The Disneyland castle is selfie central where hundreds of selfie enthusiasts can be seen trying to catch that perfect shot of themselves with the castle in the background. Later on at closing when the Disney Dreams lights up the castle with an extraordinary lights and firework show, the selfie obsessed are there again trying to get themselves with the animations lighting them up from behind. Then there were the the selfie next to the ride shots, selfie in the queue for the ride shots, the selfie on the ride shots and that all important selfie after the ride shot. Does it ever end?
Meeting the characters is an all important part of the ‘Disney experience’ and we certainly queued for several hours during the week to meet our favourites. The selfie rears its self-obsessed head again, not content with official photos, photos with each member of the family individually and then in different combinations, quite a few went in for the selfie at the end.
I watched a number of people with amazement as they took selfie after selfie with different facial expressions, hairstyles and angles. I feel quite old saying this but I did wonder what on earth some of them were doing. What is wrong with just taking a photo of something? Is a normal photo just not the done thing any more?
So why have we become so obsessed with selfies? I have seen some Instagram accounts which are pretty much filled with the same face over and over again in different settings. Why? What is that all about? Are we bringing a generation of people into the world who will just take endless photos of themselves? I can just see it; my life in selfies, the day I left school face, my new job face, yes that was my baby but you can’t quite see him in the selfie face. That was my wedding day selfie, didn’t my face look amazing?
One thing that I was quite relieved about was the selfie stick ban. I have been to a couple of theme parks this year and whilst I have been vaguely amused by some parents both armed with selfie sticks taking the same footage of their children at the same time, I have also nearly had my head knocked off by an overzealous parent who was more concerned about filming their child than the well-being of any innocent bystander and with the crowds at Disneyland, I can see that too many of those things could be dangerous.
I’m sure that my selfie aversion is also partly due to the fact that I don’t like photos of me. I have tentatively tried a couple of selfies but to be honest, I usually look like Jabba the Hut only with more chins or a cut the top of my head off, so I won’t be getting into the whole selfie thing very soon. I shall stick to my boring family photos and my Disneyland castle photos are just fine thank you very much, without my Jabba chins ruining them.