Feature Story

Is this the Happiest Place on Earth? Really?

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On a recent vacation to the West Coast I ventured to one of the World's most beloved, and for obvious reasons unnamed, Theme Parks in Southern California. After an hour or so I became fascinated with the lack of enthusiasm on the faces around me. While waiting near a ride to take pictures of my friends as they drove by in a tiny yellow car I decided to snap some random shots of other people driving by.

It quickly became clear to me that most of the people around me were here because of some sort of cultural obligation to have fun. Just one in a long list of "not to be missed" experiences that Americans feel the need to indulge in.

As part of my experiment I began to take photos while walking past crowds of people going the other direction. I just held up my camera and snapped.

Surprisingly it was not hard to pick out photos for this story. Most of the pictures not included are simply out of focus, not of people having a great time or enjoying themselves. Everyone just seemed to be plodding along like Zombies.

The flip-side of this was when I watched people taking pictures of each other to document the great time they were having. All of a sudden faces lit up and smiles gleamed for the camera.

I still wonder how these people would remember their trip to this Kingdom of Magic if they put these candid photos of their trip in their scrapbook instead of the the happy pictures they took of themselves.

The truth is I had a great time with my friends that day and have plenty of pictures to prove it. At least thats what the snapshots I took of us lead me to believe.

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—The JPG team

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