Schooled in Disney

Story by Thea Knobel

Photos by Taylor Dwyer

5.1 miles. 12 minutes. Disneyland is practically in Chapman University’s backyard.

“The park is indescribably magical to me still as a college student,” said Nicole Hornaday, a junior biological sciences major.

To some students, Disneyland plays a profound role in Chapman’s culture. On top of the plethora of annual pass holders, a lot of students work as Disney’s own crew and cast members. There are even a few classes at Chapman dedicated to Disneyland.

“Darwin and Disney” is a class taught by professor Alters that receives rave reviews. It is tagged on with “amazing lectures”, “inspirational” and “would take again.” This IES class is so popular that it is consistently filled to the 90-person limit.

“I learned about the evolution of happiness,” said Mandi Ortiz, a junior strategic and corporate communications major. “It was one of the best life classes I’ve ever taken.”

Another class related to Disney is called “Beauties and Beasts.” This class is a freshman foundation course taught by professor Van Meter. The course teaches fairytales from around the world and their cultural impact on society. It also discusses the differences between the original fairytales and the Disney versions.

“Beauties and Beasts” is rated as a first choice, especially among females. Many incoming freshman hoped to take that class. Jordan Weitzman, a sophomore digital arts major, said she was “so lucky to be placed in such an interesting class that explained the meaning behind childhood stories.”

A class taught by professor Takaragawa entitled “Anthropology of Space and Place” went on an exciting field trip every Wednesday during interterm: Disneyland.

“We learned a lot of anthropological theory, but in a way that was approachable and fun,” said Taylor Dwyer, a junior history major. “It was like every kids’ dream.”

But Disney isn’t for everyone at Chapman.

“I think it’s creepy when you see college-aged people obsessing over a fantasyland targeted towards babies,” said Mia Sander, a sophomore public relations and advertising major.

Overall Chapman Students seem to enjoy Disney’s presence on campus.

Thomas Regan, a sophomore film production major, said he enjoys Disneyland because it is “an immersive, psychedelic escapism” while another sophomore film studies major Caitlin Manocchio goes to “have a mini vacation.” Caroline McNally, a sophomore journalism major, goes to Disneyland to “escape the stress of life and reminisce on childhood memories.”

No matter the reason 60% of Chapman students have some type of pass with 33.3% going at least once a month.

Chapman is known for engaging liberal arts classes. Will you take one related to Disney?

+ posts