UC Irvine offers Disneyland course

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IRVINE, Calif. — University of California Irvine will soon host the happiest class on earth: a course dedicated to the “inner workings and idiosyncrasies” of Disneyland.

It’s led by the school’s theme park czar, Roland Betancourt, an associate professor who has racked up 130 visits to Disneyland, rode the Matterhorn 600 times and taken more than 20,000 slow-motion videos and photos of the park, according to UCI’s website.

“When I go to Disneyland, I’m not just there for fun,” Betancourt said in the article announcing his course. “I notice everything from the brand of churros sold by food carts to the hand signals used by ride operators to communicate with each other.”

Betancourt knows the parks insides and outs so well that he can put his hand on the concrete exterior of the mountain and sense from the vibrations where the bobsleds of Matterhorn are in the various zones of the ride.

Observations like these will fill his class, “Disneyland: Art, Architecture and Operation.” The class’ stated goal is  “rethink what makes Disneyland a unique cultural space.”

Similar questions have guided his exploration of other artificial spaces, such as the Vegas Strip, in his previous art history and visual studies courses.

The class debuted in January and will return next spring, with a likely exploration of the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”

And if you’re wondering — yes, the class of course includes a field trip to the park. We’re still looking into class audits.

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