Brooks Barnes once thought only the "zip-a-dee-doo-deranged" made an effort to visit all 13 Disney amusement parks around the globe. Hired to report on Disney in 2007, however, he began visiting several of the parks on business. Soon, a burning curiosity made him visit the full set as only "the hardest of the hard-core Disneyphiles" have done, he writes at the New York Times. He ate Disney-shaped dim sum in Hong Kong, discovered "chocolate Toy Story-themed mochi dumplings" in Tokyo, and learned the Disney castle in Paris "is the most extravagant." He admits, "I am now a full-fledged member of this obsessive Mickey Mouse Club."
For some, the compulsion to visit all Disney parks may lie in the human fascination with collecting. "These people, like all travelers, are collecting experiences," a cultural studies professor explains, though "some probably really do just love the experience that Disney offers." Barnes found that "far from monolithic, the company’s theme park empire is full of quirky surprises." Perhaps the desire to discover them all helps explain why attendance at all parks climbed 5% from 2012 to 132.6 million in 2013. Barnes did note one similarity between all the parks, though. "There were smiley people enjoying one another's company and, for a few hours at least, forgetting the pressures of the outside world." Click for the full piece. (Read more Disneyland Paris stories.)