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Expat Disneyland: San Miguel de Allende

by sanmigueltimes
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Gangs of San Miguel, a blog about expats’ experiences in San Miguel, brings us this amusing comparison between Disneyland and San Miguel de Allende that turns out to be very accurate. 

There is something dark afoot when an adult goes to Disneyland or Disney World unaccompanied by a child. All pretense has been abandoned.  Their ability to distinguish between what is real and unreal is now lost. Once someone is unable to distinguish between real and unreal they have become a Member of the Walt Disney Syndrome Gang.  They believe that everything has been created to give them an experience.

San Miguel is a dangerous place for anyone with that Syndrome. It is already unreal enough but without a Mexico Disneyland nearby to anchor them they begin to believe that San Miguel is San Miquel Disney.  They begin to believe they are in an amusement park and start to look for others to share the Disney Experience.  So another Gang was formed in San Miguel joined together by their belief that they are not in a real city but an amusement park.

san miguel disney

The Rides

  • The Cobblestone Streets are one of the major rides in San Miguel. Walk on them, trip on them, and drive on them and you are on Magic Mountain.

cobblestonFind the Artisan Experience

  • Given the artistic flair of San Miguel, one of the most popular experiences in San Miguel Disney is Finding the Artisan.

    Wander into the streets and you will notice the word Taller and o (useful spanish vowel) the word Artesano.  Often the doors to the Taller are open and since Gang members already think they are in an amusement park, when they peek in the door they see Gepetto or several of the Seven Dwarfs.

    The first Taller is always special and then they realize that these workshops have been set up throughout San Miguel Disney.  Now they have a purpose – Finding the Artisan and enjoying the Artisan Experience. They think that Tallers are stores, that everything has been made in China but are never 100% sure because it looks to the naked eye as if the Artesano is making the product. There is so much fun to be had in the Taller.

    cobblestonThe first experience is buying. The Artisan Finder sees things in the Taller that they saw in stores in Centro but at Factory Direct Prices. Well actually there are no price tags in a Taller and that means dicker time in the Taller. The object of dicker time is to pay no more than 5 pesos for anything. The Artisan Finder doesn’t believe they are dealing with a real Artisan but a poorly paid shop person who doesn’t understand what something is really worth.  Eagerly they search for the seconds table.

    Some Tallers have living quarters for the Artisan and it is always fun to barge into their private spaces and take pictures of wood burning stoves or unmade beds or anything ‘interesting’. These pictures are called “How They Live”. A dead chicken, with its head still on, on a counter, makes a great picture.

    The discovery of a new Taller requires a picture with the Artisan or a picture of you pretending to be making the speciality of the Taller. Since the Artisan Finder doesn’t believe it is a real workshop, it great fun to spend lots of time talking with the Artisan and generally living the whole Artisan Experience.

    It often happens when the Artisan Finder returns home with their purchase and pictures and stories, that they realize they have a new calling. They are the Guides to Artisans in San Miguel Disney. They are the David Livingstones to the Gringo Free Zones. Everyone will offer up their car to them for the chance to experience a “real” artisan and Factory Direct Prices. To say you have driven a Guides to Artisans, to a new Taller, gives much status in San Miguel Disney.

    As all the Tallers of San Miguel are discovered, some of the Guides have been forced to venture outside San Miguel Disney to Non Disney Mexico where they speak Spanish and where the residents refuse to go along with they belief that they are in an amusement park. So any trip outside of San Miguel Disney can be dangerous but the hunt for a new Artisan knows no bounds.

    Be a Part of the Events

    The worst sign to see in an amusement park is “Employees Only”. That is what is so great about San Miguel Disney. There are no such signs. That means there is no where you can’t go or nothing you can’t participate in. The Churches put on shows every Sunday. There is usually a wedding or funeral in the Parroquia that can be photographed. desfileParades

    San Miguel has parades almost every day just like the end of day parade in Disney World. These little angels were the height of fun at something called Juan de Dios that means Don Juan The Swordfighter.So you can bring your camera and get right into the middle of a festival and be part of the fun.

    These people stood in the front of the parade and had some fun with parade participants about whether or not they were going to move out of the way and let them pass.

    Don’t let good manners get in your way for any photo.

    The whole city is yours to photograph.


    Fireworks are set off in San Miguel in the evening and the morning by local merchants to bring expats into town to buy stuff. Many expats sit on their terraces each night waiting for the fireworks to announce the latest midnight madness sale in town.

    In North America we have easily identified themes for parades – Christmas, Victory, Veterans, Easter but pray tell what this Parade is about. No wonder the expats and Tourists think they are in Disneyworld. Are they celebrating the Betty Complex Gang? Is this some ugly grandmother day? What would be the theme of this parade.

    Given the amount of festivals and parades in San Miguel heads never stop spinning long enough fill with thoughts. It is one Disney experience after another.

Source: Gangs of San Miguel

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