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The Happiest Valley On Earth: Comparing Penn State Staples To Disney World Icons

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has often been recognized as one of the best travel destinations in the world. From top-notch themes to thrilling rides and even some killer food, Disney parks have no shortage of things to impress.

In honor of Walt Disney World’s anniversary, we sought to imagine what Penn State would look like if campus transformed into the Happiest Place Valley on Earth.

Bryce Jordan Center — Space Mountain

The similarities here are almost uncanny. Both the BJC and Space Mountain sit near the edge of their respective properties and are famous for their futuristic, UFO-like shapes.

The Bookstore — The Emporium

It’s no secret that Disney likes to get an extra couple of dollars from each of its guests throughout the many gift shops across the parks, but the Emporium in the Magic Kingdom is simply the biggest gift shop there is.

Filled with every Disney-themed piece of merchandise you could imagine, the perfect Penn State comparison has got to be the bookstore. Just like the Emporium, the Penn State Bookstore has about every piece of Nittany Lions merchandise you could imagine.

Old Main — Cinderella Castle

Another obvious choice. Both of these two buildings are the iconic centerpieces of their domain. With a towering spire and an ornate clock face, all Old Main is missing is some fireworks and you might not even be able to tell the two apart.

The Stacks — The Haunted Mansion

The Stacks are easily Penn State’s one of the eeriest spots on campus and are comparable to Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Given the area’s shaky past and urban legends, there are almost certainly some spooks around some corners. Just hope that no grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize as you study.

Chicken Basket — Turkey Leg

Now, when you spend so much time at a place like Penn State or Disney World, there’s gotta be some good food. Both places have an iconic meat dish that guests rave about whenever they visit. Of course, we’re talking about the Beaver Stadium chicken basket and the Magic Kingdom’s iconic turkey leg.

Grilled Stickies — Gaston’s Cinnamon Rolls

If you’re looking for a sweeter comparison, there’s always the Penn State-famous Grilled Stickies, which students have been bringing home as holiday gifts for years. Looking for a good Disney comparison? Check out Gaston’s giant cinnamon rolls, served at Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom.

Peachy Paterno — Dole Whip

While there may be many more hot days in Florida than here in State College, there’s still a chance you’d prefer a cold treat. Luckily, both Penn State’s Creamery and the Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom are known for their own fruity ice cream treat: Peachy Paterno and Dole Whip, respectively.

The Nittany Lion — Mickey Mouse

The Nittany Lion and Mickey Mouse are icons that have contributed so much to the respective Penn State and Disney World experiences. Penn State wouldn’t be the same without the Symbol of Our Best, just as Disney World wouldn’t be the same without the mouse that started it all.

The Nittany Lion Shrine — The ‘Partners’ Statue

Sticking on the topic of mascots, every good mascot deserves to be enshrined in a place of prominence. Luckily, both Penn State and Walt Disney World are way ahead of us. The Nittany Lion Shrine sits by Rec Hall looking down on campus below, while the “Partners” statue of Walt and Mickey looks on at the world they created.

School of Agricultural Sciences — The Land Pavilion

It’s always important to honor your roots, and Penn State wouldn’t be where it’s at today without its humble origins as an agriculture school. Mirroring Penn State’s plethora of greenhouses around campus, the Land at Epcot features the ride “Living With the Land,” which honors the same farming traditions as Penn State’s School of Agricultural Sciences.

Whoop & Bloop — The Monorail

Yes, Disney does have its own fleet of buses, but let’s be honest: The most iconic Disney World transportation is the Monorail. Just like a trip to Disney World feels incomplete without a ride on the Monorail, it would be tough to get around Penn State without the iconic Whoop and Bloop.

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

As well as being a contributor to Onward State, Mikey DeAngelis is also the creator of the Mad About Disney YouTube channel and an aspiring filmmaker. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).

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