San Miguel Disney

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

Gang members have created several experiences for Tourists to enjoy in San Miguel Disney.

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.

The most fun ride in San Miguel, however, is the Topes Rides. You know the ride is ahead when you see this sign

The sign is deceiving but when you experience your first tope, be prepared for every part of your body to be jiggled.

San Miguel Disney – The Shoppes

One of the newest attractions in San Miguel Disney is the Liverpool Store. Grab a shopping cart and wend your way through all the exhibits of materialism. Most of the guides at the exhibit can both speak english and operate a credit card machine.

San Miguel Disney Bodega Aurrera (owned by Walmart) is open. Greeters, cheap cheap prices and items direct from China will highlight this new Exhibit.  See comment by Ned below for more details

Mega and Gigante are giant food courts with parking lots.

San Miguel Disney – Find 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 Gringo Free Zones 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.

The 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.

San Miguel Disney – 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 and if there are they are in Spanish and can be ignored. 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.

San Miguel Disney – Photographing Real Life

This man is rushing to take a picture of a local funeral. The choice of a funeral as the subject matter for a photograph offers proof of the inability to distinguish real from unreal. Does he stand outside his local Funeral Home in Depew, New York and take pictures of funerals?

Photographing a funeral is not on the San Miguel Disney Photo Card.

It would be interesting to hear his Funeral Story that accompanies the picture.

San Miguel Disney Photo Game Card

The Photography Gang has helped the San Miguel Disney Gang create the Photo Game Gard. These cards can be picked up at Starbucks and take the guess work out of what to photograph in San Miguel. Each photo is given a point value.

Here are some sample points

  1. A wooden door – 2 points
  2. A local standing in front of a wooden door – 4 points
  3. The wooden door wide open – 6 points
  4. You, the open wooden door, and the local – 8 points
  5. You, the local, and the wooden door but taken from the inside – 10 points

Collect 100 points and get yourself photographed with the Horseman Guard of the Jardin

San Miguel Disney – Buskers and Beggars

Buskers fill the Jardin. For only a few pesos, it can be a lot of fun to have your picture taken with an old women beggar. But never never go up to a beggar. Let them come to you. Some gang members in San Miguel look like Beggars and would be offended with being offered only a Peso for a picture.

In this picture the woman on the left is the Licensed Beggar.

Many buskers dress as small children and sell chicklets or toys. Whatever price they ask, offer half.

San Miguel Disney – Parades, Processions and Photos

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.

Or this one?

Indigenous Heritage Day?

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.

18 thoughts on “San Miguel Disney”

  1. Cliff Stroud said:

    Today’s individuals seem to be totally free of inhibition, respect and manners. We have been duped by the internet and social media into thinking we are in a bubble with no responsibility or decorum. You don’t need these online. Almost everyone communicates by computer or cell phone in a kind of vaccum. So very sad and petty.

  2. Thank you for your humorous take on San Miguel de Allende. I know you love San Miguel as much as the rest of us. I love your sense of humor!

    Kimberly Kubalek
    Founder, VisitSanMiguel
    Travel & Relocation Guide
    (415) 154 9917

  3. My 4 year old nephew haven’t been to Disney, when he first the Parroquia at SMA from above, he said “Is that Disney?” now it all make sense.

  4. Ed hinkelman said:

    “A man is angry at a libel because it is false, but at a satire because it is true.”
    ― G.K. Chesterton

  5. How can I do to post a publication in this blog? Need I to pay? Need I to go to some place to leave my information? Please help, I´m very interested

  6. Iflyfish said:


  7. p.s. you really made me laugh!

  8. Thank you for articulating the strange simulacra that is SMA. I’ve been here two weeks and, while my western roots enjoy exoticizing and *Experiencing*, another (western, still, i guess) part of me is fascinated/concerned/disturbed by the apparent conspiracy to really highlight the authenticity of the place. It’s happening all over. I have a feeling it’s not just the tourists and expats. It’s a postmodern world.

  9. Richard Lander said:

    Make up a sign that says Guitar Wanted, when you arrive and then sit in the Jardin for the first day holding the sign.

    Someone will come by with one. It’s magical there.

    Or there are lots of Marachi Bands who only work the evenings. They might have a day rental available.

  10. I am coming to San Miguel for the month of January 2011. I am looking to rent a guitar while I’m there. If anyone has any leads, I’d appreciate it.

    Michael Flaum.

  11. Beatriz Socorro said:

    Ha! Ha! Ha! I read the comments and I think you pissed some people off !!

  12. bronze777 said:


  13. What fun! Truly a black whirlpool in a sea of light. There may not be enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle but there’s always rain.

    A writer/acquaintance of mine goes on about the infantilization of America. The oversize cars, the baggy/puffy hip-hop pants (out of scale for body size). All the lines are blurred, fact based experience is replaced with a wish based form where one needs quotes on “reality”. Interesting parallels to the outsider experience of SMA. The disconnect between the real lives of Mexicans and our outsider perceptions for this culture is enormous.

    I spent three weeks (the January-February Ice Age Ride) this year in SMA. Way too optimistic a place but…! My wife and I will be moving down this fall.

    Proof for me that San Miguel de Allende IS a Disney property is that you can get Chinese food and pastrami at the same restaurant.

    Thanks for your blog,

  14. This one is particularly astute as it gets at that part of all of us who find SMA so fascinating we can’t tell when to stop taking photos or to stop telling stories. We exalt ourselves for being here and attack anyone who slights our exaltations. Ingenious.

  15. Fantastic! Too real to be satire. As my nepher says, “Not funny, too real!” By the way, I live in Centro in Fantasyland. Twinklebell flies past my balcony every evening when the lights go on the Parroquia. I moved because of it’s Disneylike qualities. LOL

    Alicemae, a member of the civil list gang.

  16. Did it touch a nerve, Mark?

  17. In fact…why don’t you move to Ranch Viejo or, Los Galvanes and never leave? Then you would really experience the “Mexican Thing” you are hoping to keep to yourself! Get a life!

  18. I feel sorry for you!
    You must be one of the most bitter people on the planet. I’l bet you’d like to live in SMA all by yourself with the Mexicans, wouldn’t you? You my friend are a fool!

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