Saturday, October 26, 2013

Faux World & Disney

In the animated film WALL-E, humans live aboard a pleasure craft awaiting the day they can return to earth. In the meantime, they float along in chairs, slurping from their personal cups, and though round and soft, they are in the end not entirely passive. After a week long visit to Disney, I can report that the parallels are striking. 

To access any of the parks (along with a ticket), your fingerprint, your most personal password combination, is required. The layout is dotted with plants, familiar landmarks in miniature, and with crowds flowing around curves and bends to rides, food stalls, and restrooms. Scooters, strollers and wheelchairs litter the scene. 

All the girls are called, "Princess." Many wear synthetic fabric in the Disney shades of blue for Cinderella, yellow for Belle, and jade green for Jasmine, that sparkle in the sun while whaling, "Mama!" Blissful parents drink their way through Epcot, where countries serve up plastic cups of alcoholic beverages from sake in Japan to margaritas in Mexico to champagne in France. Small children sleep with rosy cheeks in double strollers.

The waterparks sell cups that can be refilled from soft drink machines anytime. Meal plans cater to every whim unless you're looking for organic, high fiber produce-- I've yet to see that. There was even an all you can eat at any venue option at Sea World (not affiliated with Disney, but not to be missed by my dolphin loving household).

The Disney dining options are varied and the theme restaurants are fun if you can get a reservation. The Yak & Yetti was filled with authentic bric-a-brac from the foothills of the Himalayas. The fifties diner was booked solid. The Rain Forrest Cafe beckoned, but we only stopped for a look-see. The German Biergarten was staffed with Germans, had a faux moon, and a stage for a polka band composed of an accordion, trumpet, drum, and bass player. All were appropriately dressed in leiderhosen. Buffets, excess, and yet everyone does appear to be enjoying themselves in this unreal world.

Our first ride, The Jungle Boat, remained my favorite thanks to the wise cracking driver who delivered jokes one after the other with deadpan flair. The customer service is legendary at Disney, and no one disappointed us. Of course all of the animals are fake. If you can imagine it, you can build it from the Tree of Life to Mt. Everest to the calculated experience of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and every princess the kiddos can remember. My kiddos went for every roller coaster we had time to que up for, though I personally hope to never endur another bone jarring ride on Space Mountain.

The world of magic is unreal. Our job? We are the consumers by stroller, scooter, credit card, or on foot. By the looks of it, Disney has plenty of takers. Now if only they had light rail to help everyone flow about more easily.

Disney World's Magic Kingdom beckons
The biergarten band
Scooters (at the hotel)

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