DQ has been doing such a spectacular job, I feel a little silly writing in, but I’ve got a few moments, so here I am. Pardon any typos. I’m on a micro keyboard, and am having a little bit of a problem getting my fingers on the right keys.
We’ve now spent two days at Disney World, and I have to say that, as I always am at Disneyland, I’m completely impressed by Disney’s relentless attention to detail. We spent yesterday at Disney/MGM, which is meant to remind visitors of Hollywood, circa 1930/1940. Every facade is a perfectly scaled replica of a classic Hollywood building from the golden era. The only exceptions to this rule are the parts of Disney/MGM that are meant to look like backlot replicas of New York and San Francisco.
I also appreciate how immaculate the parks always are — no litter anywhere. It turns out that the Disney designers studied how people behave with garbage and discovered that they’ll carry the garbage for only so many feet before giving up and tossing it on the ground — so garbage cans are spaced at intervals that encourage people to dispose of things properly, rather than just dropping them. It’s that kind of attention to detail that just delights me.
I wasn’t that thrilled with the Disney/MGM rides or shows. I don’t like “drop” rides, so Tower of Terror was all terror and no fun. Even though I didn’t like the ride, however, I was still impressed by the “theming.” I’ve actually been in the old Hollywood hotel on which the ride is modeled, and the Disney designers matched it perfectly — except on a much smaller scale, of course. The wood and tile work were just perfect. As for the Aerosmith ride — well, the kids loved it.
The kids liked the shows too, but I found them too loud for pleasure. At the last show, too, the water show, we had the bad luck to sit behind a thuggish British family that seemed to go out of its collective way to ensure that the people sitting behind them were interrupted by their standing up, flashing cameras, and wearing huge hats. I mention “thuggish” and “British” in connection with them, because we were actually scared to ask them to change their behavior. They really did look as if they thought they were at a British style football game, and could turn the whole thing into a bloody brawl given any provocation. I’m still trying to figure out if the behavior was unique to that family, if it was a class thing, or if they are yet another face of the profound changes in Britain.
Today was Epcot, and we loved every minute of it. To begin with, it’s so charmingly retro in its vision of the future. The present would have looked so much more attractive if the Disney designers could have been in charge of where we ended up!
The rides are also superb, from the Test Drive, which was lots of fun without being too scary; to the Space ride (I prefer the easy version); to Soarin’, one of the most innovative, beautiful rides I’ve ever experienced. I’d done Soarin’ years before, in LA, but had forgotten had great it was.
We also loved Epcot’s international area, although we spent only a short time there. We’re going back in a day or two, so I don’t feel cheated. Venice looks truly Venetian; Japan is perfectly Japanese; and we had a fantastic lunch in Morocco, complete with belly dancer.
While there, we watched a very inspiring, patriotic movie/animatronics show about American history in the America section. Mr. Bookworm, the liberal, made two interesting comments about this show when we walked out. First, he said that he learned a lot of his American history from Disney and didn’t unlearn it until college. I noted that Howard Zinn is very popular in college. He pointed out, accurately, that we didn’t read Zinn back then, but I could have responded with the fact that we were still learning from Marxist historians. His other point was that the video was very Republican. When I asked him why, he couldn’t answer, but I suspect it was the patriotism that earned that adjective.
A few hours after that, we watched a Lion King show about environmentalism that I would have classified as “Democrat”: it was all about pure animals and third worlders, who do not despoil the environment and the Westerners who selfishly ruin it for everyone. At the end, Simba noted that we’re trying to do better now, but it was quite an indictment of the West. I also found it very amusing coming from Disney, which must be one of the all time great energy hogs!
I’m getting too tired for coherence about now. I’ll try to check in later, but don’t count on it.