We’re ba-a-a-ck! From Disney World. And was it the happiest place on earth? Well, I don’t know about that. But I’m pretty sure it was in the top ten for
- Hottest Place on Earth and
- Crowded-est Place on Earth.
And to think it’s only early June.
While there I was reminded of a computer game, a book, and a movie.
COMPUTER GAME : SNOOD
This fairly primitive shooting game has a gun at the bottom center of the screen. You’re trying to shoot little creatures before they hit the bottom of the screen. After every I-don’t-know-how-many shots the remaining creatures drop down one level. It’s all about getting the angle right so you can knock out large blocks with a single shot. As I watched my kids play pool one evening, they lined up their shots and staked out various angles. I thought, “It’s just like a game of Snood.”
BOOK : 1984
In the classic George Orwell novel, an ever-present telescreen rolls out endless drivel touting the party line. Our suite had two bedrooms and a common sitting area, and each space had a large television. You could even watch a television from the bathtub. And while they carried an assortment of stations, overwhelmingly we kept running into the five or so channels that droned on endlessly about Disney–resorts, theme parks, vacation plans, cruises, sports, special tours, restaurants. And if you didn’t speak English, you could find the same channels in Spanish. Unlike 1984, these televisions only went one way. They weren’t monitoring our thoughts as we sat there glued to the screens…or were they?
MOVIE : THE TRUMAN SHOW
This Jim Carey movie is about a man who thinks he’s living an ordinary existence until he accidentally discovers that his whole life is a reality show in which he is the star. Disney feels a little like that.
They don’t have employees; they have cast members. Some cast members change sheets on the bed in air-conditioned resorts (not hotels), while others flip burgers or dole out ice cream. Still others don furry Chip’n Dale costumes and parade about in 95 degree heat. (Which would you rather be?)
The bus drivers are also cast members. One told us if he tries to turn down the volume on the endless cycle of Disney tunes that he listens to all day, and an “inspector” happens to be riding the bus, he gets “written up.”
And it’s not just a coincidence that you never see a cast member in a Tomorrowland costume walking through the Frontierland part of the Magic Kingdom. In fact, you never see any of these people walking anywhere around the park. They magically appear at their assigned destinations, thanks to an extensive underground tunnel system.
So Disney made everything just about perfect, except for two gigantic chinks in the armor:
Our last night there we stayed in the Hollywood park until around 11:00. At which point we caught the bus to head back to our hotel resort. And then landed smack dab in the middle of a gigantic traffic jam. It took 30 minutes just to get out of the parking lot. They were re-paving the road. Why they couldn’t wait until midnight after the parks closed was beyond me.
And they tout their airline check-in service where by you can get your boarding pass when you check out of the hotel. We waited over an hour and there were people who were there even longer than us. If an airline ran in such a shoddy fashion they’d be out of business in no time. Next time we would just check in at the airport.
Other than that, it was paradise!