Okay, let's start right out with the admission:

I went to Disneyworld last week!

There. I said it. It's a long story how and why I ended up there, but that's why I wasn't on the FPL blog last week... because when you're at WALT DISNEY WORLD (WDW), there's no time for communication with the outside world, and believe it, the world at large is outside of Disney, certainly if you live on one of the coasts of the United States!

So, here's the good, the bad and the ugly of it...

The last time I was at Disneyworld was 35 years ago, right before Epcot opened up at the 23 square mile property in Orlando, Florida. Jimmy Carter was about to be elected president that fall and our "long, national nightmares," as interim President Gerald Ford put it, of Watergate and Viet Nam were over. (Who knew that the even longer national nightmare of Reaganomics lie ahead.)

It seemed like the future heralded by the advances in technology and civil rights in the 1960's was about to finally begin. Walt Disney himself, who envisioned WDW and especially Epcot as positive, forward-looking examples of his vision of a world united in common cause and connection, soaring into the future, led of course by America, never lived to see the project completed. Nonetheless, in 1976 when I was last there, it still bore the imprint of a visionary.

Today, not so much.

In the decades that followed the Seventies, "conservatism" took hold of our 3rd-dimensional society in a big way. The conservative philosophy essentially espouses that more good comes from remaining the same, or even reverting backwards, politically and culturally, than from progressivism, changing and growing, and moving forward. Conservatism quickly became the perfect environment for rampant corporatism, greed and corruption at the institutional levels of our country, and in keeping with that shift, the once "Wonderful World of Disney" became the Disney Corporation. And consequently, Disneyworld became a surreal Stepford village meets Truman Show of American capitalism on steroids set in the now retro cultural universe of America as it was three generations ago... or middle America as it is today.

And speaking of middle America, I have never in my life seen such a concentration of 300+ pound white people anywhere, not even on "The Biggest Loser!" It is not a small world in Disney, after all. It is apparently a haven for obesity, the park now more famous more for it's enhanced jumbo turkey legs at $10 and 2 pounds apiece, than for the cool, sustainable hydroponic garden that Walt envisioned feeding the world one day, now hidden in Epcot, hardly advertised or visited.

So, that's the bad and the ugly.

What's the good?

Well, the good was that even in this museum piece of 3D reality, we had a 4th-dimensional experience, creating a reality where cab-rides and plane rides were impossibly smooth and on time, where we avoided the infamous long lines for attractions and rides, where the food was decent (no turkey legs for us), where we bonded as a family, laughed and reveled in a world so outwardly foreign from our own vortex here at home. (Oh yeah, the one really creepy thing about Disney is the way they say,"Welcome Home!' when you arrive. Yuk!)

And finally, there was Cirque de Soleil. Never having seen it in New York, and knowing my homebody tendencies, not likely to see it in the near future here, we attended the show in Disneyworld one evening. Folks, it was truly jaw-dropping! Tears in my eyes amazing, my hands hurt from applauding so much during the standing ovation at the end. All I could think of when watching those performers in graceful, breathtaking feats of physical prowess was that when the soul is allowed to come through a human being, anything is possible.

Anything is possible.

I do believe that was the original belief held by Walt Disney when he envisioned Disneyworld all those decades ago. And apparently, in spite of all the retrogressive forces we've been buffeted by since his demise, the intention of his dream still lives.


Jason Loffredo said...

Hey PL - Long time no see. Sorry for the absence, but I've been reading the blog, just haven't had much to say until now.

I just have to pipe in briefly regarding the Cirque show you saw in Disney World. Not to ruin the experience for you - after all in theater the ends do in fact always justify the means. If your experience was of amazement that is still worth exactly what it was worth. However I do feel obliged to tell you that the outpouring of soul that you described is probably as far from reality as possible. Aside the fact that those shows are designed with with manipulative music, and lighting and special effects, most of those "spectaculars" and Cirque specifically have a really bad track record of really bad employment practices. Those shows are obviously very dangerous, and I don't know exactly, but I'm guessing the show you saw may do anywhere from 10, 12, maybe as many as 18 shows a week! Generally, none of those performers are protected by a union, benefits (like health insurance) are really hard to come by, salaries are really meager - all for a show where you literately put your life on the line twice or more times a day! I've also heard that Cirque is particularly heavy handed about not allowing people to take a lot of time off and also about their performers maintaining their physique (beyond the reasonable extent that maintaining your weight for example is a safety concern for that show.)

Anyway, from my understanding the only thing going on with the souls of those performers is probably a lot of "crushing"! But, I'm sure there are some of them that still enjoy doing it despite the obstacles - and all of those performers are the cream of the crop in their field. It's just too bad that the Cirque company doesn't particularly take good care of their folks.

Jason Loffredo said...

I should add a disclaimer that all that I say is second hand info from informal conversations with people that have worked or have known people who have worked at Cirque. It's entirely possible that that info is outdated too - maybe Cirque has cleaned up their act. (No pun intended).


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online