Disney World

I was in seventh grade the first and, until this week, the only time I went to Disney World. My memories of it, though extremely vague, are mostly positive. But I never had a strong enough urge to go back, and when my brother arranged a trip with both of our families, our parents, and his wife’s mother, I realized that my attitude towards Disney World had slid toward cynicism over the years. Disney, in my mind, epitomized all that was false in the world. Everything is designed for the sake of illusion, to allow the guests to enter into a fantasy world—the system of underground tunnels prevents the inhabitants of Tomorrowland from walking through Frontierland and breaking the illusion; the staff (and there seems to be millions of them) bend over backwards to make everyone happy. I dropped a French fry in one of the restaurants, and as I reached down to pick it up, an employee stopped me and said that she would get it.

I know a couple in their fifties who go to Disneyworld every year for their vacation. They do not have children, and I always thought their love for the place was a little bit strange. But even after a day and a half there, I understand the allure—the illusion is really, really good; the details are extraordinary; the service is wonderful; the food is top-notch (at least the high-priced restaurants you can get as part of the meal plan). I suspect that Disney controls the environment here in close to supernatural ways—I have not received one mosquito bite in what is basically a swamp. I can see why people want to come back again and again, even without children. In fact, the experience is almost certainly better in many ways without children. From a photographic standpoint alone, the possibilities here are endless.

But still, Disney World is only an illusion. A wonderful one. A convincing one. One that I would gladly go back to. But in the end, it is only an illusion. It is a sanitized replica of the world as we hope it could be—full of magic and wonder. To go back again and again, however, is to keep on refusing to take the red pill. I can take pictures here that to the untrained eye would make people think I’ve been to Africa and Asia. The good smells are here, but none of the bad ones. The only real dangers here are spending too much money on junk, having so much fun that the blue pill seems like the better option, and worst of all, believing that the real world does not contain the same amount of magic and wonder, despite its messiness and dangers.

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One Comment

  1. Marti
    Posted July 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your Disney insights- I love your last line- there is magic and wonder in our real world if we have eyes to see all that God has made.

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