Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Space Mountain

Notes for a Future Paper on Disney World

with 2 comments

0) Let’s just get it out of the way: Micky Mouse appears to have a serious drug problem, most likely speed or crystal meth.

1) The Carousel of Progress, sad to be Walt’s favorite ride, depicts how white American males’ obsessive pursuit of the dream of progress systematically destroys the lives of everyone around them.

2) We didn’t see WALL-E anywhere—and we looked. Our conclusion was that the WALL-E’s critique of consumerism in general and Disney in particular was too dangerous to be allowed inside the park; this made me like the movie quite a bit more.

2a) Or else maybe he was at EPCOT.

3) There’s also the question of Pixar’s relationship with Disney and Disney World, which is still being visibly negotiated. The only costumed characters we saw in the entire park that day were Pixar characters—not one Mickey, Goofy, or Pluto—and the two most prominent new attractions of Tomorrowland were Buzz-Lightyear- and Monsters-Inc.-themed. Pixar, defined by its technological apparatus and always figured as the future of animation, is a natural fit for Tomorrowland, and this is the region of the park where Pixar is foregrounded. (We did see Woody and the female cowgirl from Toy Story 2 in Frontierland, and billboards for some sort of Finding Nemo thing in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.) But where then was WALL-E? Who mourns for WALL-E?

4) For a theme park with a forty year history, Disney is remarkably unprepared for rain. Little or no attention seems to have been paid to drainage in its design; after an hour or so of heavy afternoon rain, there was flooding everywhere.

5) The Hall of Presidents and Pirates of the Caribbean had both been completely redone since I’d last visited as a young teenager. The Hall of Presidents film is narrated by Morgan Freeman now, naturally, and alongside our trip to Kennedy Space Center this was our second huge heaping spoonful of unapologetic American exceptionalism. I was careful to keep my sarcam to just a low whisper in Jaimee’s ear.

For the record, here is Disney’s list of official “great” presidents:

* George Washington
* Andrew Jackson (He’s just like us!)
* Abraham Lincoln
* Teddy Roosevelt (He’s the sort of guy you’d like to have a beer with!)
* Franklin Delano Roosevelt (I was a bit worried they’d leave him out altogether, though if America is your object of devotion I guess you have to mention WWII)
* John F. Kennedy (though the end of the story depicted only in image and a vague LBJ soundbite)

Poor, poor Jefferson, unpersoned again.

After Kenendy—presumably to avoid politics—presidents only exist as authors of public mourning:

* LBJ: JFK assassination
* Reagan: Challenger explosion
* Clinton: unspecified disaster; we think it was Oklahoma City
* Bush: 9/11 (yes, they use the “I can hear you” clip, though not the “the people who knocked down these towers” part)

None of these disasters are actually named, though adults and older children can identify the context from the images.

Both Animatronic Nixon and Animatronic Bush’s faces seemed to us to have been deliberately hidden by shadow; aside from the brief moment in which the spotlight hits them and they get to say their names, they’re basically deliberately invisible. I was pleased by this.

Obama, as the current president, gets a pass on the tragedy trap, and Animatronic Obama gets to give a short speech and recites the oath of office. I confirmed later this was Obama’s real voice; he recorded it for the show last May.

6) Space Mountain remains pretty rad.