Saturday, April 18, 2009

D-Day; or, When in Rome...

Castello del Cinderella

Sleeping Beauty re-enactress; or maybe it was Mary Poppins

Rodent re-enactors; actually the Mouse and his symbols were hardly in evidence

Detail of column in Castello del Cinderella

Grand Mosaic in the Castello

Our favorite scene..."It's a Small World," the penultimate hall, where everything goes White and they all sing in English (we call it the Aryan Hall), at the very, very end: an afterthought-ful Native American...

I am very proud of these artsy-fartsy pix

Ditto; double ditto

For reasons almost beyond explaining, we have visited Disneyworld perhaps a dozen times. It all started at Disneyland in August, 1970, the same night the Youth International Party party paid a visit and then the Anaheim police paid a visit, in full riot gear. (Look it up). We were there, but as young tourists and not as yippies. The park closed early, but I probably did not mind. In retrospect, I see now it was not an auspicious beginning.

Our first visit to the Florida version was in 1971, not long after it opened. A bunch of us then-20-somethings piled into a car and drove from Miami to Kissimmee for the day. Being native Floridians and having family in Florida may explain many of our subsequent visits. Having children provides further explanation. Disney is continually unveiling new rides and attractions. Nostalgia must have something to do with it. More recently, a fascination on my part with simulacra and social criticism has more to do with it. Baudrillard (or was it Derrida?) said that DisneyLand/World was the only real thing in America. Everything else is an imitation, but in DisneyRealm they are at least deliberate and reflective and calculating and therefore authentic about it. ("The absence of any reference whatever to Foucault demonstrates the all-pervasiveness of his thought."). Etc.

So there we were again, last Wednesday. I must admit this was the first time I actually enjoyed visiting the place. Maybe I am getting old, even maturing; or just tired; or maybe my brain cells are expiring more rapidly now. Or maybe it was having all the Sherouses aboard (Rebecca and Rachel). We nearly always visit the Magic Kingdom. I don't think we visited any sites we have not visited many times before. Still I enjoyed it, even to the last of the fireworks and monorail and tram rides back to the ("Donald") parking lot.

It was a beautiful day with a moderate crowd. The day also was helped along by some background literature, namely The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom, which Marie provided; she joined us later for dinner (it was her birthday). Each site, ride, exhibit, whatever, was addressed in this little book, a bit of its history, intent, and technology. Rebecca read the relevant extracts as we waited in lines. Text really helps. It almost became a humanities experience for me...but not quite. Maybe next time.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Excellent Post!