If you haven’t seen this brilliant, note-perfect piece of space-related Thanksgiving levity, today is your lucky day! Watch! Enjoy! Heck, even if you have seen it, how better to get into the Thanksgiving spirit!
Before this month, the last time I was at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World was when I was in college.
The movie Aladdin had just come out. The Magic Carpet ride based on the movie had not yet been built. There was no Toy Story. There was no Monsters Inc. No Lilo and Stitch. And no rides based on them.
It was interesting revisiting the Magic Kingdom as an adult, and having a different perspective. It made me more aware of the magic of what Walt Disney had created, and the ways in which that vision is preserved and the ways in which it is abandoned.
The original version of Walt Disney World was a shrine to the power of story, and to optimism.
Many of the rides were less about the ride experience than about a story experience. Peter Pan, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Others weren’t even rides, like the Tom Sawyer Island and Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. They simply gave you the opportunity to experience for yourself the world of the story. Other rides, like the Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World, really weren’t rides so much as testaments to Walt Disney’s overwhelming optimism. And then there was the stuff, like the Hall of Presidents, that was just purely educational.
In an era when so much children’s entertainment discourages the use of imagination, Disney’s Magic Kingdom actually featured attractions that encouraged it. (An idea that is echoed by the Epcot ride dedicated to the theme of imagination.) The original Magic Kingdom also presumed a certain degree of literacy. Sure, Swiss Family Robinson and 20,000 Leagues had both been adapted into Disney movies, but Disney didn’t make its Tom Sawyer movie until 1995. When the Island was created, Disney was assuming visitors would be familiar with the book.
Today, you go to Tomorrowland, and ride through the world of Toy Story shooting bad guys. No imagination, no narrative, no optimism. Much of the original Walt Disney DNA is still very obvious in the park, but you can also tell where it’s starting to slip away in favor of a more “contemporary” approach.
Walt Disney entertained, but he didn’t pander. He believed that people are good and imaginative and smart and literate and heading toward better things. Thank you, Walt, for being so eager to believe the best of us.
I may yet write some more about the time that I was in Florida, but, in the meantime, I wanted to go ahead and post some pictures, because I know everyone is dying to see my pictures. The VeggieTale picture isn’t technically from the trip, but I needed to be able to include it somewhere, right?
This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This post’s topic is “Gardening.”
In my defense, I tried. I’ve been trying to think since writing my last post about what I could say about gardening. I’m for it? I mean, not like in an “I’ve got any desire at all to do it myself” sort of sense, but more in a “hey, if you want to do it, go for it” sort of way. But that’s not really much of a post.
To make it practical, I could say that if you are interested in the topic of gardening, you should check out the works of Felder Rushing,but that’s still not a whole lot of meat for a blog post.
I even considered getting all metaphorical and talking about, like, the Garden of Eden, or some sort of parable-esque use of gardening as a way of talking about evangelism, but I’ve got nothing that wouldn’t jsut seem forced.
So, that’s it. Sorry. Anything about gardening you want to discuss?