And so I made a pilgrimage to Disney World last week.
The last time I was at chez Disney was more than 15 years ago. It was all fun, but at one point during my visit the fun stopped. It seemed as if a light switch was flipped and the park I was in was no longer amusing. Instead it seemed rather pathetic, false and soulless. For the rest of my trip, I couldn't shake that new insight. It was then I swore I would visit places that had history. Which led me to flying off to France and England. I'm still hoping to see Italy at some point.
I was wary about going back because truthfully I had no need or desire to return to the Disney theme parks. But since it was a family reunion, I decided to return.
My last impression was still the same. The Magic Kingdom seemed smaller to me. The forced perspective used in the creation of the buildings gave me the feeling that I was cockeyed. Or that suddenly I turned into an overlarge Alice from Wonderland. Although I still did appreciate the attention to detail in the various settings of the parks from flower pots placed just so to the shop windows. However despite these little touches the parks still have the same type of transient atmosphere of highway truck stops.
There was still an overly fussy tendency to showy cleanliness. There is always some poorly paid employee assiduously mopping or sweeping the streets. It is rare to find a food wrapper or plastic shopping bag drifting around the park. And it is comforting or was comforting to me until I saw animals suffering from some type of mange disorder.
This was around a food stand with a picnic area that attracted all kinds of birds and squirrels. I didn't take a closer look at these animals until I was trying to find a table. Then I saw the squirrels were missing fur and had runny sores on their bodies. The birds were not faring much better, they were losing feathers around their necks. There was a child attempting to feed a sickly squirrel and in the process touch it.
My family ate and nervously tried to ignore the encroaching, mangy animals. An employee was present cleaning tables and picking up stray food platters but seemed oblivious to the diseased animal life. It was at this point a manic bird flew down and stole food right from our plates. The experience was disturbing to say the least. So much so, I immediately wanted to leave the Magic Kingdom and never return.
And indeed that was just what I did, I only spent one day in that park. I did inform their city hall customer service employee of their animal problem. However I don't hold any confidence of the problem being addressed any time soon considering the advanced sick state of the animals in question.
Whatever the disease or disorder the animals had, I will say that it was not present in the animals at the Universal theme parks. But I did notice it popping up in animals at EPCOT.
The happiest place on earth has a really big problem on it's hands and it isn't anything happiness will fix.
Labels: culture, personal, travel