The basket of apples appeared on my door step. At first I wasn’t sure where they came from until I saw the note card that read VJ’s Organic Co-Op, Washington, DC. The note inside the envelope read:
Try these apples. I guarantee you’ve never tasted anything like them.
Valerie? I wasn’t sure who this Valerie was, but I figured organic apples couldn’t be all that bad. I made sure to wash one of them thoroughly, and I took a bite.
Whoever Valerie was, she was right. It didn’t taste like any apple I’d ever eaten, and soon after the first bite, I fell asleep, right there on the kitchen floor!
When I woke, I had all these ideas in my head on how to improve my favorite place on the planet — Walt Disney World. So I wrote them down, and here they are:
7. An Updated CircleVision 360 Film For China At Epcot
Epcot’s China pavilion does a wonderful job celebrating the rich history of its home country, but there’s very little mention of the successes of the last sixty or so years. Wonderful triumphs like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and defeating those pesky students in Tiananmen Square don’t get the mention they deserve at Epcot.
To remedy that problem, I propose that Disney replace the current Reflections of China film with an informative and interesting documentary I’ll call Forward: China from Mao to Now. The film will look back at the great history of the People’s Republic of China from the earliest days of the revolution to China’s bright future.
Of course, such a short film would not have time to delve too deeply into certain aspects of the nation, so concepts like human rights and economic freedom would probably have to go by the wayside. But I think a CircleVision 360 movie dispelling the myths about the People’s Republic would be worth seeing, don’t you?
6. Less Emphasis On The “Pioneers” Of Frontierland And More Focus On The Indigenous People
Frontierland purports to salute the spirit of the pioneers who made this country what it is. Yet Frontierland does what it does at the expense of the brave, harmless indigenous peoples who roamed the land for generations before the white man did. It’s time that Disney recognized this fact, and some of these ideas could be a start.
Cast members dressed as natives could roam that section of the park telling stories about the horrendous things done to them at the hands of settlers (though I’d draw the line at sexually transmitted disease since the park is a family vacation destination). Other options would include a Trail of Tears parade and battle reenactments.
Frontierland may be the most politically incorrect land in the whole park – and don’t get me started on Splash Mountain. Making gestures toward recognizing this country’s original inhabitants could go a long way toward reversing that trend.
5. From Each According To His Ability, To Each According To His Need At The Resorts
A revolutionary change in the resorts could really shake things up for Disney guests, and I think it’s high time. Here’s how we could even the playing field for everyone to enjoy their vacation equally – and pitch in as well. Picture this scenario: you call in to Walt Disney World to make your reservation. The cast member you speak to would ask you some simple questions about your household income and the skill set each member of your family possesses. Higher-income families would stay in value resorts such as Pop Century and the All Star Resorts, while lower-income guests would choose a deluxe resort like Wilderness Lodge or Grand Floridian.
Your cast member would then assign work to each member of your family, coordinating it with your vacation. For instance, you may spend a few hours picking up trash, while your wife or children may spend some time cooking in a communal kitchen. After all, we all need to do our part to make a Walt Disney World vacation special.
4. Union Activity On Main Street, U.S.A.
When guests enter the Magic Kingdom, they first experience Main Street, U.S.A., a stylized representation of a bustling city street at the turn of the 20th century. But haven’t you wandered down this part of the park and wondered where the union activity was? That’s right – it’s missing from the Magic Kingdom.
Can’t you picture how much more exciting and electric Main Street, U.S.A. would be if Disney depicted the union activity of that era right there for all to see? In lieu of a daily parade, cast members dressed as union organizers, strikers, or Wobblies could invade Main Street, U.S.A. to give the fatcats who run the town a taste of their own medicine. Riots could generate tons of excitement, complete with explosions that would rival any fireworks show.
With all the technology and creativity that Disney has at its fingertips, they could bring the union story to life in a most exciting way on Main Street, U.S.A.
3. The Religion Of Peace At Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion
Epcot’s Morocco pavilion doesn’t really have much in the way of attractions. There are a handful of shops, a gallery, and a couple of restaurants there. What’s really missing is the opportunity for the only Middle Eastern nation at World Showcase to demonstrate that Islam is the religion of peace.
A Religion of Peace attraction could tell the history of Islam, from the wonderfully humane way Muhammad treated women and children to the wisdom of the Koran to today’s brave freedom fighters. Guests could learn the truth about the Crusades and experience the hijinks of the Barbary pirates who fought the first war against the Great Satan America in the 1790s – who says Captain Jack Sparrow has to have all the fun?
In interactive activities, families can work together to drive Israel into the sea or organize their very own sleeper cell. Women and girls could visit a shop for their very own custom-fitted burka. The possibilities are endless – as endless as Islam’s sterling commitment to peace.
2. A Resuscitated Wonders Of Life Pavilion
Disney made one of its biggest mistakes when it closed the Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World at Epcot. These days, with health care and healthy living at the forefront of Americans’ minds, Epcot could bring back Wonders of Life in a whole new way.
Of course, the bulk of the new Wonders of Life would be devoted to signing as many guests as possible up for the Affordable Care Act. Friendly and helpful federal employees would stand by to ensure that everyone who visited the pavilion experienced the fun and ease of signing up on healthcare.gov. The pavilion would serve to dispel the lies from the right wing about the supposed dangers of Obamacare.
Another feature, Auntie Michelle’s Healthy Living, would introduce guests to the thrilling world of culinary minimalism. Kids and teens would learn why self-denial at school lunch is for their own good. Cast members would offer fitness tips so fun that guests would want to put on their mom jeans and get out there!
I see so much potential in bringing back Wonders of Life. Don’t you?
1. The Blacklist Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios presents a sanitized, idealized vision of Hollywood in its so-called Golden Age. The excitement, the glamour, and the promise of mid-20th century Hollywood are there for all to see, but Disney has left out one important era in Hollywood’s history – the blacklist.
It’s time for the park to add an attraction I’ll call The Blacklist Experience. This one would take guests on the fascinating and heartbreaking journey of the brave men and women who found themselves frozen out of the entertainment industry simply for standing up for their beliefs. A preshow film would feature contemporaneous interviews with blacklistees.
A ride would take guests through Audio Animatronic tableaux of some of the more dramatic moments in the HUAC hearings, as well as scenes depicting the difficult times awaiting the victims of the blacklist – receiving Oscar nominations under pseudonyms, working in London and Paris, giving countless interviews, or taking lucrative jobs in other industries. Isn’t it time we learned the truth about McCarthyism and the blacklists? Why not learn Disney-style?
And that was just the first apple. Who knows what brilliant ideas will come to mind as I finish the basket? Stay tuned and find out…