Disney as Utopia Author: TriSecDate:08/20/2016 12:45:40
It was a week ago we were starting our last day at the Magic Kingdom. After all the buildup, hard to believe it's receding almost as quickly. But nevertheless - time moves on relentlessly.
The vast Disney complex in Central Florida is right next to a major population center, yet is completely disconnected from it. Once you're under that welcome arch, it's like being in a different world.
And not a bad one, either. Each park can easily absorb 100,000 people, so the potential for mayhem is large. But nothing ever seems to happen. TSA could learn a thing or two from Disney security. There are multiple control barriers before you get to a park - they're all physically separated from the road system and passenger drop-off; you must pass a line of security where everything entering is inspected, about every 5th customer is "randomly" selected for a secondary screening (metal detector), and finally you all need to pass the gates with an active ticket and biometric scan. (fingerprint.) We often cleared all that in under 5 minutes, compared to almost 15 at the airport. (still not bad.)
It seemed to be peak world travel week while we were there - the place was literally overrun with British folks. It is hard to miss that accent. There was a lot of Spanish being spoken around us, and surprisingly enough, a significant number of Muslim women in all forms of native dress. And you know what? nobody cared. We were all there to give our money to Uncle Walt, so there was some kind of shared goal that made us all the same. What I was amazed by though, was those few Muslim ladies that were wearing the traditional all-black abaya. As an American, I was dressed as lightly as possible, and brought no dark clothing with me. But I suppose it's all relative - they wear that in North Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Throughout the parks during our stay, one thing leapt out at me - common courtesy. Things like that seem to be missing on the outside, but seats were given up, doors were held, people were helped, and Disney 'society' as a whole is unerringly polite. Even complete strangers walking to and fro for breakfast exchanged greetings.
It's a wonder - could that model ever work in the "real" world? Probably not. I don't know what it is about being in Disney that has that effect on people. It is, after all, a giant corporate entity who's sole purpose is to make profit. Whether it's by selling people a useful item, or by giving us a few day's diversion with clever rides and anthropomorphic characters, their end goal is the same.