Disney World: love of broad sentiment and bright colors and violent movement

This Atlantic article on Walt Disney World is wonderful for its critical and joyful look at the park that I love.

Now, as we strolled next to the lagoon in the warm, midwinter Florida sun, a feeling of some pleasure arose. I have felt this way in many parts of the world�at the Great Pyramids, for instance, despite the presence of beggars, touts, and larcenous camel drivers (none of which were a problem at Disney World, of course). Everyone has experienced it: a pleasure that has little to do with fun. It’s a tourist’s sense of accomplishment: By God, this really must be seen, and I am seeing it…

As you travel across the big interior of Disney World by bus, on Disney’s own system of divided highways that evoke the barren stretches of interstate America, you are apt to think of the ways in which this place resembles the country that spawned it. It is like us in its love of broad sentiment and bright colors and violent movement�it has helped to teach us those things, hasn’t it? It is like America in its celebration of democracy, or at least an aspect of it�democracy as leveler, enemy of pretension. And it is like America in that when, as is so often the case, any one place proves disappointing, you think the best must lie ahead, and so you move on.

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