We’re taking a trip to Walt Disney World in a few weeks. This reminded me of how inspiring it can be to see some of the attractions such as the Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress (both originally designed for the New York World’s Fair of 1964, where I first saw them at age 3) and Epcot’s Future World.
However, in recent years some of the attractions were revised to their detriment. The Disney imagineers in the last decade destroyed the serenity and beauty of the lovely Enchanted Tiki Room presentation, which had been a work of art supervised by Walt himself, by adding Gilbert Gottfried and a rabble-rousing element to the show and labelling it “under new management”. I refuse to experience it again until it goes back to the original owners.
But more serious is the damage done to The American Adventure program in Epcot.
By the way, there is an Ayn Rand quotation from “The Fountainhead” on the wall directly opposite the front entrance, don’t miss that if you go. The quotation is, “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.” It’s part of the same passage that Jerry Lewis (of all people) copied into his little notebook when he read the novel, so he could read it again and again as he pursued his show business career. Sometimes in December they put a Christmas tree in front of it, and I always request that they move the tree so the quotation is visible. But my problem is with the show itself.
As I recall, The American Adventure was quite different when it premiered in 1982. The animatronic portion was shorter and purely patriotic, uplifting, and dealing with principles of freedom as did the opening film.
Then in the 1990s, they added more sequences to the animatronic portion, and changed it into a laundry list of the things that went wrong in American history, including propaganda for “saving” the environment courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt, emphasis on things like the alleged harm done to the Indians, slavery, Prohibition, the Depression, the 20th century persecution of blacks in the South, the Vietnam war protests, to the point where the uplifting emotion about America’s founding principles and its successes, in the opening movie portion (which remained positive and inspiring) and in the original short animatronic program (1982), was to me virtually lost.
It’s almost as if The American Adventure was now the Anti-American Adventure!
Of course, the visual and technical aspects were superb, and were more amazing than in 1982, but the patriotic message became muddled at best.
I haven’t seen it since 2001, so maybe they have changed it again since then. I’ll check it out on my forthcoming trip.
Needless to say, most of Walt Disney World remains a delight and extremely worthwhile. Obviously I have been there many times (I even worked there in 1989) and intend to return many times.