News from Florida’s Disney World and Florida’s Kip Liles

My family visited Walt Disney World again over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was very impressed this year. While inrecent years I found thatthe formerly unmatched high level of customer service started todescend to the level of average or worse, this year we had nothing but outstanding customer service. Everyone was super friendly and helpful and in good humor. It mayhave helpedthat because the crowds were not so heavybetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, their stress level was lower. I particularly appreciated the cast members who seemed to be over retirement age. They had the magic in them, as if theyhad knownWalt Disney, and had somehow fully embodied his warm, benevolent, humorousspirit. Like Leon Trager whom I mention in my previous post, and like the recently deceased original Disney animators Ollie Johnston and his friend Frank Thomas whom I met at an animation art gallery years ago, the delighted-by-his-job senior citizen cast member who greeted me and answered my questions at the Pop Century Resort was an example of the kind ofperson I want to be likewhen I grow older.

I worked at Disney World in 1989 and I found it easy to be friendly and to enjoy my work and I think my customer service was Disney-worthy (I did well on my evaluation). Butin recent years I’ve seen a cast member at the Boardwalkroll her eyes when informed ofa slippery floorthat needed to be cleaned, and I’ve seen two Disney housekeepers at the elevator bank of the All Star Movies Resort,having a loud argument thatculminated inone punching the other inthe face. This year I saw nothing of the kind.

I also want to especially recommend one particular attraction. Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, which is the giant “golf ball” near the entrance, has been updated in the last year. The new version keeps all of the best qualities of the original, but is actually superior to the old one. It has many new, elaborate scenes and includes a wonderful interactive finale, where each passenger selects aspects of the future he’d like to see, and then sees himself in it. But most important is the overall theme. The new Spaceship Earth, which is sponsored by the excellent technology company Siemens, suggests that we are in the midst of a second Renaissance initiated by the vast opportunities that computers have made possible. The optimism and excitement about the future was a great contrast to the gloomy pessimism of CNN, MSNBC and the major networksand newsmagazines (except for theirrose-coloredreports on socialist Barack Obama,which causeme to expect soon the headline”The Sun Shines Out of His Behind,”apologies toThe Smiths ).

There were many more highlights. The Pixar attractions “Toy Story Mania” and “Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor” (not to mention the amazing “Turtle Talk with Crush” which we skipped this year) are as much fun as, or more funthan, you have already heard.

And this is the first year I have seen the Osborne Family’s Christmas (plus Chanukah) Lights. Talk about exceeding expectations:it is one more example of Disney and their partners at their best. Words cannot adequately convey the experience of seeing the city streets of the backlot lit up in such imaginative ways.

Also,we took side trips to the Wilderness Lodge to see part of Walt’s own model railroad train exhibited, and to the Grand Floridian Resort to see and smell the gingerbread house they have every Christmas season. And everyone, especially my daughter who loves to dance and sing, enjoyed the Hoop De Doo Revue.

We also were able to briefly meet up with Kip Liles and her husband. They are, once again, the kind of people I hope to be like, and the kind of people I want to surround myself with, people who are role models for all Earthlings. If you don’t know who Kip Liles is, she is the Super Foster Parent whom I interviewed on The Zigory Show. That podcast is available at http://zigory.solidvox.com/?p=3.

Update regarding the Kip Liles interview and the Michelle Malkin articlecalled “The Death of Bradley McGee”: Kip has learned from a source that Billy, the brother of Braddie,is alive, still living with his (murderer) mother Sheryl Hardy, and outwardly appears to be okay. However, appearances cannot be trusted and I hopeBilly’s community in Illinois keeps its eyes open. As should we all, for justice’s sake and our own.

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