Walt Disney World is America’s #1 tourist destination – a vast Orwellian shining city in the swamp brimming with bratty English schoolchildren spitting insults at cowed, permissive parents, with tattooed teenagers trying desperately to pretend they aren’t walking beside uncool parents, and with grinning sunburned, foot-weary pilgrims of pleasure plodding on and on and on.
Four theme parks and a dozen other destinations employ 60,000 cutely costumed refugees from backward countries and failed American cities – gays and unmarrieds, retirees without health care, unskilled veterans, brave loners seeking a new life in the sunshine state.
On the bus, on the everlasting bus, your senses are subjected to upbeat jingles, catchy colors, and corny jokes. Slipping deeper into stupor, you begin to imagine Glare and Blare as two more adorable animated characters.
In fact, the whole experience is pure American corn in every iteration and manifestation. The food is the worst of it, and that’s the part you literally ingest. After only two days of indoctrination, you become convinced that in order to have fun you must eat garbage. Mr. Henry defies you to escape high fructose corn syrup at Disney World.
Mark Twain, the first modern writer, surely got it right. The food at Disney World is “monotonous execrableness.”
Why, in the midst of orange groves larger than Arkansas, can you not get a glass of fresh orange juice?
Why must Disney food be “theme” food? Their many attempts to serve ethnic foods invariably get dumbed down into Sandra Lee’s semi-homemade. Mr. Henry understands that it may not be practical to construct Cinderella’s Castle walls from genuine limestone blocks, but must the edible be as ersatz as the visible?
There is not a cooked leafy green to be had for love or money. Instead, there are frighteningly snazzy combos like baked salmon on parmesan foccacia. (Mr. Henry shudders to recall it.)
It took Mr. Henry an entire week to recover from the numbing over-stimulation and hypnotic cheeriness of the place.
And the souvenirs! The irrepressible Trudy writes, “The whole thing was just one big retail Venus fly trap for more shit made in China, with that looming castle as the cosmic bait drawing children and their reluctant into its orb.”
There is a hidden ideology here, an imposed classlessness, a Puritan sense of public obligation towards the simple life. Any attempts to seek out fine food are blunted. Carefully prepared fresh food is simply not for sale. Everyone at Disney World eats the same food, rides the same bus, and laughs at the same amusement. There are no individuals. There are only crowds.