Monday, June 25, 2012

My Cheap -- REALLY CHEAP -- Disney Vacation

For all the complaints* I have against the changes to Walt Disney Corporation since Walt died -- and they are many -- there theme parks are still a blast.  To give the Devil his due, I've been told by a friend with a disabled child that they really go out of their way for children with disabilities.  And besides, the two or three trips we took to Disney World when I was a child were a really big deal at the time.  

OK, so I've decided it would be fun to have a vacation at a Disney theme park.  There are several problems.
  1. The parks are expensive. 
  2. The travel is a hassle.
  3. The lines are long.
  4. Some of my favorite attractions are either gone or fundamentally changed.
The solution?  YouTube!  (and similar online video)  It's free, there is no travel, there are no lines, and I get to see both many of the old attractions I loved and some of the new ones, too.

So for example, one of my favorite attractions is the Haunted Mansion.  
This video is from the Disneyland Version, not the Disney World version I saw as a child, but they're not really that different.  The best things about this production are that
  • there are no distracting sounds from other tourists and
  • the whole soundtrack is played -- on any given visit, you are only likely to hear two or three of Madame Leota's incantations, for example.
Another favorite is the Jungle Cruise.  

One of our favorites when I was a child was the Tiki Room.  We actually went into this backwards; we were caught in a torrential downpour and took shelter at the exit, along with about 50 other people. The employees in the Tiki Room tried to clear us away, since the show inside was finishing, but no one wanted to go out into that thunderstorm.  In the end they let us just trade places with those who were inside -- no guests were standing in the downpour on the other side waiting to get in. 

More than a decade ago they changed the show.  If you want to hear the old show, videos like this are all that is left of it. 

Another family favorite, which is now entirely gone, was "If You Had Wings."  In retrospect it was not much more than a blatant commercial for Eastern Airlines, but this was certainly lost on us kids.  Back in those days, air travel was a rare luxury.  I don't think anyone in my family had ever flown, except maybe some servicemen in a military transport.

For this next event I can find nothing comparable on YouTube.  Sometime in the 1970's (the Bicentennial?) we went to Disney World and were in just the right place at the right time.  I also know we were there on July 4 some year in the 1970's, but I don't think it was 1976.A performer in Revolutionary War dress asked my parents if my brother and I could be part of a parade.  There was a fife and drum parade of a few feet, then he made some sort of speech and presented us each with a small medal and a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  This video from Epcot is the closest I can find; there was no Epcot when we were there. 

You get the idea.  It would not be hard to find other videos from favorite rides, especially the newer ones I have never seen in person.  (I last went in 1985.)

My last example was, again, a favorite:  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

So there you have it.  A thoroughly pleasant stroll down memory lane, and you can't beat the price!

* My complaints started when Michael Eisner took control of Disney and right away started finding ways for Disney to produce movies not suitable for children.  This is how Touchstone Pictures came to be.  The situation is worse today, with much of the  objectionable content being distributed under the ABC and ESPN brands.  (Yes, ESPN.  As much as I like their sports coverage, for some reason it has come to be expected that a certain degree of raunchiness should be a part of sports talk shows.  On top of that, the employees they let near a microphone invariably echo a company line that is very adverse to culture as a whole and to healthy family life in particular.)

Why am I singling out Disney when all the other studios do the same thing?  Because Disney is still cashing in on a reputation it no longer deserves, and in so doing it has betrayed those who came to trust the company to produce nothing but wholesome material suitable for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear that Disney is so dedicated to the fun and adventure of all children - at least as long as the money keeps coming. I too remember the long lines! Ugh!