Why, right now I'm sitting in my own Cozy Cone just off Route 66 in Radiator Springs looking out at Sarge's Surplus Hut - complete with working neon sign. But it's hot. So I'm off to take a dip in the pool. There's probably more to come on this subject soon.So, I'm sitting here at Disney's Art of Animation Resort in Florida. It's arguably the least likely place to inspire me to pen my usual thoughts from a positive point of view. A quote shared by a friend (he was speaking of Atlanta but work with me here) could be applied to this place at first glance "it's what a quarter million Confederate soldiers died to prevent." On face value, there's nothing conservative, traditional, or agrarian about it. Disney's own Merlin might describe it as "one big modern mess!"
But I love this place. Let me share just a few reasons why.
Let's start with the obvious. After enjoying many writings ings of late by Russell Kirk, C. S. Lewis, and others on the importance of fairy tales, I now find myself confronted with these stories at every turn. Stories of nobility, courage, good vs. evil, failure and redemption. These are stories that are needed in our society today. Here they are celebrated in grand fashion.
Then there's the arts. The backdrops of the stories Disney tells immerse you in scenery. The music is sometimes faddish but just as often is a mosaic of sound from bygone eras that broods nostalgia or even ushers us to a more civilized age. Live show performances tell stories that unfold in front of, beside, above, and even behind audiences. The chief of the live shows, Fantasmic, is the tale of imagination, its power to amaze, frighten, struggle, and overcome - all in the same dream.
The architecture. Be it a theme park, a resort, or a shopping area, Disney is always telling a story. Most of the scenery is constructed of facades and clever visual tricks but if you relax your skepticism just a little, you'll find yourself in the story they're telling. On this trip alone, while walking through Main Street, USA, Hollywood Boulevard, and the East African port of Harambe, I expected to see the protagonist of my current long-term writing project step from a storefront , tip his Panama hat to us, and offer a polite "How y'all doin'?" before disappearing into the crowd to scare up a game of billiards or perhaps catch a boat or a train to either of the other two locations.
So the story they're telling can be what you make it.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire