Thursday, April 13, 2006
Visit Disney, Bring Money
Disneyworld is the capitalist American version of Mecca. Everyone is expected to make a pilgrimage to The Happiest Place On Earth at least once in their life. Like all pilgrimages, one of the unspoken tenets is to soak the faithful every chance you get. The defining characteristic of Disney is their unrelenting goal of making sure no cash leaves the property. The Mouse insists on shaking you upside down by your ankles until all your loose change falls out and then sends you home.
They keep you from visiting the other attractions in the area by blatant imitation and one-upsmanship. When Universal Studios announced they were building a theme park, Disney hastily slapped together the Disney-MGM park and beat them to opening day by nearly a year. Animal Kingdom is an attempt to keep people from day-tripping to Busch Gardens in Tampa. The Living Seas in EPCOT is aimed to give you a marine life fix so you won't want to see SeaWorld.
Disney has on-site spring training for sports fans and five golf courses for the guy that would rather drive a seven-iron than the Test Track. Our band group went to Festival Disney because Disney saw how the area band festivals that rented the park worked and took that function in-house. They literally try to be all things to all people and do pretty well.
Our band trip stayed at the All-Star Music Resort, which is part of an enormous complex of cheaply built motel rooms with trowels of Disney gingerbreading everywhere. These were built expressly to combat the miles of motels that had sprung up around Route 192 in Kissimmee catering to people that wanted to visit Disney but couldn’t spring $200 a night for the resort hotels. For my money, if you want to be on Disney property, the Port Orleans complex is the best value. For a little more money you get queen beds instead of doubles and a really niced themed pool play area instead of a generic pool with a Three Caballeros fountain.
I like Disneyworld. It is really the gold standard for theme parks. You get what you pay for, but, boy, do you pay for it.