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Notes from the Apocalypse

Dispatch from Disney World

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By Charles Morgan III


Disney World has 64,000 employees. If your performance was in the top one per cent of all the employees you would be among 640 other people. How do you climb your way to the top of this place?


I’m assuming they have a drug testing policy, even though all the employees are smiling all the time. How did they find 64,000 people who don’t smoke pot?


There are 3,000 different categories of employment at Disney World. I didn’t know that there were 3,000 different jobs in the world.


The four parks at Disney World had more than 50 million visitors last year.


There are 30,000 hotel rooms here.


It’s clean, partly because you are never farther than 30 steps from a garbage can. They do not sell chewing gum at Disney.


This place has parking lots that go on for miles. They even have parking lots for strollers.


The clothes worn by the visitors here are generally skimpy. It is hot, and on many of the rides you get sprayed by water. Unfortunately, many of the people here are either big boned or too short for their weight.


I’m not sure I ever saw a 300-pound person when I was growing up. Three-hundred-pound people don’t even stand out here, and I’ve seen a dozen people who had to be pushing 500 pounds.

We’re here at the slowest time of the year for the parks. July 4th must be impressive.


The place is amazing. All these people and no mention of politics. Alabama football hats and shirts outnumber all other schools combined.


How did they build this place? Aside from environmental concerns—I’ve read the book by Carl Hiaasen, and it is brutal—how did they put this together?


I marvel at how 80-story buildings get built in Manhattan. How did they get through a permitting process? How did they get built in between two other 80-story buildings? I can’t imagine how this place was put together.


This place covers 40 square miles—the size of San Francisco.


Who came up with the plastic wrist thingies? You just tap in on stuff, and you get charged at the end of your stay.


You tap it on a Cinderella dress and for $159, you got it. Tap it on a Buzz Lightyear costume and for $135, you got it. Bottle of water? Tap it. Ice cream bar? Tap it. Tap. Tap. Tap.


There are families from all over the world here. And children everywhere. For parents who might want to get away from the kids, there is a bar in our hotel named Trader Sam’s. It’s small—it only has cocktails—and last night, there was a four-hour wait to get in it. I am not making this up.


To survive here, I have two suggestions. One would be to have my son, young Edward, as your guide. He’s been here more than anyone I know, and he is really good at getting around.


The second suggestion is to attempt to enter an almost Zen state, a mind frame that involves no deep thinking but instead just a sort of acceptance and a commitment to place one foot in front of the other and go where you are told to go.


The place is a miraculous tribute to something. I’m not sure what that is, and I’m not going to worry myself about it. But it’s immensely enjoyable.


People from every corner of the earth enjoy Disney World, but this place is uniquely American. It is miraculously well run. It is clean. It is fun. It is creative beyond belief. It is expensive.


Because of all that, I am proposing a bill before Congress. This country needs to make a provision in its tax code that requires the wealthiest Americans to pay a supplemental tax that allows the poorest children in the United States to go to Disney World one time in their life.


There are hard working people in this country that could never afford to take their children to Disney World.


Whatever it means to be an American—and it seems to be changing all the time—whether it includes a free education, health care, social security, and a decent minimum wage, one thing should be guaranteed.


Every child in this country deserves a trip to Disney World.

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