Monday, May 01, 2000

Fun is where you find it

I must have missed the Disney press release about this, but there's an irresistible new attraction at the Epcot portion of Disney World in Orlando. It's not a ride, it's not a show, it's not an amazing computer simulation or brilliantly orchestrated animatronic display or IMAX movie. It has cars, but they're not moving. They're just sitting there, on display--eight GM vehicles, Saturns to Cadillacs, sportscars to minivans, doors open, welcoming all comers to sit behind the wheel and...well, sit behind the wheel.

Hey, it was my son's favorite attraction. He played there for hours. It was the red-hot E-ticket highlight of his visit to Florida, and he measured every moment of our Magic Kingdom visit two days later against it. Oh, sure, yeah, jungle cruises, teacups, It's a Small World, yada, yada, yada. Where was the GM display? Where were the cars? Don't tell him about the racecar track--those cars are fake, and loud. Give him a real live driving machine, albeit a stationary one, and he's a happy boy.

In truth, he would have been a happy boy if we'd just stayed by the pool at the timeshare. Parks and lines and crowds and noise and unpredictable movements aren't his 16-ounce cup of overpriced soda. He's a man of simple tastes. Give him water, sun, and a couple of pool toys and he's set. It's just his pesky parents who want to drag him off to be enchanted, dammit. Have fun! Feel the magic! Ride a ride already! This is what kids do!

My daughter's a little more appreciative of all the theme park folderol, but really, she'd be happy by the pool, too. We met some friends for lunch at Epcot, and their kids were also begging to just go play in the pool. Thank goodness for the Orlando economy and the health of the Walt Disney corporation that Boomer parents have an ingrained, biological need to bring their young to theme parks in order to recapture the wonder of their lost childhoods. Bad luck for us that all our kids are wondering is when they can get the heck out of there.

Next time, we'll just rent a bunch of cars, park them near the pool and let the kids go crazy. The way theme park prices are going, this will probably be a bargain.

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