Back to Reality

So what’s going on in the news? Any developments in the Middle East? Updates on the economy? Clean up efforts after the tornados?

I’ve been out of the loop for days, living in a censored land. A censored world, really.

Disney World.

If you’ve never visited The Magic Kingdom, then you might not know that the Great House of Mouse is much more than a multi-venue theme park. It’s hotels, condos, residential communities, conference centers, restaurants, stores, transportation, communication…

….all encapsulated in a giant climate-controlled, mood tempered, mouse-eared bubble…

…called Orlando.

I attended a conference down there and it was impossible to miss the “happiest place on earth” messaging.

On everything, from the bus service — ¬†which piped in splashy videos of kids frolicking with Mickey and clutching Cinderella — to the beaming faces of the waitresses, store managers, even the landscapers and pool cleaners (Actually at Disney, landscaping and pool skimming are conducted under the cloak of darkness, creating the image that pools and gardens are miraculously maintenance free.)

“Have a magical day!” the lady at the front desk sang out, as she handed me my key card and delivered a gleeful grin. Like every other person on Disney property, who’s permanently plastered with a smile. Because everyone is happy. Happy, dammit.

And you’re happy too because you’re staying at a Disney hotel, dining on Disney cuisine and drinking a $3 bottle of Disney water. You ride the Disney bus to the overpriced Disney restaurant. Want to watch TV?

Your choices are local news, Fox news, ESPN (advertising, commandeered by guess who), and every single Disney kid’s channel. In addition to Disney informercials, plugging Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios. Disney Typhoon Lagoon. Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Four days of this and I was desperate to board the Magical Express, watch the video of Disney attractions I’d catch next time, and return to the real world of unruly bushes, overflowing trash cans and grumpy, grouchy people.

And news. I’ve got two days to catch up on the world’s events before I plunge into obscurity.

A different land, removed from civilization.

East Texas.