Wednesday with Walt: Securing the Magic

Walt Disney said, “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” I know exactly where Walt was coming from when he said that. Some people might see me as simple-minded, walking around with my head in the Disney clouds all the time. But I am acutely aware of how quickly this world is changing. And, it is evident everywhere…including Disney parks.

To me, we Disney lovers have a responsibility of sorts in helping people at the parks realize the magic by making sure nice things touch their lives. When Susan and I were at Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago, there was a huge celebration – the 40th Anniversary. Magic Kingdom park was at full capacity and people were pushing and shoving and we literally witnessed a man step on the foot of a young woman to barrel his way through the crowd. He did not say a word to her, he just kept going. The sweet young girl, who was a visitor from England, said it did hurt and it was not nice for him to act that way. She and her husband, and Susan and I, were dumbfounded at how some people act toward others in today’s society. Susan said, “well, I apologize for his behavior for him” and I wholeheartedly agreed.

I planned that trip for months, and we even had t-shirts made up for the occasion that said “Celebrating Walt’s Dream – 40 Years.” It was a dream to be able to be there for the celebration and as I was going in I was thinking of how proud Walt would be that his dream is still coming true for families. I was also thinking about how selfless his brother, Roy, was to see his dream come true.

As we were standing in front of Cinderella Castle waiting for the celebration to begin, and watching people pushing and shoving and stepping on people without even so much as an “excuse me” or “I am so sorry,” I said to Susan, ‘this is absolutely not what Walt had in mind!’

Walt Disney World is and always will be the most magical place on earth. Watching the faces of children amazing at the wonder of this beautiful place is exactly what Walt had in mind. People from all over sharing in the happiness and then taking it back home and growing it infectiously around them was also what he had in mind. But I have to wonder what has happened to make some people in our society so cold and uncaring. I think we are going to have to start a new practice at the Disney parks. I call it Disney Darts!

Anyone who remembers the comedian, Gallagher, must remember his dart system. We could call the crime a Walt Infraction, dishonoring the memory of an ambassador of good will. It would work similar to this:

Each person entering the park would be given a vest made of a special material that suction cups would stick to, as well as a sucker-dart gun (similar to this pictured here minus the goggles).

Anytime someone does something at “The World’ that is not conducive with the magical spirit, other guests would shoot these suction darts at him or her. Ideally, there would be several different colors of darts, each one to indicate the type of infraction. Once someone had 3 darts attached to their vest, they would be escorted from the park.

I am guessing the conversation would go something like this:

PARK SECURITY: Sir/Madam, I am sorry but I must, unfortunately, escort you out of the park.

GUEST: But why? I paid good money to be in here.

PARK SECURITY: And we will be happy to keep that sir/madam, but did you notice that you have 3 Walt Infraction darts hanging on your vest? This means that at least 3 times, you have done something against the rules of basic consideration and human kindness that are required to be in the park.

GUEST: You’re crazy, I’m not leaving here, this is a free country.

PARK SECURITY: You are right about that, sir, but people in this country also have the right to experience the most magical place on earth without jerks ruining the good time. Walt had this basic principle in mind many decades ago and I have been retained by Disney fans to make sure you don’t impede that.

I think this would be a great system and they would only need to add maybe a few cents to each person’s ticket and get a great supplier who wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to make it happen. Let’s take back the magic. Who’s with me?

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