Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Went to Disney World Alone And Here Are Some Senior Theses I Could’ve Written About It

For a cool $23952095 this hat can be yours when YOU complete your mandatory exit through the Rock'n'Roller Coaster through the gift shop. 

1. No-Fun Schoomarms As The Enemy: The Corporation’s Role In Undermining Workplace Supervision
      Evidence: On the “Rock’n’Roller Coaster Featuring AEROSMITH” riders are greeted with a video depicting Aerosmith clashing with their uptight manager, who can’t convince them why whisking their adoring fans away in limousines capable of going 0-60 m.p.h. in less than a second to their concert might not be a logical move financially.

Lamb couscous and beer at Marrakesh at the Morocco pavilion in Epcot. My first solo meal; I wore a shirt with badly written French on it and the waitstaff, who all spoke French, made fun of its inaccuracy. My food got to me in about 3 minutes. 

$8 Popcorn and Truly Budget Hotels: The Achievement of Monetary Dissonance

      Evidence: Everything at Walt Disney World is about a million times as expensive as it would be outside the parks; however, their hotels they advertise as “budget”—the All-Star Music Resort that I stayed at included—are ACTUALLY KIND OF AFFORDABLE.

Cinderella's Castle, visible from the carousel on the other side of Fantasyland
       3.  Cinderella’s Castle, Tiana’s Gazebo: The Racialized Architecture of Princess Culture  
      Evidence: Compare the Cinderella Castle, the end-all be-all of Disney World’s recognizable buildings (with Future Earth, also known as the Giant Golf Ball, running closely behind) with the tiny hidden structure from which Princess Tiana greets adoring children and you have Disney Princess Whiteness Values™ in a nutshell.

I Snapchatted my way around the World Showcase in Epcot. 

The Amalga-Fetishization of Polynesian Cuisines: Dole Whip, A Case Study

      Evidence: Dole Whip, a soft-serve pineapple “Dessert”, literally only exists at Disney World/Land and on the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. Its Wikipedia page cites it as “Vegan, Cholesterol Free, Fat Free, Gluten Free, and Lactose Free” but it is also probably Dole Free.

Me, far left, Space Mountain.

5. When FastPasses Fail: Examining Neotechnology in Tomorrowland 

      Evidence: I spent the whole trip with a green rubber Magic Band around my wrist, which functioned as my room key, ticket to the parks and FastPass for rides I wanted to ensure speedy access to. Once at Space Mountain, my Magic Band stopped working and I had wave a screenshot on my phone’s Disney World app of my itinerary to get seated till the end of the trip; upon explaining this to one of the Cast Members (what Disney calls its employees), he said, “I hope that’s the MyDisneyExperience app, not a SCREENSHOT” and I rolled my eyes a lot.

My hotel (the All Star Music Resort), which also boasted giant cowboy boots in front of its Country Inn section (where I stayed), a 3 story saxophone in front of the Jazz building and pools shaped like a piano and a guitar, had up a shrine to Selena Gomez in the lobby.

6. Mono-Rail, Mono-Linguilism: Current Research in Public Transit Discourses

Evidence: On the monorail to the Polynesian Resort for a breakfast of "Tonga toast"-- fried french toast filled with bananas--I heard a woman rave about her orthodontist, who was Egyptian and "spoke Egyptian, which is one of the hardest languages to read or write." 

This ride includes a dancing skeleton mariachi band.

7. Childhood and Nation at the Mexico Pavilion

Evidence: At the Mexico pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase, you can go inside a giant reproduction of an Aztec pyramid and take a ride down the “river” within that is nearly identical aesthetically to It’s A Small World except that the entire ride focuses on Mexico. Being the only person in my "party," I had an entire 5-row riverboat to myself. It’s really a better ride if you ignore the animated Three Caballeros (including Donald Duck) tailing your every turn.

The Heffalump/Woozle view from my solo ride (I had my own honey pot car to rollick around in the "blustery day") on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
8. Judgment Dad: Fatherhood’s Connection to Psycho-Projected Pseudoanxieties
Evidence: The only people I met who seemed genuinely concerned/baffled I was traveling by myself were Dads. Note the capital D—the kind of Dads that complain about their Old Ladies taking too long doing Lady Stuff to ride the Tower of Terror at the desired time and wear visors. 
Mussels and bread: eating Pacific Northwestern cuisine alone at Artist's Point, a "signature dining" (read: "expensive") institution inside the Fort Wilderness Resort 

9. Gone Fishing (for Protozoans): Some Bioethical Concerns About Public Fountains 
Evidence: I stood by Cinderella’s Fountain in the Magic Kingdom waiting for a few kids to stop splashing in it so I could take a photo, only to be approached by a frazzled older woman asking me if the kids were “mine.” Upon discovering that the toddlers trying to get at pennies were not the property of the girl wearing hamburger socks and one smushed sneaker (I developed mild tendonitis pretty early in the trip and had to hobble around with a self-fashioned medical clog for three days), the woman informed their true parent that her child had gotten a serious virus from that very fountain years ago.

Me meeting Princess Aurora/Sleeping Beauty. The young Polish girl behind me in line graciously took this.
10. Solitude in a Sea of Soulmates: Leisure as Amouro-lubricant for Romantic Pairings in the Age of Post-romanticism and Post-lubrication
Evidence: If you're over the idea that there's "someone for everyone," go to Disney World. I saw a short, freckled fat woman paired with a buff, baby-oiled man at Animal Kingdom, two petite men in baseball caps holding hands while passing through Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, an old man hobbling through the crowd while pushing his equally frail wife in her monogrammed wheelchair at my hotel's shuttle bus stop, a pair of Virginians in baseball caps that sat with me at the Mexico pavilion while I accidentally drank too much frozen margarita who owned a TIME SHARE in Disney- my list could go on infinitely.

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