The Evil Empire
The first time I visited Disney World was in March, 1977. The Spring Break trip to Daytona Beach included a day at the Magic Kingdom. The day was exhausting, the food was unaffordable, the lines were long, and I left with no desire to ever return to Disney World.
My parents moved to Florida for retirement, and my sister started having kids, so there were a few more trips to Disney World in my role as “Aunty”. The overpriced food, the crowds, and watching stressed-out parents and screaming toddlers waiting in interminable lines under the hot, Florida sun; this was not my idea of a good time. But, if my nieces and nephews were happy, I was happy, and that got me through the day.
My parents had a neighbor in their retirement community whose daughter was employed at Disney World. Apparently, this young lady suffered a nervous breakdown because of something that happened to her at work, but the whole thing was “hush-hush”, although there were veiled references to sexual abuse.
She warned her parents not to talk about what had happened to her. Her parents, formerly fun-loving people, were now confused and angry about their daughter’s experience. It was eating them up inside, but they honored their daughter’s request to keep quiet.
My dislike of the Disney empire deepened.
I also learned that some visitors pay higher prices for the privilege going to the head of the line. The lower-income folks, who may save for years for a visit to a Disney theme park, are stuck in long lines, limiting the number of rides and shows they can experience. Those who can afford to make return trips, and aren’t trying to fit as much as they can in one day, are the ones who get to the front of the lines.
Capitalism creating inequality. Another reason I despise the Disney empire. Well, all empires, actually.
Abigail Disney (granddaughter of Roy Disney who started the Disney empire) and Kathleen Hughes have directed a documentary that is premiering September 23, 2022. “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales” about how Disney exploits its workers.