Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Future Disney

The last post didn't seem to have much to do with Disney, and while I reserve the right to depart from Disney topics on occasion, I feel that it is actually the impetus for some thought about the future as it relates to Disney theme parks.


EPCOT = Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow

Obviously, Walt's grand dream did not become realized in the form he wished it would. Even now, with Disney execs and Imagineers spinning it, saying that the Resort was the community that Walt envisioned, with guests, a transportation system, hotels and parks, and maybe even including the town of Celebration as part of the "vision", you'd have to agree that Disney World is not a magnet for corporate research and development in the way that Walt wanted it to become.

But what we do have is a unique theme park, with its two distinct "worlds", Future World and World Showcase. The latter attempts to present the differing cultures of the countries showcased in it. And the former was supposed to present to park guests, and perhaps even be part of, the cutting edges of research and technological achievement.

We also have a "land" in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, called Tomorrowland, which is supposed to give the guests the feeling of entering the world of the future. This is different from the Future World part of Epcot in that it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with reality, instead being more of a cinematic or even literary version of the future. It doesn't need to project future technologies, it needs to give the illusion of being in a far flung future that is at once optimistic and unfamiliar to the guests.

Our true near-future is probably more concerned with our fiscal and social problems. We're all concerned about the realities of our financial system, of our housing market, of our health care, of our involvement in the world. We really don't have time or resources to devote to any sort of optimistic long term outlook for humanity.

But we don't go to Disney parks to be reminded of our failing health care system, or of our lack of good employment opportunities for both our current workers and our young incoming workers. We go to escape the realities of life, to be entertained, and maybe even be inspired and encouraged about our future.

So maybe Disney could give us some lands that look forward in a positive and optimistic way. I am good with conservation and ecology and recycling and such being a part of of my park experiences, but I don't want to be hammered on the head with them as part of the experience. I want those types of things to be "background radiation", to be sort of taken for granted. Because in "my" future, I don't want those types of things to be issues. I want them to be part of that future, but I don't want to be debating the effectiveness or even validity of these matters. Does that make sense?

Instead, start with this sort of thing. Make "green" the way of these parts of the parks. And focus instead, on what sort of future we could have if we solve our problems. What will our transportation look like? Our homes? Will space be a part of our future, as I hoped it would be when I was a child? Will the oceans become a part of our experience on this planet? Both? (Don't tell me neither...)

Push Tomorrowland's future far enough out that it won't become obsolete in ten years, and then keep it fresh. Push Future World's future out just far enough to give us a taste of real cutting edge possibilities.

I'm planning on writing a few more posts on some future possibilities, and their possible inclusion as part of Disney theme parks.

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