Monday, August 19, 2013

5 days at Disney's

Just got back after spending 5 days at a conference held on the Disney property in Orlando Florida, right next to Disney World, Animal Kingdom and the other theme parks.

Frankly, I didn’t connect. There’s a certain perfection to Disney that is impressive. It’s clean, well maintained, the whole thing is planned at an absolutely audacious scale.

But… it’s hard not to pick up a darker tone underneath the perfectly staged setting. Once you are on the property, Disney has absolute monopoly. They run everything: All the hotels, all the restaurant, all the shops, the busses... You will eat the food they have put on the menu. You will pay the prices they charge. You will wait in their lines.

There’s an obsession with safety. The signs warn you about dangers you never considered. When you check in it feels a bit like signing a contract, there’s all kinds of disclaimers that you must sign off on.

My favorite example was on the little note pads in the conference rooms. At the bottom of every page there would be a safety advice:
For your safety, watch your step, do not walk and text! 
– or: For your safety, please locate the nearest exit. 
Or: For your safety, please be aware of your surroundings. 

Basically, at Disney's, we’re reduced to infants. We are told to follow the rule, to take care, and we are given the role of an absolutely passive consumer: There’s nothing to add – everything has been planned for us, already. Just relax.

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