June 3, 2015

Disney's Downward Spiral

There are many reasons that I have found it difficult at best to add articles to the blog lately. Why? The photograph above may tell the story best of all. "Disney Hand Sanitizers"- How low can the Walt Disney Company go in fleecing its fans but all the while continue to downgrade the East Coast theme park experience?

Shuttered attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios have made it a half day park at a full fare rate. (That is an article in itself that I almost published two weeks ago.) Epcot continues to fall apart, but restaurants (again) continue to increase. Yes, Animal Kingdom is improving, thanks to the success of Harry Potter at Universal. But the yeti is still dancing and Dinosaur is missing most of its more powerful effects. Depending on how you view it, the Magic Kingdom is now a mixed bag. Granted, there's New Fantasyland, filled with things that should be so much better than they are- unless of course it is a restaurant or shop. But it is without a doubt beautiful to look at! Balance that out with many broken effects and animatronics on Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and It's a Small World. All Magic Kingdom must-sees!

To be fair, some of that same downward spiral is also happening on the West Coast. There, Disneyland is celebrating its 60th Anniversary but without a single new attraction added to its roster. That's an unfortunate choice that reveals the suits are only interested in milking their cash cows instead of offering up something new, something that entices, something that is worth the overpriced entrance fees. 

The best way to combat this spiral is to only spend your money where you are getting real value. It's why I haven't been to the World since 2009, why Disneyland Paris still dazzles me enough to visit, and why Cars Land and Radiator Springs made me pony up the cash to go to California Adventure again- twice. But Disney Hand Sanitizers and the like bring me back to earth on the company's true motives: Cash at any cost for the least amount of investment possible. Shades of Shanghai Disneyland, Mr. Iger?

Before I am so quick to dismiss the company and its money hungry  leaders, I have a confession to make. I'm probably on my own downward spiral of sorts- and maybe you are as well. For me, the evidence looks like this- I'm getting sucked into the television more and more these day. It's harder to get my butt off the couch (or off the web) to go to the gym. I'm tired, I'm frustrated, and I'm likely to not do anything about it. Spiritually, I'm not in the best of places, although I am trusting God will once again see me through this bout of quasi-self-induced sloth and depression as I press into that relationship through reading the scriptures and prayer. Surprisingly, every Sunday I am tempted to sleep in, I go to church anyway, and end up refreshed and encouraged. Obedience to God and what is said in His Word really pays off. 

Perhaps it's just a sign that I need some time off. I really haven't had a vacation since December. Much too long. So, I think I'll do that. But I won't go to Disney World. Not until they wow me once again. So I guess that means new articles will focus on the past of a once forward thinking company.


David Logan said...

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your blog. I frequently find it encouraging and I appreciate your notes on theme parks. Sometimes I too find myself stuck in a crappy feeling state. What encourages me in this post of yours is that despite your "sloth and depression," you look to God with knowledge and faith. It is beautiful to see people doing that.


Mark Taft said...

Thank you, David! I think I've reached a point in my life where I really have no other place to go. I don't mean that my wife, family, and friends aren't there for me, but only that God alone is where I know I need to go. He is the author of real comfort, real joy, and real hope. Notes like yours are encouraging, and I thank you for that.