It's a Small World- Cristine

Happy planes are flying over Hartsfield international airport today, happy to get out of this cold city, to somewhere far warmer, or infinitely colder. Happy people are working the bored chic look, smoking cigarettes and being thin. On the other side of the road is me, with 6 large bags, 5 family members, and a ticket burning a hole in my pocket. And so begins my uncensored, openly biased, cynical and emotional report of the Microsoft of family vacationing: Disney World.

The first thing to hit me as I walked out of the airport – aside from the overwhelming, bacteria germinating heat – was my lack of money. For all six of us to get into The Magic Kingdom, it took nearly three hundred dollars. Buying four-day passes, we slimmed that down to a nice even thousand.

Which, suprisingly, is worth it, because Disney World is overwhelming. Walk into the magic kingdom and you have been transported into an alien world where everything is bright, trash is a foreign word and rain doesn’t quite make it to the ground, your head or shoulder. Disney World is beautiful and tastefully overdone, echoing an America whose taste has, in recent years, inched towards the excessive.

The roaring twenties. The proud, bright fifties. The turbulent eighties. Most periods of American excess have been accompanied by a time of economical good fortune, peace and well being. However this time of over-indulgence, perhaps fueled by the upcoming "millenium" (or pseudo-millenium) comes when all is not well. National debt and unemployment, eastern European conflict, impending nuclear war, the depletion of the public school system, and the zapping of our ozone layer are all neon signs that scream "moderation!"

All my life I have been aware of waste, but until now, I haven't been very vocal about it. The bright spark of mid-nineties environmental protection has burned out; tree huggers have become obnoxious, and recycling has become a waste of time. It used to be your golden right to vote when you turned eighteen, now it has become something you do if you have the time after McDonalds. It seems that the entire world is unstable and since these things don't hit our little plot, or take up enough space in the newspaper, we go through our lives unaffected.

Of course, all this is easy to forget in a place such as Florida. There is no place in Florida not meant for tourists. Even beach houses, tucked away on cracked streets are painted in garish aquas with white trim and water fountains with spitting fish and angels. Florida is the only place in the world where it is excusable and respectable to be a tourist.

It is one of my personal prides to be from North Carolina, where Floridian retirees rent double-wides to see the leaves change and experience coldness. It is common to see a Floridian ask odd questions, buy overpriced "Native American" crafts, or lose their way in traffic. In doing this, they have earned the nickname "Floridiots." The entire time, these "Floridiots", in high-tech outdoors gear and large sunglasses have no shame in being tourists. And in florida, we have no shame.

Walt Disney world is the supposed apex of cultural togetherness. Open your ears and you will hear a million dialects of a trillion languages. Half of epcot is devoted to the world- but I found that the best place to experience the culture is the supermarket. At the bakery, a modishly dressed Japanese teen argues with the hairnetted worker over bread. "How much do you want?" she asks, repeatedly, and angrily. Neither of them speak the other's language. The Japanese boy walks away shaking his head and laughing, and I give him a sympathizing smile. The Irish in the shampoo section have long faces, and big eyes, and they laugh at the wide variety of cotton balls.

In the end, this place of over-excess begins to weave its spell over me, and I enjoy myself. Disney gives

me an excuse to end the sarcasm and I am jolly. I am bewitched by Disney's clean streets and good food. I am enamoured with Cinderella and nonplussed by the mysteries of Walt's frozen cranium and that enigmatic castle. I leave Disney a little less concerned, and a bit more vivacious. Perhaps Disney's spell of carelessness can be cast on children, adults and discriminating skeptics alike.