You can only be dared by the dazzle of Disney World. It is a vast Fantasyland, a Magic Kingdom of marvelous merriment. It is a gentle journey into the world in which we would all like to live.
A high-speed monorail provides a clean, swift, rapid transit system. Decorated with green bushes carved into the shapes of animals, the landscaping is an artistic achievement. The streets are clean of dirt and free from cars. The only mobs are people, crowding their way into this world of wonder. The only shouts are of children, absorbed in the excitement of fantasy.
Adults are intoxicated by the Disney experience, perhaps enticed by a fond romanticism of days past. This place is a child's world, though; it is the youth's mecca of passion, and the scores of amusements are the Tinkerbells of their dreams. Said little Kim Billings, a 6-year-old from Rochester, New Hampshire:
"Can we live here, mommy?" A child's words are so often a parent's dreams.
Disney World is a living high, and it glorifies America as it does humanity. Tomorrowland takes you on a tour across America's future, and Adventureland retrieves the past with a jungle cruise. Liberty Square hands you Beniamin Franklin and the Liberty Bell, while Frontierland recalls the spirit of Ol' Betsy, Davy Crockett, his coonskin hat, and the ballad we all sang and loved. But Fantasyland, with its magic castle, and awesome spires, is the center of this dream you don't want to end. It is your childhood recalled, and for a few minutes, you can fall back and see life today as you saw it then.
America's pain does not exist in Disney's paradise. It's hard to imagine Mickey Mouse growing up in a ghetto, or Donald Duck and his family fighting a recession or energy shortage.
Uncle Scrooge was never a socially involved philanthropist.
There is no room for reality in the majesty of Disney World. It is, I know, an escape from things as they are, but it is too, a calling to things as they should be. It is a moment to absorb American goodness, American beauty.
Disney World is a giant fantasyland that patriotizes and popularizes America. We need that respite. No people in the world castigates itself as we do.
No nation is as self-critical, and no nation has undergone me constitutional upheavals as we have in the past few years. We have discouraged ourselves. America, though, is a beautiful country, and we are free to be the kindest of people. We just have to spend more time getting it together.
“Come all of us then, back to Fantasyland, and the Small World Exhibit." Transplanted from New York's 1964 World's Fair, and California's Disneyland, this feature captures the spirit of life as we would like copyright, 1925, Worman E. Kent it to be. Puppets of every nationality in the world appear in their native aplomb, singing gently, "It's a small world, after all," as a tour boat coasts you from colorful continent to continent, from Eskimos in Alaska to tribesmen in Africa, from Finnish farmers to Vietnamese schoolchildren.
This was a moving exhibit, and I was particularly amazed at all the coins people had thrown and were dropping into the waters. I like to think that this money, all of which goes to U.N.I.C.E.F a symbol of every person's innermost dream, the one so common to all of us, no matter who we are, or where we are.
It is the dream that one day we may all live in a world of goodness, kindness, and love. It is the dream of peace, but it is far more than the absence of war. It is a prayer for contentment, of your soul, yourself, and your society - a prayer realized Kissimmee, Florida.
Now please tell me it isn't true that at Disney's gates there are guards who enforce dress codes and hair codes, and discriminate between who can go in and who cannot. It's either everyone's world, or no one's. It's either a promise we keep or shatter.
This column was originally published in 1975 in the CONSCIENCE where Norm Kent was publisher and editor-in-chief. It's republished today in the hopes that everyone has a happy holiday, great Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.
Norm Kent is the founder and former publisher of South Florida Gay News. He’s also a noted criminal defense attorney and longtime LGBT rights activist.