by Ray Keating
June 6, 2022
Maybe it’s one of those hot days at EPCOT. You know, Florida hot. And you need a cooling break. There are plenty of places where you can stick your head in for some wonderful air conditioning. I’m going to suggest The American Adventure in World Showcase for three main reasons.
First, there’s the retelling of America’s history in the theater. The presentation features, as Disney World’s website notes, “35 Audio-Animatronics figures, digital rear-projection images on a 72-foot screen and stirring patriotic songs.” The main hosts are Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. Franklin plays the role of the American realistic optimist, while Twain is more the questioning skeptic. While there obviously are plusses and minuses in a short history presentation at a theme park, I enjoy this for two reasons (besides resting in air conditioning). One is that it might spark an interest in American history in a young mind visiting EPCOT. Two is that this fits with Walt Disney’s own appreciation for America and its history. Though not explicitly stated, it’s a wonderful link to who Walt Disney was.
Second, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” continues on exhibit in The American Adventure, to the left as one enters through the main doors of the building. (See DisneyBizJournal’s story on when this exhibit first opened.) There’s a great deal to appreciate about the history of jazz – that truly American genre of music – in this presentation.
That includes brief bios on various jazz greats, the cities where jazz was born and/or thrived, as well as museum pieces, from a Louis Armstrong trumpet to Gene Krupa drum sticks.
Again, this is a great break from the heat that hopefully refreshes or sparks an interest in jazz.
Third, and finally, is something that has long struck me as a small oddity in the rotunda of this building. Two of the quotes on the walls come from, in my mind, unexpected sources. One is from Wendell Willkie and the other from Ayn Rand. I don’t think I’m stretching things to say that these are not exactly two names with which many theme park visitors might be familiar.
Willkie was a businessman who lost the 1940 presidential contest against Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And Rand was a Russian-born writer, who spoke out strongly against communism, and was a strong advocate for free markets. (As a free market economist myself, I’ve never been a fan of Rand’s arguments and emphasis, but that is a discussion for another time.)
Whenever I read these quotes – and both are on the mark – I wonder about who gave the final thumbs-up for their inclusion at The American Adventure.
Again, my hope is that a visitor not knowing either Rand or Willkie, or tennis player and professional golfer Althea Gibson, who also has a quote displayed, might venture to discover more.
And all of this might result by just seeking a break from the Florida heat. Perhaps that’s a little Disney magic.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at email@example.com.
The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?
Two great ways to pre-order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is Ray’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here.
Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.
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