A 1971 Visit To Disney World
From my Orlando newspaper column, 1971 That was Walt Disney World’s first year
Saturday afternoon, through no fault of my own,
I found myself being patted on the butt by the Disney turnstile.
I had already been forced to memorize “Goofy 746-118B”
under threat of never seeing my car again.
I tried to get back out through the turnstile,
but Misty and our guest took me by the ears,
and dragged me, sobbing, into The Magic Kingdom.
The music of a 200 piece rock band
was being magically forced through a 3-inch loudspeaker.
At a lunch counter we stood in line for a while,
and we were abruptly awakened by a teenage counter girl.
She glared at us silently, waiting for our order.
They must have been out of Mouseburgers,
because all she gave us was a small cardboard box
containing three small cardboard hamburgers.
“The one on top is ‘without sauce'”, she said.
That was true. None of them had sauce.
I was startled to find she could talk.
At the first big show,
there were several hundred of us waiting in the theater lobby
We were jockeying for position.
A young hostess with the microphone had been waiting for this.
‘LAY-DEEZ AND GEN-TUL-MEN”,
she screamed into the P.A. system, which was set at number ten.
A lady in front of me rolled her eyes and collapsed to the floor.
To my left, a businessman clutched his chest
and flung himself over the railing.
A child’s voice cried, “I didn’t know the Lord was a lady!”
“YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE WITHOUT ME,
so you might just as well stand there and listen to what I have to say!”
The meek dropped like flies all around us.
“When I see fit to open the doors you will quickly move into the theater
and hurry to the opposite end of the room,
dragging your dead and wounded!
There will be no eating, drinking, smoking…
no talking, no flash cameras, no holding hands, and no giggling!
All right! You may now march into the auditorium
in a quiet orderly manner.
We hope you enjoy our presentation.”
Inside, another starlet took over.
She was good, but she couldn’t top her ugly sister out front.
She sort of sang her speech:
“Immediately upon the conclusion of our presentation
you will exit swiftly to the left of the herd.
Do not touch or lean on the railings!
They were only constructed to maintain discipline…
blah blah blah oral hygiene and regular dental care.”
After the show I said:
“How ’bout a nice relaxing boat ride back to the parking lot?
Fun’s fun, but I’m worn out!”
The ferry captain waited till we were away from shore
to do his number on us.
He never once stopped mumbling over the mike,
which sounded like a giant toilet paper tube.
Not one word was in any known language.
It sounded like a Winston Churchill speech played backwards.
His volume was a couple of decibels above the point of pain,
and passengers were leaping ecstatically overboard.
At the main exit we were divided into squares,
and loaded onto people movers.
The conductress of the tram was armed with a microphone.
“IF THERE ARE MORE THAN FIVE OF YOU IN A SEAT,
WE ARE NOT GOING TO MOVE!’
A man behind me said:
“We just got here and they’re threatening us already!”
I said; “Yes. Isn’t it great?”
“IF THAT CHILD IS MORE THAN THREE YEARS OLD,
HE WILL HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR LAP!”
I got off Misty’s lap.
“If you drop a package, a baby, or if your hat blows off
we are NOT allowed to stop!”
The tram began to move.
“We will pass throught the Happy, Dopey, Grumpy,
and Freaky sections of the parking area!
We have twelve thousand cars parked here,
and if you miss your section we can NOT take you back!
So, Lots o’ luck. Ha ha.”
“This is our first stop.
Grumpy people exit quickly to the driver’s right!
Goofy people exit to the left!”
We exited to the right.
We were grumpy people.