The Dark Herald on the decades-long devolution of Disney World into Devil Mouse Trap
It was pretty close to magic. It wasn’t just the rides, although those were great. Epcot didn’t exist yet, so WDW was strictly the Magic Kingdom but there was a lot to it. Animatronics were quite a lot more cool in the seventies. The 20,000 Leagues Under Sea ride was still running. And the Carousel of Progress was featuring the “Now is the Time,” song, (which led to me being gaslighted by my own family for years. They had me half convinced that song was a product of my deranged imagination). The Haunted Mansion was everything a haunted mansion was supposed to be for a little kid.
But like I said, it wasn’t just the rides.
There was something about just walking down Mainstreet USA that made me happy. The characters on the street like the mayor and the fire chief gave this fake American town quite a bit of depth. Occasionally, some of the townsfolk would suddenly break into a “Hello Dolly” style song and dance number. Even the town suffragette added something fun. There was a depth to Mainstreet because it was telling a story.
He’s right. There was something… relaxing… about walking down Mainstreet USA even in Disneyland Paris some 10 years ago. I think it is because it was somehow part of the world that I knew as a child, a bright, cartoon version of that world, to be sure, but one that was familiar somehow, and comforting.
It is the material echo of the world we have lost. And that, of course, is why the Devil Mouse is determined to replace it, in the same way that his master seeks to replace us.