Each of Disney World's four major theme parks has one large structure
that serves as its foremost identifying symbol. In the
Magic Kingdom, it is, of course,
Cinderella's Castle. In EPCOT,
it's the giant golf ball, and Animal Kingdom
has its big fat tree. Disney MGM, however, has a water tower with giant mouse ears.
We suspect that Disney's famed "Imagineers" simply phoned this one in.
The water tower with ears is so uninspired and, frankly, stupid looking,
that we didn't even bother taking a picture of it.
Alex's favorite souvenir from his visit to Disney World was this light
saber, purchased just outside of Bear's Big Blue House.
At Disney MGM Studios, visitors are ushered in to the
wondrous world of the cinema. Not surprisingly, the park's
flavor is more Disney than MGM. There are Little Mermaid
and Beauty and the Beast stage shows, but classic MGM films
like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind are
virtually ignored. And that's a shame. Imagine a Land of Oz
attraction, where visitors ride a motorized cart down a yellow
brick road, while flying monkeys swoop down on them. (Disney Imagineers,
are you writing these suggestions down?) Or a Gone with the Wind
attraction, where you could ride a motorized cart (there has be a motorized
cart!) from Tara to Atlanta, and see Gen. Sherman setting the city
aflame. Or, if space is limited, Disney could combine our two suggestions,
and show Sherman marching through Munchkinland, while the Scarecrow
tearfully admits to Dorothy that he knows nothing
about "birthin' no babies."
Disney, are you listening?
So now that we've described some things that you won't find at
Disney MGM, let's take a look at some attractions that actually exist,
and that Alex experienced. One thing he did was attend
a "Bear in the Big Blue House" stage show.
Even though Alex had an angry look on his face throughout the
fifteen minute show, we assume he enjoyed it, because he became
even more angry when it ended. His anger soon gave way to tears, as he
desperately pleaded for the show to resume. This seemingly bizarre behavior
can be explained. Alex was over-stimulated by all the noise and energy
that's an inexorable part of the Disney experience, and was seriously
nap-deprived to boot. (Note to parents: If you have a young child who's
sensitive to noise, and you're thinking of taking him or her to Disney World,
you might want to put that thought on hold for a few years. Alex's time at
Disney World was often a "stress fest" for both him and his parents.)
Alex enjoyed this stage version of Disney Channel's "Bear in the Big Blue House."
He was angry and distraught when the fifteen-minute show came to a close.
There were a number of "movie sets" at the park, including a block that
was set up to look like New York City. In the
background were large mockups of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler
Building that were cleverly placed to make them look much larger than they
actually must have been. The illusion was surprisingly effective. Alex was
absolutely convinced that the entire Disney MGM park was, in reality,
New York City. There was no dissuading him from this line of thought. Alex knows,
with unshakable certainty, that New York City is merely a monorail ride away
from Disney World.
The big, strange looking balloon was part of the Mulan parade at Disney MGM. Alex
watched a good portion of the parade from atop his mother's shoulders.