Florida
Sunday, 24th June 2001

EpcotEpcot

Disneyworld felt much more commercial than when I was last there. We sat through an amateurish spiel from Xerox. Macdonalds had a replica cast of T. Rex 'Sue' outside their premises in the Animal Kingdom. You could leave a legacy of yourself at Epcot. There were fewer places to eat without Disney characters making your day. I did feel for the poor guys inside the suits in such hot weather.

Disney have good designers working for them. The Animal Kingdom contained a good impression of Mombasa in the 1960s. The West Side is well conceived. There is a lot of cleverness at Disneyworld in the way the music and mail-boxes and trash-cans change from area to area. It hasn't quite all gone over to roller-coaster or fairground rides. The Land tour is still there. The Universe of Energy attraction surprised me by how well Disney had managed to update it adding in Ellen (DeGeneres) to make it more appealing. Spaceship Earth is still as ethnocentric as ever. (The Land used to have this lovely revolving restaurant with Mucha-like murals on the walls, and as it revolved you could see down into make-believe Saharas and pampas. The murals have gone, and the restaurant no longer revolves. Sigh.)

Magic KingdomMagic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom feels at its core to be a fair-ground. The Animal Kingdom feels to be a typical zoo with other attractions. Epcot is backing away from being educational or cerebral. The trimmings are smart but a chance has been missed to create something new.

Which is what I felt about "La Nouba" by Cirque du Soleil. It was standard circus with an avant-garde topping. Admittedly some of the acts were as good as I've ever seen. The diabolo act by four little girls was diabolically good. The trampoline finale was well executed and conceived. The custom built stage was imaginatively used.

Perhaps it is my fault and I'm just jaded. Ennui accidie. I've lost a child-like ability to suspend disbelief. As proved by my incredulity at people collecting autographs of cartoon characters.