This past winter holiday, my wife and I took our young kids (ages 2 and 6) to Disney. We brought the grandparents along too and took turns taking the kids to the theme parks and going off by ourselves. It was our first time there since we were kids ourselves. Turns out, this wasn't our fathers' Disney World. In every park, in almost every corner, multiculturalism was for sale "" sometimes as the featured attraction.
Why bother with intercontinental travel? In the Animal Kingdom, the African Safari is just a short walk away.
Gateway to "Africa", Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
Gateway to "Africa" closeup, Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
Come for the Safari, stay for the food, and music, and don't forget to pick up a t-shirt on your way out. They're for sale too, you know.
"Green is the new Black" T-shirt, Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
"One World One Love" T-shirt, Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
It isn't just Animal Kingdom, of course. Indeed, few places sell multiculturalism on Epcot's grand scale. Its World Showcase features rides, restaurants, and shows from China, Mexico, and 9 other nations.
And the park is so inclusive of diversity that its gigantic Christmas Tree is decorated with multilingual "Happy Holidays" signs. Below is the one in Hebrew.
"Happy Holidays" sign, Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
Is there any better way to celebrate our differences?
Disney is clearly doing something right. During our weeklong visit, I was struck by the diversity of people I saw and languages I heard. And as far as I could tell, visitors from every cultural group enjoyed the parks and their exhibits.
Tree of Life, Copyright Mikhail Lyubansky
Count my family and me among the satisfied customers. And why not? It's all undeniably fun "" as long as we understand that what we're buying is a fairy tale.
I know; it's not a very profound idea. After all, this is Disney we're talking about. How can one expect anything but a fantasy in the Magic Kingdom? But the multicultural illusion is unusually subtle. After all, the food, the music, the art, even the safari animals are all real. Even the Chinese acrobats are authentic.
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