So I went to a Mardi Gras parade on Sunday. At Disneyland. Which is a little like going to Las Vegas by playing video poker at home. The basics are there, but the ambiance is not quite the same.
Not that it was horrible. True to Disneyland standards, it was painstakingly false. By which I mean that Disney can accurately reproduce anything on Earth. Take Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, for instance. Wonderful Tudor-looking mansion. Seems completely authentic.
Until you notice the Mr. Toad faces carved into the beams.
It’s like they’re saying we’re going to pretend that you’re somewhere else, but we’re not going to let you forget where you really are.
I think that’s why there was such an uproar when they changed the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It was totally original. No Mickey, no Pluto, just pirates burning and pillaging as they sang. Only the coolest ride in the park. (Well, okay, Haunted Mansion is pretty close unless you are feeling like roller coasters, then, of course, it’s Space Mountain.) Which was great until someone somewhere decided that the ride had to look more like the movie that was based on it.
Which is a little like someone filming your life story and then telling you that you’ll have to change the ending.
Now I suppose a person from, say, Nebraska, coming to the park for the first time would be thrilled to find Captain Jack Sparrow hiding amongst the original Animatronics. But those who grew up riding Pirates of the Caribbean were outraged. It was like tagging a Picasso. The ride was perfect the way it was. People could recite the dialogue by heart.
And now it was different.
I have to admit, I was one of them. Not totally outraged, but kind of bummed out. This was my favorite ride that I’d seen seventy billion times and now it wasn’t the same. Captain Jack Sparrow stood out like a sore thumb. Not that he was badly done. They did an awesome job creating him. He looks exactly like Captain Jack Sparrow.
It was just that Captain Jack Sparrow didn’t belong there.
Anyway, the parade was a little like that. A great brass band. A band leader with an umbrella dancing wildly out front. People in festive outfits dancing along behind them. Totally authentic looking.
Until you got to Minnie and Goofy.
Now, Goofy did look pretty cool in his jester’s outfit. Minnie was dressed as a queen, but she could have been queen of anything really. I think a real Mardi Gras queen would have had more feathers. But it was fun, nonetheless. Beads and music and dancing. They even had beignets.
Even if they were shaped like Mickey Mouse.