Gospel insights from Disney WorldBy: Stephen Carter
I forsook the mountains of Utah for the swamps of Orlando, Florida this last week. My destination: Disney World. And while there, I learned something very important: something that would probably get me lynched in Primary. So I share it here instead.
Disney World earned its motto—the Happiest Place on Earth—from the fact that it is staffed almost completely by healthy, beautiful, friendly, outgoing, willing-to-talk-your-ear-off people. They want to put on gigantic costumes and cavort with your children. They want to serve your $30 bowl of pasta with a smile. They really look forward to waving goodbye to you as they send you into the dark tunnel of the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. At one point during our trip, we had a cashier and two managers working on a complicated purchase for us, happy as kids in a tub of ice cream.
Indeed, when you enter the park—heck, when you enter the bus to the park—you are immediately caught up on a tide of good cheer. It pushes you out of your $300-a-night hotel room through the hour-long ride queues into the shops where a candy bar costs $2.50, and from park to park—an infinite loop of happiness.
As I was carried along by this irresistible tide, I kept wondering when I was going to come across an example of disobedience, of someone swimming against this happy current. On our second day there, I saw a group of unruly middle schoolers running up the single rider line trying to get ahead, but they were turned back firmly at the door. That was the single time I saw a slight aberration—except for the time I sat on a queue railing and was shooed off it by a passing Disney worker. I was amazed at how guilty I felt for this infraction. It was as if I had bitten a hand that had not only fed me, but housed me, put me on awesome rides, and taken pictures of my terrified face during the scariest parts. In short, I felt I had betrayed Disney World and the happiness it stood for. I had briefly become a pimple on the otherwise spotless face of the Great Mouse. So heavy was my remorse that I worked the rest of the trip to not step outside the lines, to be a good Disney patron, to make the system work smoothly.
Because the system was there for my benefit. The skill with which Disney World processed tens of thousands of people through its rides and restaurants was always working for me. No matter how long the line, no matter how great the competition for the ride or hamburger at the end of it, the only thing I had to do was take my place, secure in the knowledge that I would be processed justly and impartially. That I would make it to my reward no sooner than the person in front of me and no later than the person behind me. It was very comforting. No matter how long the journey, no matter how difficult the wait, not one soul would be lost.
And then I understood why a third part of the hosts of heaven followed Lucifer.