The area around Tom Sawyer’s Island is classic Disney, perhaps second only to the castle and main street itself. If you think about the premise of the original Disneyland and Disney World, it’s really built on nostalgia. Nostalgia for the good old days of Main Street U.S.A or of steamships. A simpler time before all the modern craziness. And if the desire for the past was strong in the 1955, when Disneyland originally opened, it’s probably stronger now, in the age of digital and increasingly virtual worlds.
The paddle boat evokes a romantic world that’s very analog. And like many things at Disney, I’m sure it’s modernized to simulate a steamship, but there is a simplicity that’s easy to understand. It’s not a high-tech, or high motion. There’s no video screens, bleeps or flashing lights to impress. Just an old boat that goes around an island.
Nostalgia doesn’t age, it only gets better. We tend to remember the past more fondly, conveniently forgetting the more troublesome aspects. The future, however, is a tough racket. Because the future always changes and it changes in unexpected ways. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with it. That’s the trouble with Epcot.
Yes, today’s post in the opposite of yesterday’s post, in many ways. It’s real and everlasting and part of our romantic American history. It’s not fleeting and virtual. It’s the anti-Snapchat.
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