There is a series of advertisements running on television right now claiming you can get a better vacation by going to a certain theme park instead of going to one of the Disney® theme parks. I’m not even going to mention the name of the park pushing forward these advertisements because I think in a way that would be a bit of advertisement as well and the last thing I want to do is to help this revolting organization. The advertisements consist of a series of children making statements which, on the whole, most children would not readily agree to.

The See-Saw Effect
I am somewhat reminded of a story I heard recently of the great Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, who was also known as the Baal Shem Tov, or the BeShT (We of the Jewish People love our acronyms, though sometimes they come across in writing as looking like something one would see in a chat room) when he was but a child.

One day he came home from the local playground in a bit of an upset mood. His mother asked him what was bothering him, and he responded that the local playground featured a see-saw, and he couldn’t imagine ever going to the playground again so long as the see-saw was there.

What did he find wrong with the see-saw?

The major idea of the see-saw, he explained, was that one person was elevated while the other person sank. The only way that the person could be elevated was if the other person was brought down. He didn’t want to participate in any activity in which the only way to elevate yourself was to bring another person down.

Effectively, this is what this series of commercials is doing. It spends the majority of its thirty seconds not giving reasons to go to its own theme park, but bashing the Disney® theme parks (without mentioning it specifically, of course – I imagine the lawsuits would be tremendous if the Disney® name was mentioned.) and the last few seconds quickly blurting that you can have a ‘better’ vacation at their theme park. Not only that, they proclaim that children are free. Well, that’s certainly a relief if I should ever have to face a conundrum of not being able to have children the ‘natural’ way. Lo, I can go to their park and get a few children for free.

The Princess and The Fairy Tale
The commercial opens up with the first of a series of children who have nothing pleasant to say about the rival park. The first child states in a flabbergasted tone, “If I had to hug one more princess on my vacation I was going to hurl!” The statement is first and foremost erroneous – one does not have any obligation to hug anyone while at any Disney® park. The second problem with this statement is the gross generalization that it makes. This statement is trying to say that after a certain age, one no longer feels any connection with the Princesses of yesteryear. This is ridiculous – almost like saying that after a certain point, everyone loses the desire to be an astronaut. If this were the case, there would be no astronauts.

Interestingly enough, this ties in with the second and third absurd statements. The second statement, spoken in an equally offended tone is: “Sure I liked fairy tales – when I was five…” This statement, needless to say, is made by what appears to be a six year old. This statement is quickly followed by another child who snarkily remarks, “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m not eight anymore – I’m eight and a half.” Despite the fact that this child does not at all resemble a classic Fellini film, an interesting point is brought up.

Clearly, at a certain fixed spot in our lives, we are obligated to give up our dreams and to only accept certain ‘adult’ ways of having a good time and enjoying ones self, and clearly this other park is the only place where one can have such a good time. It only goes to reason that one has no business watching films such as “Mary Poppins” and “Sleeping Beauty” after a certain age. This is particularly the case with the latter because, as written earlier, it is expressly forbidden to derive any enjoyment from a Princess after a certain age. It would follow that the only people who were and continue to be fascinated with the royalty in England are under the age of nine.

Dreaming Dreams Today
The reality is that even today, people continue to love a good fairy tale about a Princess – whether eight and a half, eighty and a half, or anywhere in between. Of course, a thirty-seven year old woman doesn’t look at “Sleeping Beauty” the same way as she did when she was six, but some of the same sentiment is still there from her childhood viewing of the film. These wonderful films and their realizations in the theme parks impart a certain message to us: the seemingly impossible is very often suprisingly within our reach. That which we thought we couldn’t do was in fact quite feasible.

Early To Bed…?
The next and last statement made by an obviously traumatized child is in the form of a question: “Who goes to bed at seven?” I would like to respond to this question directly. I don’t know, who goes to bed at seven? I would guess that young children go to bed at seven. Perhaps you mean to imply that the parks you are ridiculing close at an early hour, forcing you to have naught to do but go to a diner or go to bed. Child, you probably don’t realize this but the park in question actually closes at midnight, frequently enough. Other times it closes at ten, sometimes eleven o’clock.

An alternate explanation for this curious question might be that the child is trying to imply that he is no longer a young child, and therefore he should be allowed to go to a ‘grown up’ theme park. See above for my response to this. The last time I checked, the guy I saw in Florida with a Mickey Mouse tattoo did not have a seven o’clock bedtime.

The reason that the Disney® theme parks have endured and succeeded for as long as they have is because they work on multiple levels and appeal to people of all ages. It’s not so hard to make a connection when the whimsical films and television programs we love translate so well to theme park attractions. (Can you find, outside of a Disney® theme park, a ride where people who are on the ride actively influence an internet connected PC video game, and vice versa? The ride in question is described here – the Astro Blasters. In short, don’t believe the hype. You can enjoy the fairy tales and the princes and princesses to your heart’s content.