I get the benefit of writing this piece after Nate wrote his, meaning I'm just gonna go down the list of gripes he made and offer a reasonable counterpoint. This why is the second team usually wins at debate club, kids. Actually, scratch that. If you're in debate club in the first place, you've already lost on a number of levels.
1. “… in the grand scheme of things, life experiences are supposed to change us to some degree. And the thing of it is, purchased experiences don’t really count.”
Untrue. Sure, riding the Tower of Terror will not change your life unless you're a child who, after Daddy described it as being a relatively benign “it's a small world”-type foray, is plummeted down thirteen stories, unable to ever trust again. Barring a psychologically detrimental experience, being at Disney World has spurred a number of family bonding experiences. My Uncle John, my dad, and myself keep each other entertained by poking fun at my mother, who leads the family (13 deep) through the Magic Kingdom much in the same way Hitler led the first wave of his troops through Poland.
Also, the fact that, besides the three of us, no one in the family retains the ability to make quick decisions, lends us all an opportunity to band together and say “Well, let's see how assed up this can get” whenever we see everyone else huddled together, heatedly discussing which bathroom we should stop at. Plus, though it is a purchased experience, it's great to have all the family together in one place.
2. “… Uncle Walt died three years before the completion of Disney World and his heirs got greedy and cruel. Their construction trucked much of the land near the Disney World site, which they bought on the cheap and then sold to their future employees, resulting in guaranteed sales and what we call synergy, which is cool, but a lot of good people got screwed.“
Tough shit. This country was expanded using similar (but worse) practices with Native Americans (including your beloved Florida's Seminoles), and the resulting land was cultivated with people that were, even worser, imported against their will. Does it really surprise you that this ethical standard crept its way into American business?
3. “There’s no character in Orlando, except for Mickey Mouse and Company, and that just doesn’t fucking cut it. But that’s the way Disney wants it so that’s what the people get.”
Only complete fucking morons would travel to Orlando and assume that its city limits comprise the majority of Florida's aesthetic and character. Well… OK, so I'm fairly sure that a lot of people think exactly that, but honestly, these people won't last long come Armageddon Time. Fact is, every state from Wyoming to Maine to my own North Carolina has their own neon jungle that the residents aren't proud of. What Orlando/WDW has up on that, however, is the general tourism it generates for Florida, getting people to the state and therefore making it more likely to browse around a bit, and the bonus of WDW being the largest single-site employer in the United States, giving a lot of people jobs. Dirty, corporate, sell-out jobs.
4. “… the fact of the matter is that there are about a million better places to hang in Florida and only eight hundred thousand (give or take a few) of them are inherently risky. This state is a lot of fun.”
Granted, but not for kids. I've outgrown it (still love them roller coasters, though), but I've been going there since I was a wee lad, and I've become attached to the place. I'll bring my kids there, they'll bring their kids there, and I'll own stock since the funds from my family alone will probably raise the share value a few points. You give a kid the choice between Miami and the badass Everglades, you know which way they'll go every time. I don't think anyone would argue that Disney is, first and foremost, for the kids. We grown ups can enjoy the rest of Florida as we see fit.
Now, I agree with Nate on a lot of his points. Shoddy business practices, better places to visit, and no real character outside the Disney Universe are all great reasons to go somewhere, ANYWHERE else in Florida than Orlando. However, WDW isn't bothering anyone else enough that it needs to be demonized. Yeah, sure I don't live in Florida, maybe I don't know. I also don't care, which leads me to believe that if I were a resident of Florida (and no, I sure as shit would not live in Orlando), I wouldn't give more than three rats' asses if tens of millions of people wanted to head over to Waltyworld every year and have some fun. And like it or not, it's pretty damn impossible to not have fun at Disney World. If you say otherwise, get your head out of your ass, un-pop your collar, and quit thinking you're too Goddamn cool to enjoy something that isn't a frat-tastic keggar. Ya dumb bitch.
You know the biggest gripe I have about Orlando, though?
No good pool halls.