Modern Living: Disney World: Pixie Dust Over Florida

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> The Hall of Presidents, a super-American show that opens with a 12-minute film summing up U.S. history and then presents all 36 Presidents, artfully duplicated and carefully robotized (Andrew Jackson keeps whispering to Martin Van Buren as each leader is introduced).

> A Grand Prix auto-racing course where cars nip through curves and down straightaways at just 10 m.p.h.

> Imaginative water rides—including a jungle cruise on the Senegal Sal, a sternwheeler splash on the Admiral Joe Fowler and a keelboat journey on the Gullywhumper.

But it is the hotels, shops, beaches and other recreational facilities at Disney World that really set the new complex apart from Disneyland and its imitators. Disneymen call their creation a "total destination resort"—not just a stopover, in other words, but a place to spend a weekend or a week. Early guests have been staying at the Polynesian Village Hotel, built in Tahitian style along a lake shore, with 500 rooms in five so-called long houses. The Contemporary Resort Hotel, which looks vaguely like a Mayan pyramid and features a 14-story-deep lobby appropriately called the Grand Canyon Concourse, will be finished by January, and two more cavernous hotels—in Persian, Thai and Venetian styles—have yet to be started. The prices at Disney World seem reasonable enough. Hotels range from $22 to $40 for a room large enough for a family of four. Package plans include one that offers three days and two nights at a hotel, three free days in the amusement area, free transport and $18 worth of sailing, riding or other sports—all for $61.50 per person ($25 per child).

On opening day, employees costumed as Mickey and good friend Donald Duck were on hand for 45 minutes of every hour to greet arrivals at Magic Kingdom. The crowds were disappointingly small. In part frightened off by predictions of mobs, only about 10,000 showed up (compared with an expected 30,000). First-day visitors were enthusiastic: "Oh, it just makes you want to cry," burbled Beatrice Agnew, 60, "it's all so happy here." Said Brad Griffis. 8, whose family of five spent $45.99 that day: "It's the best day of my life." The only untoward incident took place when a somewhat confused woman sought free admission because, she told police, "I am Cinderella." The Disney cops, primed for any emergency, lured her away by telling her that their police car was a pumpkin.

Undercover. The 6,200 Disney World staffers, in general, are young: 5,500 are between 17 and 22, and every one of them is wholesome. Their uniforms are designed with all the come-hither appeal of cassocks; one monorail pilot was grounded briefly on opening day because her black bikini panties showed through her lime-green jumpsuit. Boys must be shorthaired, and girls are required to keep makeup at a minimum. Good looks obviously counted when it came to hiring; largely because of that criterion, Disney rejected nine applicants for every one it hired. Once on the payroll, the kids were "Disneyized" at Disney World University, where rose-colored glasses are part of the curriculum. "They told us that pixie dust sort of takes over after you get into the company," reported Karen Crannell, a recent University of Florida graduate. "I wasn't so enthused at first, but it's true."

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