THE first thing I did at Walt Disney World was to take an oath not to make any smart-aleck remarks. A Disney public-relations man had told me that attitude was everything. So I placed my left hand on a seven-Adventure book of tickets to the
Magic Kingdom and raised my right hand and promised that there would be no sarcasm on my lips or in my heart.
"And do you further swear or affirm," I asked myself, "that you will not concoct any of those theories about how Disney World may reflect the escape fantasies of American Society or about how Disney World may be the symbol of the Final Plasticization of All Life, or any of that kind of thing?"
"I do," I replied. "I certainly do, We"re just going to have a good time."
I mention this ceremony in order to make it clear that I was committed to taking Disney World on its own terms even before my three-year-old daughter, Abigail, became a personal friend of Mickey Mouse—the two of them having become acquainted while posing together for a Paris-Match photographer and then, a day or two later, Abigail having been snatched by Mickey from a gaggle of children and taken on a private parade around the lobby of the Polynesian Village, one of the two resort hotels already built right on the grounds of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. My wife, who had not taken the oath, reacted to the picture-taking by expressing concern for whoever it was who had to earn his living by walking around inside a Mickey Mouse suit in eighty-five-degree weather making cute gestures,