Your Souvenir Guide on Mickey Mouse and Epcot Corporate Overlords

10 Feb

I learned something today: Geoff Carter owns more Vinylmations than I do. Who woulda thunk it?

If you’re not reading My Souvenir Guide, it’s time to add it to your blogreader right now. Geoff doesn’t post all that frequently, but when he does, it’s the most incisive Disney fan-boy commentary out there. And while I link to almost everything he writes, you really should go subscribe to his RSS feed just in case I’m out sick someday.

Two cases in point: He recently posted about Mickey Mouse’s image problem, and Epcot’s corporate overlords (did I say overlords? I meant protectors).

First, about Mickey:

Modern-day Mickey Mouse shouldn’t be trapped in his own mythology, fighting the same, safe malevolence he’s been vanquishing these past fifty years or so; he should be fighting to keep Peg Leg Pete from foreclosing on his home, sluicing buckets of water out of his waterfront shack, pounding the pavement looking for work. That’s the kind of scrapper we need right now — a Mouse with real problems and the wit and savvy to beat them back.

I second that emotion. Please baby please, can we see what Mickey does when unemployment benefits run out even after 99 weeks with extensions? Or when his roof is failing from the ice dams, and he can’t afford to call a contractor?

Now, on to Epcot, where Geoff exhorts corporations to invest in Epcot for brand enhancement . . . which after all is what much of EPCOT was built on in the first place (and yes, my change in caps was entirely intentional). I particularly enjoy his explanation of why the Norway pavilion needs Scandinavian Airlines to get involved:

This shrinking lutefisk behind me is EPCOT’s Norway pavilion. Now, I think I’ve learned a few things about the Norwegians — I live in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, home to the largest Syttende Mai parade in the United States. If I want a helmet with horns on it, I can walk to the end of the block and get one. And this EPCOT attraction, whose ostensible purpose is to promote tourism to your homeland, doesn’t even fill me with the desire to visit my own neighborhood. The queue leading to the pavilion’s centerpiece attraction Maelstrom is a simple blue wall cheaply bedecked with tiny flags; the attraction itself has precisely one interesting scene and a bunch of terrible ones. I know that yours are a people not naturally predisposed to showing off, but c’mon. Norway has left 1979; your amazing techno scene proves it. The chorus of Röyksopp’s “The Girl and The Robot” is sick.

A relatively small outlay of sponsor cash — $10 million, maybe $20 million — could make EPCOT Norway into one hell of a tourism office. It could pay for an update of the dated and borderline frightening movie that plays at the end of the boat ride; it could pay for badly-needed scenery and technical improvements to the ride itself; and it could enable Disney to do something, anything, with that boring queue. In exchange, Disney will slap your name on every flat surface and probably give you some shop space if you want it.

Not sure I want to give up the Spirit of Norway movie, though . . . after having avoided it per Disney Digerati Rules, I’m now inexplicably fond of it. It reminds me somehow of the Isabella Rossellini insect sex films, like something has gone terribly wrong and I want to know why.

Also, let’s have some freakin’ lutefisk in the pavilion, okay? If we can suffer through Beverly, we can have ourselves a little gelatinous lye-infused fish, can’t we?

Geoff has also just coined the wonderful term, “themepunks.” Want to hear it used in a sentence?

It’s trendy for us themepunks to wring our kissably-soft hands and wonder how EPCOT came to this pass. The short answer is this: Disney can’t deal with EPCOT right now because there’s no clear-cut way for them to make more money from it by dumping Pixar characters into it.

And finally, back to those Vinylmations. I own two. And Geoff? Twenty. Geoff, how bout posting a picture of your collection?

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