by Richard Bernato
FRANCIS: Your Honor, the Plaintiff rests.
JUDGE JULIA: Very well, Mr. Philpot, is the Defense ready?
PHILPOT: Yes we are! Of course, the Defense calls Mr. Fred Farkle.
Fred Farkle rises from his seat, smiles amiably at his family who return the smile and he proceeds to the witness stand.
PHILPOT: Well ,Mr. Farkle, at last.
FARKLE: Excuse me?
PHILPOT: Yes, at last, at last you can explain yourself.
FARKLE: Well, I guess that is true.
PHILPOT: I think it is fair to say that Walt Disney and Walt Disney World are your passion?
FARKLE: Not exactly, my family is my first passion. But yes, you could say that Walt Disney and Walt Disney World are my hobby, although hobby may be too weak a word.
FARKLE: Stamp collecting, gardening, fitness, scrapbooking–those are what most people call hobby. I’d guess that there are enthusiasts in those fields who might be accused of spending too much time indulging their interests.
PHILPOT: You have certainly been accused of that.
FARKLE: Ah, but here’s the difference: maybe the number one reason I get so invested in Disney World is that I do this FOR my loved ones.
PHILPOT: You invest all this energy because of your family? You plan, some say over-plan, reserve, save, plot touring plans because you love your family so much?
FARKLE (hesitates): Well I don’t want to cast myself as some sort of self-less saint. I DO love and admire so much about Walt Disney World on so many levels. What I’ve been lucky enough to do is to transform my passion to maximize the magic for my family.
PHILPOT: Mr. Farkle, before we come back to your family let’s understand the “on many levels” phrase.
FARKLE: OK, I am 44 years old. I am not some sort of man-boy who wants to get Winnie the Pooh’s autograph at a Character Meet. I am 44 years old. I don’t thrill to the Dumbo ride. I am 44 years old. I don’t try to find every Hidden Mickey on property.
But I did get a tremendous kick when I managed to help my young son get an autograph from Pooh. I thought it was terrific when the touring plan we used from the Unofficial Guide helped us get on the Dumbo ride almost without a wait. I do enjoy pointing out a Hidden Mickey to my kids or to others.
I am an MBA with a specialty in organizational management. I enjoy seeing and being part of the Disney Magic on that level, too. It’s wonderful to see how the Cast Members are trained to and willing go out of their way as routine, to make every visitor feel that magic. It’s wonderful from a systems standpoint to marvel at how Disney plans for attractions to be created by Imagineers and put in place so well. It’s a kick to see how their planning and their creativity come together to create magical experiences for children, youngsters, and for adults too.
Not many businesses can claim the kind of success the Walt Disney Company has had, you know, to maintain its vision, to carry it out, to make it fit together so well.
PHILPOT: Come on Fred, you also like to wave to Mickey, too. Don’t cast yourself as this MBA theoretician.
FARKLE (Smiles): Well, yeah, sure. I didn’t know that was criminal.
PHILPOT: Now let’s get back to family.
FARKLE: Many people who go to Walt Disney World, especially for the first time, are easily overwhelmed. There is so much to see and do. On top of that, coming here with a family can cost a pretty penny. To me, I like to game the system so to speak, by making sure I know so much about the packages, the plans, the costs, the discounts that I can maximize the magic by getting the most for the hard earned money we spend here.
PHILPOT: So the 180 day out reservations, the to – dining – plan – or – not – to – do – dining- plan, the kind of tickets to buy, the best discounts on hotels, the zig-zag and zag and zig attraction plans they all …?
FARKLE: … Maximize the Magic.
PHILPOT: No more questions.
So, what do you think? Does Fred have a point? How many of you identify with our defendant?
Rich may be the only blogger who; had an ORIGINAL Davy Crockett coonskin cap (and wishes he still had it); watched Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in black and white; watched the Disneyland opening ceremonies on that same black and white; AND rode the original It’s a Small World in the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. In addition, he is a college professor, and a grandfather of six whom he is thoroughly dis-doctrinating as often as possible.