Weekly Wire
Nashville Scene Disney Whirl

By Walter Jowers

Two weeks ago, wife Brenda and daughter Jess went down to Disney World. I did them the great favor of staying here in Nashville, because we all know I'm the last man in the world who needs to wait in line for a half-hour to ride in a teacup. I told 'em I'd go next time, after they'd had a chance to scout things out and to find attractions that might interest me, in areas with no waiting and with no rubbing up against people I don't know.

Well, it turns out there are no such attractions in all of Orlando. The closest thing might be the behind-the-scenes tours at Disney World, where a curious guy like me might get a look at the gears and pulleys that run Pirates of the Caribbean. Next time the Jowerses head to Florida, I'm going to book myself into some gizmos-and-gadgets tours, then maybe I'll take a detour over to Cape Canaveral, where I can see some real enough rocket-launching hardware.

I'm not much for long lines and gut-churning rides, but I'll tell you what I do like about Disney World: Preventive maintenance there is near perfect. They replace light bulbs before they have a chance to burn out. They've got 'em charted and timed, so they can nip bulb trouble in the bud. Same with all the hardware. Everything gets greased, tightened, or tweaked long before there's shrieking metal-to-metal contact.

I wonder if the Southern Baptists took all this into consideration before they started talking about boycotting Disney. Baptist brethren: I say that any outfit that makes it a policy to fix things before they break has to be run by right-thinking people. Maybe y'all ought to reconsider before you commit to keeping your grandchildren away from the Winnie the Pooh Blustery Day video, which, in my opinion, is the greatest piece of cinema of all time.

The way I understand it, our Baptist friends are mad at Disney about two things. First, they don't like Disney's policy of giving health-care benefits to gay couples, just like a lot of companies do for straight, married couples. I think I can help with this. First of all, y'all stop thinking of health-care benefits as a gift. They're not. The idea of benefits is to keep employees happy, so the company can prosper. That's the way we do things in America. For instance, here at my little company, if we decide our benefits package will include free tickets to every Jackie Chan movie, we can do that. Doesn't mean we want everybody to like Jackie Chan.

The other gripe I've heard is about "gay days" at the Disney parks. Well, as it turns out, Brenda and Jess were at Disney World on what a lot of folks apparently think was a gay day.

If you're all steamed up, worried that you might take your straight family to the park and get booted out because you fail some gay test at the gate, hose yourself down and relax. That ain't gonna happen. What happened two weeks ago, according to the Jowers girls, was a gay and lesbian convention. Just like Opryland might host conventions for dairymen, Shriners, or optometrists, Disney World hosts conventions for gays and lesbians. According to wife Brenda, there were great numbers of folks wearing red T-shirts that read, "Gay and Lesbian Coalition Pride Day" on one side, and "A Day of Magic, A Night of Pleasure" on the other side. You can get naughtier T-shirts at any mall. Also, you've got to consider that there are a Magic Kingdom and a Pleasure Island at Disney World. And shoot, all the guide books say that if you're taking a big group to the park, you ought to wear matching T-shirts so you can stick together.

Brenda says that, at about dusk, she started seeing a lot of red-shirted men sporting Minnie Mouse bows and princess hats. A few were wearing Minnie Mouse skirts. I say that's just people having a good time. I've been known to put on all the leftover cone hats at Jess' birthday parties--three or four on my head, a couple on each shoulder. It makes the girls giggle, and there's not a thing wrong with it.

My girls say Disney World is just fine. They say even I would like it. I say, if they say it, it must be true.

Visit Walter Jowers' Web site at http://www.nashscene.com>.

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