Three things about Disney World:
(1) When my best friend Rachel said that she was running the Disney World Half Marathon for Team in Training in order to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I had the checkbook out already. But then she and I talked about training. I’ve never run a marathon, saving my joints for less destructive pursuits, but I could talk about the training regimen and the mentality required for marathon endurance.
“The biggest challenge,” she said, “will be crossing the finish line and not seeing anyone there.” And that is a challenge. When I tested for black belt, I took a lot of strength from the people who came to cheer me on, Rachel among them.
A couple weeks later, I called Rachel up. “Would you rather I flew down to Disney World to watch you run the half marathon,” I asked, “or that I wrote a check for the equivalent amount?”
(2) Aside from cheering my best friend as she does something she never thought she could do – and I know I’ll never want to do – I’ll also be correcting a decade-old injustice.
In January 2001, following Super Bowl 35, the Disney corporation very pointedly did not ask Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis what he was going to do after winning the championship. Disney instead posed the question to Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer. No one thinks Trent Dilfer was responsible for the Ravens’ win, including ESPN commentator Trent Dilfer. So I’ll restore the scales on Saturday by sporting my purple #52 jersey around Epcot Center.
(3) I liked Magic Kingdom just fine when I visited it (nineteen years ago), but EPCOT stands out more in my memory. I was fascinated by visions of the future, even when seen through the lens of thirty years in the past. I loved the interactive exhibits in Imaginationland. It served a need that I had a hard time feeding anywhere else as a child: the certainty that technology would make the future better.
I brought home two souvenirs from my first trip to Disney World: a flintlock pistol from the Magic Kingdom and a stuffed Figment toy from EPCOT. Maybe they’re still selling them.