Who needs Disney when we've got Congress right here?


November 12, 1993|By MIKE LITTWIN

We live in an era of redundancy, which is the only way you can possibly explain Disney's plan to place an amusement park near Washington.

Don't we already have Congress there?

I mean, if Disney introduces Senator Goofy, is there any way to tell him from the real thing?

Quickie quiz: Is Newt Gingrich A) The House minority whip; B) an obnoxious cartoon character; C) Yosemite Sam's illegitimate son; D) all of the above?

You can find out in about five years when they open the gates to something called Disney America, a $2 billion theme park based on people's perceived need to see re-enactments of historical events, as imagined by the folks who brought you Mickey Mouse and Son of Flubber.

Like many of you, I took Disney-History in college. Not only does America win every war, Davy Crockett somehow dies valiantly at the end of each one.

What a concept. Disneyland meets history. Donald Duck meets Thomas Paine.

I can't wait for the Lincoln-Douglas debates as performed at the Country Bears Jamboree.

Tomorrow Land becomes Yesterday Land, which you enter via a gate made from George Washington's wooden teeth. Through the wonders of virtual reality, you can write the Declaration of Independence alongside Thomas Jefferson on a computer with the special Dan Quayle spell-check feature: Whene ine thee coursee ofe humane eventse . . .

As you may be able to guess, I am not a big Disney person. This is because I used to live in Los Angeles. And whenever anyone came to visit, whether it was my mom or Nikita Khruschev, that person insisted on going to Disneyland.

The first couple of dozen times, it wasn't that bad. Now, if I hear "It's a Small World After All" one more time, I'm afraid I might choke someone, hopefully either Chip or Dale. You know how annoying that song is? I'd rather hear Bobby Goldsboro's Greatest Hits.

If you've been to Disney World or Disneyland recently, you are probably broke. That's another problem. I have a friend who likes the parks in principle but doesn't think he can afford to take his children there and send them to college in the same lifetime.

So from their first days in this world, he has whispered in their ears this mantra, "I don't want to go to Disneyland. I don't want to go to Disneyland."

Or he could just move to France, where Euro Disney, outside Paris, is a major failure. Disney has lost something like a billion dollars in its first European venture. Some are putting this down to France's well-known anti-Americanism. I don't think so. From what I understand, the French have spent most of that money at Mickey Rourke film festivals.

Disney is predicting 30,000 visitors a day at Disney America. The number could be less, though, if Ed Rollins is seen standing outside paying black ministers to ask people not to go in.

Of course, there are many possible rides and exhibits featuring American history. I just hope they don't try to jazz things up too much, like having Lewis and Clark meeting Annette instead of Sacagawea along their route.

Since the park will be in Manassas, the site of the Battle of Bull Run, you would expect a lot of Civil War exhibits. Maybe Lincoln at Gettysburg. Or the tape of Mary Todd in the Lincoln bedroom, saying, "Not tonight, Abe."

One favorite exhibit could be the Nixon-Kissinger Wiretap Room, where, for a nominal fee, you could tap a friend's phone and then have Rose Mary Woods erase the evidence.

There could be Out of the Loop, a ride which is an exact re-creation of George Bush's vice presidential career.

After you finish that, if you need a breather, how about Napping with Ronnie? If you're a little friskier, there could be Sleeping with Jack.

The Bill Clinton exhibit will be brought to you, naturally, by McDonald's. There will be a wax figure of Clinton holding the gigunda-extra-large bag of fries and Hillary behind him wearing the gigunda-extra-large frown. Also there, to explain Clinton's role in American history, will be a George Will look-alike to say how there will be a Whig elected president before the next Democrat.

Oh, it'll be great. Flying with Lindbergh. In a tank with Patton. On a ship with John Paul Jones. In a diary with Packwood: Nailed that blond in the elevator.

There could be an Admiral Stockdale Question and Answer room. He says: Who am I? You say: Why am I here?

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