I know that, politically correct creature that I am, I should hate Disney World, for any number of reasons: the hyperconsumerist, over-the-top pressure to buy stuff at every corner; the formulaic entertainment that's so often sexist and otherwise stereotyping; the homogenized and often tackily shtik-y approach to spotlighting other cultures and engaging with nature; the low-wage working conditions for many of the less glamorous Disney employees.
But -- you know -- you get what you pay for. And when you go to Disney World you're not looking for the International Genocide ride or Nature Red in Tooth and Claw boat cruise, or even Semi-Son-in-Law's tongue-in-cheek suggestion for a Dirty Florida exhibit. You want to be somewhere nicer, more cheerful, more optimistic about the world and its future than where you live physically and psychologically the rest of the year. And -- if I had to have a minimum-wage service job, I'd sure rather be a Disney worker than, say, a maid or maintenance worker at one of the roach motels along the main drag.
And sometimes the optimism about the future comes in surprising forms -- like the little girl we saw who, unlike the ubiquitous little princesses vogueing around the Magic Kingdom after their $150 Disney makeover, was proudly adorned in a Wonder Woman outfit (you go, girl!), or the little kids in Animal Adventure who were more knowledgeable about environmental issues than their parents, or the mix of nationalities all clad in the standard khaki-and-polo-and-camera-bag tourist uniform, all getting along at least for the duration of their visit.