I've had a few people have randomly asked me: Carrie why the hell do you rant about Disney World so much?
Well it's pretty simple.
I grew up in Orlando, Florida. When there is a 6 foot tall singing, dancing rat within spitting (okay toll road) distance of your childhood home, it's pretty hard to ignore.
In a nutshell, my parents packed me up at the ripe age of 5 and hauled my not-entirely-cooperative-but-highly-bribed ass into a small Nissan pick-up truck with 2 dogs and a cat.. and south we went. Mom worked for the Airlines and when a good catch came up in Orlando, the parental units where more the pleased to escape the desolate patch of space called "Pittsburgh Metro".
Yes, I was bribed. What 5 year old would say "No parents. Your insane" when the catch phrase "You'll live next to Mickey Mouse and get to visit all the time!". Well, maybe some would but this was the 80's when all young brains where completely full of the magical brainwashing of the Disney Channel (which was still a pay channel back then). Needless to say, the parents lied like they tend to do. We didn't go see Mickey Mouse everyday but we did go often enough that I had Disney on the brain. So in the grand year of 1986 I got my very first "Annual Pass" to Disney World.
I've been to Disney World so much in my life that I can quote rides and songs randomly and on demand. I could probably walk the parks blind-folded with only minor injury. I've seen the good, the bad, the worse and the 'Dear Gods, WHY?!' when it comes to Disney World. I think that's what tends to make me so very critical of their movements and motivations. I've witnessed the glory firsthand and watched the decline with barely contained hostility.
So when did this hostility start?
Good Question! Let Mama Carrie tell you.
The summer of 1994 is when I began to distrust Disney World and for a very good reason.
It was summer of '94 when at the ripe age of 13 that those rotten pricks in Management stole my absolute favorite attraction, 20,000 Leagues with the lie of "Refurbishment". There was no 'Refurbishment' it was all a lie and the ride was never to open again, this is when I started to realize something with stinky in mouse-land and it wasn't cheese. Later I watched the death of Mr. Toad, The Skyway, Alien Encounters and several dozen others.
During all this time in the wild 90's we'd also acquired yearly passes to Universal Studios, Disney's new neighbor and direct competition. While I'll at admit freely that NOTHING WORKED those first two years or so of Universals existence and they where in danger of going belly up, I realized other places out there are doing amazing things that aren't Disney. This was about the same time in life I managed to finally get down to Busch Gardens Tampa and discover a wonderful new world that also had zero to do with Disney.
What about Seaworld?
Well, Seaworld wasn't much on my Radar back then. We had the earliest incarnation of the "Fun Card" which allowed us to go to Cypress Gardens, Busch Gardens, Boardwalk and Baseball as well as Seaworld unlimited times per year. While I enjoyed watching animals and learning things, there was only so much in SeaWorld to entertain a very active kid. You have to remember, these are the days before Anheuser-Busch owned Seaworld. They where owned by HBJ back then, which should sound familiar since they print and produce textbooks.
After A-B bought Seaworld things became more interesting but by this point my parents had given up this pass. So the only time I got there was randomly when friends invited me along or when something was happening for school. Oddly enough Seaworld was the very first park I worked for in the lovely year of 1996, back when kids could work at 15 without a ton of restrictions.
Well I hope this may answer some of the random questions floating around! If you have more, just post in the comments. I'll give the best answer I can.. and if not I can always make something up!
All of the above events are true and factual to the best of my leaky memory.