Other than it’s where this thought occurred to me, this piece has little to do with Leggoland, all though it well could. Leggoland, in my humble opinion, is an over-rated, over-priced disappointment where it’s most notable POI’s are given little attention by the amusement hungry patrons. In the Leggo sense of things, it is both a land of plastic excess and excess plastic whose works of art and imagination can be truly remarkable–if people stopped to notice. But I’m way off course.
The first half of my thought came to me as we, the doting grandparents, paid the fees for our children, and our grandchildren, to enter. We are Floridians and got the standard Florida discount all the parks in Central Florida give state residents. And the six year old was free. Yet it cost well in excess of $200. That was before the first morsel of food had been downed and the first present had been bought.
And the place was packed with children. No surprise there since it was Spring Break. My point being that it didn’t look commercially like a losing proposition to me and yet for most of the stupendously short rides the lines were stupendously long. Every place was understaffed. It took 20 minutes to buy $11 worth of ice cream. It took 45 minutes to spend about $120 for lunch. The only places that had staff galore were the gift shops. No surprise there either.
Leggoland is on the old Cypress Gardens property and large parts of it surrounding the lake allow the imagination to re-create, not out of plastic, but out of real flora and fauna, a semblance of what old Florida was like. A rare and worthwhile thing to see. The weather was perfect and the botanical hike, which we ended up taking, because we took a wrong turn, was magnificent, capped by the largest, most majestic and mysterious looking Banyan tree I’ve ever seen in my life. It provoked thoughts of the grimmest of the Grimm brothers’ tales.
Of course there is a water ski show. It was about Pirates and so corny that it was funny; the 4 year old girl next to me was living her dream. She was screaming warnings of the impending pirate attacks and calling to her heroes to watch out and jumping up and down in such excitement and anticipation that she herself, all 42 inches or so of her, long blond hair flying up, down, and sideways, was worth the price of admission.
But it was here, at the lake, during the show, watching this little elf have the time of her life, that came the second part of the thought. Somehow the cost of this entertainment and the ski boats pulling the water-spewing acrobats came together in my mind. I thought: if the rich get richer does the growing tide of their money eventually make all boats rise?
Now I grant you that’s a little heavy for a water ski show, but that doesn’t make it less of a valid question. My answer, as I’m sure you’ve already discerned, would be “no”, quite emphatically. But I could not help but think of how many millions of potentially enraptured 42″ high munchkins will never be able to scream to the good guys to watch out for the bad guys. Why? Because it is too damned expensive. I actually had this daydream of President Trump arriving at Leggoland at its opening and declaring all the admissions were “on him.” Understand me here. It isn’t that I don’t think that presented with the idea, he wouldn’t warm to it. I think that no one around him, say Steve Bannon, would think to present such an idea to him.
I once worked as the executive aide to the mayor of Stamford, Ct. He was politically somewhat to the right of Genghis Kahn. His team was trying to do to him what Ivanka and Jared are trying to do to the President–mold a kinder, gentler persona. So we suggested before Christmas that he hire 8 or 9 buses to take several hundred inner city children to Madison Square Garden to see the circus. His reaction was like watching someone being told, “Look here. Flip up this switch and watch the light come out of that bulb.”
“Brilliant” was his reaction.
But I digress again.
I fear that no matter how many CEO’s make how much money not nearly enough of them will have staff enough to suggest they found and fund let’s call it, “The Inner City Youth Amusement and Education Foundation,” pool the hundreds of millions of dollars that collectively they won’t miss and actually put enough water under the boats that they will begin to rise.
So call me a dreamer.
And that’s what you get for my two hundred bucks at Leggoland.
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