Teaching in A Company Town of Dreams
By Dorinda Fox
Orlando was once a company town and the company was Disney. The success of the Disney theme parks and hotels begat more theme parks and hotels. Nowadays, it would be more accurate to describe Orlando as a theme park industry town. It is possible on a given day when visiting Orlando to take the kids to breakfast with Sponge Bob at the Nickelodeon Hotel, drop by the Holyland Theme Park to see Jesus crucified in bloody glory that afternoon, and to watch fireworks over Cinderella’s castle at midnight. Jesus is crucified just right across I-4 from the Millenia Mall, so after tourists are done with that they can head over to Chanel for some overpriced perfume.
Many if not most of my students work for that theme park industry. I have yet to teach a Jesus (it sounds like a tough gig) in my class, but I have taught several Snow Whites, a Jasmine, and the showcased dwarf from Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. The manager of the Holyland gift shop lives across the street from me, and should I the atheist ever have a need for Jesus-related items then they are available at a discount.
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