© 2020 Scott Bryant

  • Scott Bryant

A Brighter Future in a Divided World

Updated: 3 days ago

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity leads us down new paths." ~ Walt Disney

Lately, it seems America has forgotten how and what it means to be curious, creative, and open-minded explorers - especially after a year of the single most divisive presidential election back in 2016. What should have been a time of continued optimism and unity has turned a nation of free-thinking and creativity into the worst kind of Jekyll and Hyde attitudes of deep division, close-mindedness, and fear - with misogyny and xenophobia reaching frightening and disturbing levels. Right now, many independently minded people, including myself, feel there is little hope for peace, unity, progress, and equal rights for women. But at least one trip in the summer of 2015 to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida gave me a bright light of hope for the future.

"We did not come to fear the future, we came to shape it." ~ Former U.S. President Barack Obama

While visiting the Magic Kingdom, I experienced a classic show that was developed by Walt Disney himself and has been a staple of Walt Disney World since the 1970s: The Carousel of Progress. Before the Magic Kingdom, The Carousel of Progress first made its debut at the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York and then made a short stay at Disneyland Park in California before relocating to Florida. Today, The Carousel of Progress, as the show states, has become "an immediate smash hit" with "more performances than any other stage show in American theater." The show, housed in a circular theater where the audience (not the stage) moves in a circular motion, tells the story about an average American family experiencing the progress of technology and better living from the 1900s to today. For a show that has been going strong for 53 years (with a catchy "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" song), I was left entertained and inspired. More people here in America need to see this show.

"Progress is impossible without change." ~ Walt Disney

Along with The Carousel of Progress, Disney also produced a short film shortly before his passing in 1966 outlining his grandest of all grand ideas, EPCOT (short for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). A city that I would move to in a heartbeat, EPCOT is a futuristic dream for those who love better living and the modern conveniences of technology, notably the monorail and PeopleMover systems. I only hope this vision of EPCOT gets built in my lifetime.

"Here in America, we don't give in to our fears. We don't build up walls to keep people out." ~ former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama

Most will dismiss the EPCOT film and The Carousel of Progress as nothing more than "sappy nostalgia." However, it's much more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane for people who grew up during Walt Disney's time; it's a show that emphasis the still-relevant themes of technology and dreaming for a better future for all people. When people get together, imagine new possibilities, and work as a community - regardless of background, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status - everyone benefits. The world needs more innovators, not malicious dividers. Hopefully, whatever the next 4 to 8 years bring, I hope it's more positive than what has been on display this past year or so. Now my only hope is to see America finally elect a Madame President and more women to the U.S. House and Senate in my lifetime.