I have visited Florida many times over the years, but this past week I came to realize that Orlando is truly the ultimate company town – in this case, it’s Disney’s company town. You can hardly go anywhere without the mouse’s influence being felt.
Just today, as I was searching for a post card in the airport, the only options in the gift shop were Disney related. Are you kidding me? What about Universal Studios, or Sea World, or the Orlando Magic, or the airport itself, or a city skyline, or a myriad of other possibilities.
Walt Disney World has brought numerous economic benefits to the Orlando region including jobs, tourism entertainment dollars, and conventions. But, it has also brought its share of problems including loss of important agricultural land, rampant sprawl and population growth, crime, and horrendous traffic.
One potential problem that I also foresee is the Orlando region being far too reliant on one company or industry. Just ask Pittsburgh or Detroit what an over-weighted reliance on one industry will get ya’. When Disney sneezes (and it eventually will), Orlando will catch a bad cold. If Disney catches a cold, Orlando will get pneumonia. All I am saying is it is bound to happen sometime, even in Fantasyland.
Often I worry that Greater Lansing spends way too much time hyping the fact that it is the state capital of Michigan and not enough time emphasizing its many other attributes. I guess it is not alone, for in Orlando appears to be in the same boat (or should I say big red boat).