So FINALLY Star City resurrects itself on my computer, and the first thing I ‘m greeted to is a nice new article from Bennie Smith, arguably my favorite writer on this site after myself. I like to read Bennie because I think we have a lot in common – wife, house, enjoy playing Green, neither of us won any State championship other than Virginia – and so with a little excitement, I look at the topic.
Oh, I think candidly to myself, I can already tell I’m going to be writing a reply. =)
So I read Bennie’s article without the grain of salt in reserve, and proceed to giggle the whole way through it. No offense intended, but the idea of anyone getting upset at the location of a tournament just seems silly to me. =) So I figure I have two counterpoints to write my reply:
1) Um, it’s called "the Magic Kingdom" and "the most Magical place on earth ,” so what did you expect?
and 2) This is probably more of a business decision on the behalf of Big Brother Hasbro than anything else.
Let me start with 2, because that first one, I can already tell I’m going to write a page and a half.
Disney Inc. is currently licensing its entire toy manufacturing operation to Mattel, Hasbro’s biggest competitor. In return, Disney builds them or leases them toy outlet stores, where Mattel sells its Barbie dolls, and whatever else it makes. Now, this may seem like no big deal, but Disney then busses customers (for free) to these stores. And yes, we’re talking primarily about families with children. Millions of families over the course of a year. Free placement invariably, and probably a pretty solid chunk of Mattel’s profits (either from direct sales in WDW, or sales of Disney products).
Now if I were Hasbro Inc., I’d be drooling over this. They bought Wizards, and Wizards already had their foot in the door – not only are the JSS Championships held there yearly, but Pokemon cards are sold in numerous spots throughout the resort. Hasbro is probably trying to capitalize on this, and maybe they’re looking to squeeze themselves into this mecca of merchandising.
So if you’re Hasbro, and you’re faced with this decision: "Do I warm up a potential million-dollar customer, or do I pander to the $20-a-week kids that are going to buy my product whether I’m there or not?" – smart business decision is to go with the big bucks.
Now, let me say, I’m not anti-Hasbro. =) This to me is just a sound business decision. And since we’re now going to move on to point 1, I may as well admit now that I freaking love Walt Disney World.
It’s not because I’m a kid. Well, I am a kid, but not the 9-year-old kind who wants to ride the Teacups and spew his lunch. I’m a kid at heart – hell, we all are – that’s the reason we still play fantasy games and role-playing games! We have part of us who sits back and loves the wonder and amazement and magic of it all.
And it’s not because I’m a sun-bronzed Greek god who loves applying suntan oil all over my broad shoulders. Well, my shoulders are broad, but I still haven’t figured out how to avoid that farmer’s tan that you get by working in the sun in your short-sleeved shirt for too long.
It’s because this isn’t just some lame theme park. This place is an escape, a retreat, a place to go and forget about your deadlines and your boss and your secretary and your cramped little cubicle, a place where pirate ships fly (for crying out loud!)
Face it: If you could build your own private kingdom, Walt Disney World would be pretty damn close to what you’d build. Castle? Got it. Wild animals on safari? Got it. Star Wars ride for all you geeks in the audience? Check. Dinosaurs? Yep. Roller coasters? Yep.
And it’s all self-contained. Once you enter this place, you never have to get in a car, you never have to endure traffic – sure, maybe there will be some lines, but they’re even getting rid of those on the big attractions. This place is YOUR Magic Kingdom, where you do and see whatever you want.
Now, maybe I’m atypical. Maybe I’m the only one who would prefer to spend my free time with Mickey and Minnie, instead of some random guys who don’t know how to turn the shower in their hotel room. Maybe I’m the only one who ‘s thinking, "Hey, after I scrub out on Day One, at least I’ll still be able to ride Space Mountain." And if that’s the case, you’ll probably get dozens of replies following this one that agree with Bennie (or say that my whole point is moot because the chances of me actually being at Nationals are slim to none). But I personally love this idea.
I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is! Bennie, when you and I are both at Nationals next summer, I promise that my wife and I will show you and your wife such a good time, that your first column upon your return will read: "Dave Meeson was RIGHT!"
Dave Meeson, who’s really right this time
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