Obama’s Disney World Speech Was Accidentally Ironic

disney worldPresident Obama wanted to go to the happiest place on Earth (all these G.O.P. debates making him mad?) and hopped Air Force One down to Disney World this morning. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't another warm weather vacation with the family, it was a business trip with a strict agenda. No time to ride Space Mountain ten times in a row, Obama was only in the theme park a short while to deliver a 13-minute speech about the importance of tourism.

In front of a crowd of roughly 300 Disney employees and invited guests, Obama discussed his plans to make the U.S. the "top tourist destination in the world." The only problem is ... did he have to shut down Main Street in Disney World to make that point? The irony is almost too thick to stand.

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While the President gave his speech, tourists, with pockets full of money and screaming children just begging for toys and treats, were relegated away from "downtown" Disney and were sequestered in back lots of the park usually only seen by employees. They were diverted away from Main Street and were forced to start their Disney adventure in Tomorrowland.

I don't know if anyone was entirely put out by the change in start places, but it's mildly amusing that someone would go to Disney to talk about how important tourism is only to thwart tourism in the process.

According to these terribly rough estimates from the Internet, if the average person spends $30 once they're inside the park, and about 47,000 people come to the park each day ... divide that by a loss of time inside Disney World due to Obama's speech and you're looking at a loss of significant coinage. It may prove insignificant over the long run, but when tourism dollars are down, any loss is going to hurt.

It's just a silly mistake, one that the Obama administration could have easily avoided. I get that there's no better place to deliver a rah-rah speech on tourism than Disney World, but at what cost?

Unfortunately, minor gaffes like this turn into major problems when you're looking at an election year. Giving easy bait like this to your competitors is an epic mistake. Or should I say epcot mistake? Heh.

What do you think of Obama's visit to Disney World?

 

Photo via BestofWDW/Flickr

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