Why did DisneyQuest fail

Disney for everyone





Marc Degens © Disney

On Tuesday, April 26th, 2005, the day of the presentation of my new volume of short stories Our Popmoderne in the criminal assembly in the Festsaal Kreuzberg, I received a phone call from the FAZ-Reiseblatt editor Jakob Strobel y Serra around noon. Do I want to fly to Florida for a few days next Monday? It was about an article for the Disneyland anniversary, he didn't know more, all the documents were with colleague Bahners, but he was currently unavailable, I had to make a decision right away, Mr. Bahners had already exhausted the entire period of reflection: " Just say yes. “A thousand thoughts shot through my head… On Saturday my friend Alexandra would finally come back from her three-month stay at the Berghaus in Krzyzowa, Poland, four days later, on Ascension Day, I wanted to go with my publishers, like every two years, and had enough .org co-editors Torsten and Frank travel to Mainz for the mini press fair: company outing, capital burn, annual vacation. Also 4-3-2-1 ... I said "yes". Great, then Mr. Strobel expects the definitive Disney article (350 lines) from me soon, after that there should never be written about this topic in the FAZ. Mr. Strobel gave me two phone numbers and hung up. Five days left until departure, I felt dizzy. I don't have a watch, alarm clock, cell phone, credit card, and my English is - ahem! - humble. Help!

I spent the next hours and days in countless conversations: by phone, Skype, iChat and face to face. Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Poland, USA. A credit card could not be found so quickly, a savings bank clerk advised me to just give my Maestro card a try in America. Even in the understaffed Deutsche Bank branch on Hermannplatz, I couldn't help. A customer or employee lay unconscious on the floor behind the counter in the business area. It took me over half an hour to raise my concerns. No, under no circumstances can a credit card be issued to me until Saturday - and of course my creditworthiness also has to be checked for a partner credit card. Oh well, then not.

Thanks to Frank and Torsten, I understood my cancellation at short notice: Alle3 will definitely be back in Mainz in 2007. On Thursday I learned some details about the press trip with international media representatives from Christine Schmauss, my contact person for the German Disney Company who was already in Florida. The goal is WALT DISNEY WORLD in Orlando, where the start of the "Happiest Celebration on Earth" would be celebrated, an eighteen-month birthday party for the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, the first of ten Disney theme parks worldwide. In Orlando, the top attractions of the other parks and future projects would be presented and plans for the new, eleventh theme park, which will open in China in September, will also be shown. The Disney Company pays for the hotel, the flight and the accommodation, I only need my own money for phone calls and merchandise. I would reside in "Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge" (2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, Florida) with artificial savannah and real animals: giraffes, zebras, gazelles and so on. It will be a mega event! Christine Schmauss recommended good shoes and comfortable clothing for the day, the dress code in the evening was business casual (shirt in trousers, ironed, shoes that match the belt, no jeans and sneakers).

On Friday I received the travel documents and press materials by UPS courier for the LTU anniversary, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The documents were made out in the name of "Marc Dengens" - Pierre de la Motte, LTU's deputy press spokesman, assured me that new travel documents would be issued to me before departure, but that was irrelevant for the train journey. On Monday at 1:40 p.m. I should first fly from Düsseldorf to New York. I would return to Germany and land in Düsseldorf on the following Saturday at 7 a.m. A second-class train ticket has been enclosed with me for my arrival and departure, if I take the ICE on Monday at 6:41 am from Berlin Ostbahnhof, I would have to arrive at Düsseldorf airport shortly before eleven. There I should get on the Sky Train, which is very comfortable, drive to Terminal C and go to the LTU First Comfort counter, it would take ten minutes, Mr de la Motte would be waiting for me there.

On Saturday I got the last travel essentials: batteries for the digital camera, a fun digital wristwatch for one euro, two short-sleeved shirts at H&M and barefoot insoles for my sneakers. On Sunday, Alexandra reserved a seat for me on the Internet for the train ride to Düsseldorf and took out travel health insurance for me for seven fifty euros. I call that love ...

Breakfast in the ICE 644 at 243 kilometers per hour. Shortly before six I bought three monstrous egg baguettes at the EGE II bakery for an unbeatable 4 Euro 50. The train attendant has just accepted my passenger coupon. I am tired, on my feet since 5:20 am, and full of joyful anticipation.

On the plane. The train journey was pleasant, I was sitting in the quiet car at a table with an Asian man who silently operated the journey on his laptop and did not touch his unpacked reading - "Exhaust gas recirculation systems" from "The Library of Technology". Next door at the table two older full-bearded bellies were reading a sailing magazine together and babbling about what was on offer.
The stay at Düsseldorf Airport was long and boring. On the occasion of the LTU maiden flight from Düsseldorf to New York, a celebration with Knoff-Hoff jazz, a buffet and several celebratory speeches was improvised. When I got on board, I was given an ugly, lavishly wrapped, colorfully printed certificate with the signature of LTU Managing Director Jürgen Marbach, the “Certificate of Participation for the exclusive first flight of the LTU from Düsseldorf to New York on May 2nd 2005 ". Like the AIRBUS A330 boarding pass, this will be given to my uncle later, who collects everything to do with aviation. Once he almost bought an original anti-aircraft gun and set it up in his dining room.
I met my colleague Willi Winkler from the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the Sky Train, the world is tiny. In my first novel "Vanity Love" from 1997 it says:
For this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, the article “The discovery of speed” by a certain Willi Winkler was published on October 6th. A ridiculous name that Hort instantly associates with Willibald coot, a distant relative of Donald Duck. In his six chapters on the literary business, Willi Winkler claims that young writers who have the "slightest suspicion of genius" will be awarded prizes and scholarships and will be given "early retirement" until they die. Since Hort's nervous suit currently resembles a translucent negligee, he would love Willi Winkler if he were standing in front of him, roaring his view and opinion on this written nonsense and maybe even becoming palpable.
So far I only knew Willi Winkler from his texts, now Willi Winkler and I are sitting next to each other in the first row in the center aisle of the aircraft, separated from two vacant seats, directly in front of the cabin wall. Unfortunately, it is hardly possible to look out of the windows, but we have plenty of legroom. Willi Winkler and I chat about the federal German literature promotion system, while the air attendants hand out cosmetic bags including a tiny shoehorn, a fold-out brush comb, a CD case and two blue stockings. The package for kidnappers: You lift and stab your way through to the cockpit with the brush comb, with one stocking you mask yourself, with the other you strangle the pilot - we can't think of any sensible use for the empty CD case alone.

The starter is served at a height of 10,992 meters: “Salmon rolls filled with cream cheese on wild garlic pasta salad with lemon cream”. Class. There are five main courses to choose from, I choose: "Fried pikeperch fillet and crayfish tails in pesto sauce, mascarpone polenta, carrot boats and snow peas".

Another 3,373 kilometers to New York. Willi Winkler is sleeping. He caught a cold on the train, and in addition he had to give birth to his son, who is now eight years old, shortly after six in the morning. Willi Winkler would have loved to fly to London for the reunion concert of the legendary supergroup Cream (Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton). Since the SZ editors could not find any tickets, but Willi Winkler had already packed the travel mood, he decided to go to Orlando. The air companion hands Killepitsch, a fine-bitter Düsseldorf herbal schnapps. The first alcohol of the day, delicious. I've already had four glasses of Coca Cola light and a cup of coffee. The pikeperch fillet was great, the side dishes were not convincing either visually or in terms of taste.

The entry form and the customs declaration were handed out. I filled in the wrong lines on the first form, the second form got wet when I went to the toilet when I put it on the damp shelf. I think with displeasure of the onward journey, the details of which Pierre de la Motte only revealed shortly before departure: According to the plan, we arrive in New York at a quarter to ten Central European time, the onward flight is then at 12:50 am. We land in Cincinnati At 3:16 a.m., at 3:55 a.m., we're on to Orlando, where we're finally supposed to land at 5:58 a.m., 24 hours after I left my Berlin apartment. In Orlando it is shortly before midnight. A few minutes ago the announcement came that American regulations prohibit queues of more than three people in front of the aircraft toilets.

After three attempts, the forms are finally filled out after Willi Winkler made me aware of the idiosyncratic American spelling of the numbers 1 and 7 after my second attempt.I also followed Pierre de la Motte's advice to give reasons for my trip, not professional, but private reasons, as otherwise the American authorities could lead to time-consuming questioning. With a clear conscience I answer the following questions in the negative: Are you physically or mentally handicapped? Were you involved in the genocide or in the period between 1933 and 1945 in any way in the persecution of the National Socialist regime in Germany or its allies? Is the intention behind your entry to participate in criminal or immoral acts? Hopefully I won't get in trouble because the first stamp of my passport is that of an Arab country.
The battery of my iBook is slowly running out, I'm about to grab the Walt Disney biography of Andreas Platthaus, which my mother-in-law borrowed.

The LTU feeds us. The flight attendants distribute bagels with cheese and salmon as a cold meal. Fortunately, I had already parted with my third egg baguette at Düsseldorf airport - at least I know that no pathogens, cell cultures, snails and food are allowed to be imported into the USA. The security guards from Düsseldorf, who saw with the surveillance camera how I threw the enormous baguette wrapped in paper into the bin, will then no doubt test it. A comedy with Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffmann, Ben Stiller and Barbra Streisand has been running on the monitors for some time, and it makes half the plane laugh regularly [the film is about Meetthe Fockers, as I am now thanks to a tip from satt.org -Film editor Thomas Vorwerk knows]. At the beginning of the trip, WilliWinkler and I each received a free pair of headphones with an adapter that even fit into my iBook.

Monday, 23.55 (CET) / 17.55 (ET)



These burgers are crazy ...

America, the promised land. New York City, John F. Kennedy International Airport. I sit with Willi Winkler at Burger King in front of a Diet Coke and a Whopper with Cheese: The Whopper tastes even better than in Germany, mainly because of the crispy, yet fluffy bread roll. The meatball also seems bigger than usual to me. The entry procedure was tedious, but went smoothly. In the airport building I withdrew $ 100 with my Maestro card and then bought a copy (May 9, 2005) of The New Yorker in a newspaper kiosk for $ 3, the very first of my life. After a quick look inside, I told Mr. Winkler that a magazine like this would have to be published in Germany, haha.
As expected, the Disney biography of Andreas Platthaus is brilliant, I have read two chapters so far. In it, Andreas Platthaus characterizes Disney as an ingenious organizer who, in his corporate conception, “reconciled the political leadership models of Carl Schmitt with the mass theory of Elias Canetti” and who most strongly shaped the culture of the twentieth century through his work. His work, which primarily addresses “the step from childhood to adulthood”, is a world plan with educational and political intentions. Walt Disney (1901-1966) received Leni Riefenstahl in 1938, fought against the fascists and communists despite his admiration for Adolf Hitler and Sergej M. Eisenstein, supported Ronald Reagan's candidacy for governor and claimed: “If you could look me in the eye, you would see the American flag in both of them, and a red, white, and blue stripe grows around my spine. ”Walt Disney revolutionized cartoon films and the idea of ​​the amusement park. After his death, WALT DISNEY WORLD hosted the celebrations for the re-election of President Ronald Reagan or the victory of General Schwarzkopf in the Gulf War.
I bought Willi Winkler a Diet Coke, we talk about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd and the Dire Straits.

Tuesday, 1.27 (CET) / Monday, 19.27 (ET)
We've been on the plane for half an hour, waiting for permission to take off. Earlier, the pilot announced that 15 planes still have to take off before us - now there should be seven or eight. The aircraft, a CRJ40 or CRJ50, has around 50 seats, and Willi Winkler sleeps in the seat next to me. He gave me his window seat, which could cause identification difficulties in the event of a crash.

Tuesday, 1.45 am (CET) / Monday, 7.45 pm (ET)
Finally in the air, almost an hour late. In New York it was cloudy and hazy when we ran across the tarmac to get on our plane, and it even rained like a buckle. The flight is rough, a bit of a fair, I want to get rid of my chewing gum, but the ashtray hollows in the armrests are dummies. Willi Winkler comes back from the on-board toilet and reports that it was obviously not cleaned before departure. My digital camera is bothering and goes off all the time. I keep reading the Disney biography, Willi Winkler reads the New York Times.

Tuesday, 4.18 (CET) / Monday, 22.18 (ET)
Back in the air, again in a CRJ40 or CRJ50. I didn't even feel like looking out the window when I started. The stay in Cincinnati lasted less than half an hour. In the meantime, the German journalist group has also come together, it consists of five people in total. Angelika Brecht-Levy from a service magazine for travel agencies, Benjamin Cibach from Frau aktuell and Michael Pilz from der Welt have joined the team. I no longer want to write, no longer want to fly, just want to go to bed.

Tuesday, 7.42 (CET) / 1.42 (ET)
Finally in the room, after being on my feet for more than 26 hours. Christine Schmauss picked us up from the airport in Orlando and took us to the hotel. In the lobby she handed us the magnetic cards for the rooms, mine has the number 4023. I immediately went to the fourth floor, found the right door, tried to unlock it: In vain! So I haunted the long, dark and deserted corridors with my luggage, took the elevator back down, luckily met Christine Schmauss in the lobby and described my problem to her. Together we had to wait a few minutes at the reception, then help finally came and my magnetic card was reprogrammed. I said goodbye to Christine Schmauss again, ran to my room, but the card still didn't work, I went to Christine Schmauss' room and had her explain to me how to open the door. With the new knowledge I hurried back to my room, tried again - again in vain!
I was on my nerves, I screamed, I almost cried! Grief-stricken, I crept through the corridors with my luggage, drove into the lobby and again had to wait many long minutes until a hotel employee finally appeared to whom I could describe my problem. She then accompanied me upstairs, also tried in vain to open the door with my magnetic card, only succeeded with a special device. The reason for all the trouble: The battery in the lock is empty! I'm in the room now. Hang up shirts, brush your teeth, the craftsman was originally supposed to come tomorrow at 5 a.m. local time to change the battery in the door lock - at least I was able to postpone the appointment to 7 a.m. Well then good night!

Awake for an hour. Showered, shaved, unpacked, arrived. Apparently the handyman wasn't there yet. I slept well, despite the loud and blowing air conditioning, and I feel good in my luxurious 4-bed room apartment. Isn't it true that when all the other parking spaces in America are full, Homer Simpson always ends up in the empty WALT DISNEY WORLD parking lot? Yesterday I asked Christine Schmauss why it is actually called WALT DISNEY WORLD and not just (analogous to Disneyland) Disneyworld? Your answer: “Because this is Walt's dream?” Disneyland is just a country, but WALT DISNEY WORLD is a world. With Andreas Platthaus it is said that playing with his own name became an obsession for Disney at the end of his life and that he absolutely wanted to live with his first and last name. His brother Roy granted his wish posthumously in 1971, 5 years after his death, and named the park WALT DISNEY WORLD.
The air conditioning in the room is extremely annoying, I will probably have a cold tomorrow. In this room I can only access the Internet by analogue with a modem cable - since I don't have a call-by-call number, I have to find another solution. At least there is a coffee machine in the room, after the second cup I got used to the “Gourmet French Roast Coffee” from the bag. At 8:15 am we all meet in the lobby, then we drive out in the car for ten minutes to a breakfast press meeting. Before that, I want to iron on two shirts and pack my backpack.

We drove to the Typhoon Lagoon water park, after an endless single file we finally got to the fine, sweet European breakfast buffet: sausage, cheese, jam, bread, rolls, coffee, tea ... On the drive to the park, Christine Schmauss reported about a legendary water slide in the second Blizzard Beach Water Park: Summit Plummet, the fastest and highest in America, where you fall almost vertically and at 55 miles per hour (approx. 89 kilometers per hour), i.e. a distance of 25 meters per second. Wow, I want to go there! My question as to whether there is also a pinball hall and private apartments in WALT DISNEY WORLD is not answered.

Christine Schmauss explains the price structure of WALT DISNEY WORLD and the Magic-Your-Way premium ticket. Whether you stay five days or six, the difference is only three euros. For Christine Schmauss, WALT DISNEY WORLD is “a holiday distillation”.

In the media center in the MGM Studios, another of a total of four theme parks on the WALT DISNEY WORLD site, which with more than 111 square kilometers is almost the area of ​​San Francisco. The group has since been blown up, I drove to the press center with Christine Schmauss, Willi Winkler and the American, but very good German-speaking Disney employees Karin Fremgen and Shawn O’Harrs, while the other three stayed in Typhoon Lagoon.After an email to my loved one, I want to leave for Blizzard Beach. The Disney employees take care of us touchingly, but I would like to boot on my own and evade their guard ... er care. Mr. Winkler reads the review of the Cream concert on the Internet and groans.




The slide into nowhere ...

It's done: Summit Plummet, yeah! I took the transfer bus from the MGM Studios to Blizzard Beach, which was done in no time at all. Blizzard Beach is an artificial mountain landscape with plastic ice-covered glaciers and just under a dozen water slides. The most dangerous are called Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher. The weather is great, the sun is shining, it was a good decision not to stuff the iBook but the swimming trunks and a towel into the backpack today. Since I am not prepared to spend 7 dollars for a small locker, and even 9 dollars for a large one, I put my backpack including wallet, hotel key, digital camera and all tickets in the lounge area and covered it with a towel - that added to the tension . Barefoot and as the only man in the park in short swimming trunks - all the other men and boys here are wearing knee-length swimming shorts - I took the chairlift up to the ski jump and first tried out Slush Gusher, the second highest, especially on the last stretch, extremely steep slide with several Dips that total - huihuihui! - is much more exciting than expected. Then I take the lift up again, queue for about half an hour in front of Summit Plummet, a lot of terrible thoughts buzzing through my head, this queuing turns out to be the most blatant part of the trip. The actual slide and the thirty-meter-deep fall, in which a huge water fountain is fired, was not that bad to me. I would like to try the many other slides in the park, but I decide to return to the hotel and redeem one of my three lunch vouchers - after all, we have to meet again in the hotel lobby at 4:30 p.m.

Back in the room. The lunch was scary: I can only strongly advise against dish number 5 (half chickendinner). That's probably why the counter force looked so incredulous when I placed my order ... The dish is also expensive: 12 dollars and a few squashed dishes. I had to go without a salad and a drink because I couldn't organize a cup or plate for the mere mortal guests. It's embarrassing when you can't even think of the simplest words (plate, fork) - how do you describe a plate? My attempts to get online access also went wrong. But I discovered a room with a star pinball machine (Harley Davidson) - but instead of trying it out, I decided to just lie on my ear for half an hour.

Oversleep! A call from Christine Schmauss woke me up shortly before five. So straight into your clothes and off you go. We're going to Downtown Disney ... I'm as wrinkled as my shirt.

We attend the “La Nouba” performance by Cirque du Soleil and sit in the third row directly in front of the stage. It will start soon. Before that, I bought a Diet Coke and a Bonaqua, and it cost me $ 4 for fun.

The performance was really great and moving - I'm not at all a fan of circus performances, clowns and tricks. But the show made a big impression on me, especially the four little Asian women with their insane diabolo artistry. Angelika Brecht-Levy just found it “world class”! Now we're going to the House of Blues together ...

House of Blues, the place for partying, bottling and stuffing. On two floors there is a lavish warm buffet with meat, shrimp, vegetable and salad platters, as well as cocktails and caipirinhas and the live sound of a large blues band. It's loud and hectic, there are press men and women standing around everywhere, most of them come from the USA.

It can rain in WALT DISNEY WORLD too. I was able to free myself from the clutches of Christine Schmauss shortly after she introduced me to an English-speaking colleague - I crossed the street and am now in the entrance of DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, a 5-story slot machine casino. Since alcohol is forbidden inside DisneyQuest, I drop my second cocktail ex and hop off.

In the bus. DisneyQuest is absolutely amazing, even the elevator is computer animated. I rode a motorcycle, shot around, tried out the great Simpsons pinball machine, defended myself against attacks by Martians in a capsule and fought dragons and villains with a laser sword in a 3D virtual world. On four of five floors there were loads of old arcade machines and you could enjoy classics like Galaga, Donkey Kong, Defender and Lunar Lander. Games that could be played in pairs or in a group were Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlaster, a bumper car with cannons reminiscent of Robot Wars, the white water ride in the Virtual Jungle Cruise and CyberSpaceMountain, a roller coaster simulator on which you can ride your own computer-generated roller coaster could ... But my personal favorite game was called Pinball Slam, a competition in which you turned into a pinball ball and had to prevail against other balls controlled by humans. The pinball field could be seen on a large screen and each player, standing, controlled the course of the ball with the jerky use of their body. That actually looked quite harmless, but the game was more exciting and exhausting than expected: My heart is still racing ...
The House of Blues has now rocked out, the place is brightly lit like an operating table, desolate, deserted - only here and there a few figures clear up. Nothing is reminiscent of the heated atmosphere and the roaring hustle and bustle from before. I want to go to the hotel right now, hopefully I'll catch a bus quickly.


It's a small world!

He stands like a statue
becomes part of the machine ...

Back in the room. Freshly showered, shaved and moisturized: Apparently, in WALT DISNEY WORLD I develop a kind of compulsory wash. A huge transfer bus, empty except for the driver and one other guest, brought me back to the lodge, in the bar I met Christine Schmauss and Willi Winkler. You watched the show in the House of Blues until the end, the evening was great, and among those present there was also the male leading actor from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, enthused Christine Schmauss. The others in the group left earlier. I said goodbye, first drove to the fifth floor to find the media room, where supposedly drinks and a gift bag should be waiting for each of us. But I couldn't find the room or it was already closed. Fortunately, as a precaution, Willi Winkler had given me a bottle of mineral water earlier.
I am depressed and feel down. Perhaps it is because of longing, homesickness or the fact that I sent Torsten the incorrect satt.org newsletter text before I left, which he e-mailed today, as I found out earlier in the DisneyQuest at an Internet terminal. Maybe my heartbeat, which was caused by Pinball Slam, is also to blame ... Yes, maybe I'm just not made for WALT DISNEY WORLD? Before I went to my room, I asked a lady at the reception to wake me up tomorrow at 6:15 am: An hour later we will meet again in the lobby. I will now lie down and briefly flick through the fifty television channels.

I feel miserable! Fifteen minutes ago, thinking about yesterday's crab tubs, I threw up. I've been awake since 5:15 am, torturing myself - the fan blowing like crazy all night nearly drove me crazy, the wind in the room is force 5. I'm supposed to be in the lobby in 25 minutes, oh God! The weather is oppressive, muggy, uncomfortable, cold sweat on my forehead, it rained briefly earlier.

We took the bus for breakfast to the Grand Floridian, a feudal, Victorian-style white hotel that is said to be one of the best in WALT DISNEY WORLD. You can also get married at the Grand Floridian - at 7.30 p.m. Barkowski and Grimm will say yes here today, as I read in the entrance hall. There are about three weddings a day in WALT DISNEY WORD, Karin Fremgen said, the Japanese are crazy about them. I'm feeling a little better now, let's see what breakfast brings: I decided on the Confidential Breakfast. Before leaving the hotel, I picked up a couple of beverage cans and the bag with presents in the press room and took them to my room.

Breakfast consists of four sweet parts: a croissant, a muffin, a snail and something weirdly sticky. I was hoping for a breakfast with sausage and cheese and jam, a (European) continental breakfast, but that wasn't available, so I tried it. Well, at least I didn't get any scrambled eggs or bacon, then I would have to go straight back ... let's leave that. New to us is the Washington-based German journalist Colin Faltin from the Hamburger Abendblatt, the only America correspondent for a German local newspaper. Benjamin Cibach is sitting to my right. Michael Pilz sits to my left and we discuss the question of whether good columnists should be specialists or generalists.

Finally departure. Benjamin Cibach said that he wanted to look out for Disney T-shirts, which are currently in and cost around 250 euros in Germany. In the hotel lobby I see the first cartoon character walking around: the tiger from Winnie the Pooh, he owns a breakfast room with many little princesses - at first I mistook him for the Kelloggs Frosties tiger. As a child I thought that you would come across these figures at every step in the Disney parks, for whom I had a lot of respect due to their superhuman size - but far from it so far. Farewell to Christine Schmauss, who is flying back to Germany today. From now on, Karin Fremgen and Shawn O'Harrs will take care of us.

In the not yet open, mostly fully booked restaurant California Grill in the Contemporary Resort on the 14th or 15th floor (the last information according to American counting: the ground floor is considered the first floor). The view is fantastic. We went with the monorail, and the whole time I had to think of a quote from Andrew Goodwin from my master's thesis:
"As if you were traveling through the 50s again", with this saying Mickey Mouse praises the newest Disney attraction, Blast to the Past '. "Shake, Rattle and Roll back the Years", so the slogan, and further: "In Blast to the Past, the world of yesteryear becomes the world of today, day after day." The interesting thing about this commercial is that only teenagers come with it Mickey and Donald travel back in time. Nobody who could actually remember the 50s is in sight - except of course Mickey and Donald. The whole thing seems in no way nostalgic, but rather postmodern; a sign that once the future has begun, pop teleology will come to a standstill. Even visions of the future no longer promise any progress. Just as Disney's once futuristic 'monorail' looks like a yellowed copy of a science fiction penny booklet, so the rock bands in 'Tomorrow' with their glittering silver space suits and their electronic instruments look like a completely old-fashioned version of what Long ago it was thought to be the future of pop.
The Simpsons episode, in which the residents of Springfield first vote to buy a monorail and then have the ingenious "escalator to nowhere" built, also comes to mind. The fact that the idea of ​​the Transrapid still appears in the German news from time to time seems to me all the more astonishing.
In the monorail, real American visitors came to talk to us, the locals are really friendly and extremely outgoing and willing to provide information. And I've probably heard the phrase "You're welcome" from fifty Disney employees: hospitality like that of ancient kings! In total, WALT DISNEY WORLD has over 57,000 employees, I am curious to see how often I will hear the phrase.

It continues with the monorail. Karin Fremgen, Michael Pilz and I are sitting in the front of the driver's cab. My first career aspiration was a tram driver - if there had been a monorail network in Germany, I would not have studied. In the basement of the Contemporary Resort I found an arcade with some interesting pinball machines, but unfortunately I had no time to try them out. Karin Fremgen explains the difference between Disney Lakes and Disney Lagoons: Some are natural bodies of water, the latter were artificially created.

In the car. We drive to a tournament golf course with 5 by 18 holes. None of us want to get out. Instead, we want to stop by the media center before the upcoming press release in the MGM Studio. Karin Fremgen explained to us earlier that WALT DISNEY WORLD is a popular meeting place for large families spread all over the country: At the invitation of the often wealthy, now retired so-called BabyBoomers, three or four generations often come together in WALT DISNEY WORLD: During the women trawl through the parks with the children, the men play golf. At the breakfast table Benjamin Cibach scolded Düsseldorf, raved about Hamburg and now for the “Eurovision Song Contest”: In a few weeks he will be traveling to Kiev - like every year, he has been accredited for the festival. The atmosphere during the days is great, the rehearsals, the receptions, and you meet many friends again. Benjamin Cibach doesn't like Gracia, as a defense for Düsseldorf I had named Uerige, Füchschen, Schlüssel and Schumacher.


The Poppool ...
Before we go to the MGM Studios, we head for the Pop Century Resort, a hotel complex with 2,880 rooms and divided into pop decades (1950s to today). Yesterday Michael Pilz even found a "bridge that connects generations" there on his exploration tour. Get out, look at, get in, get away.

In the media center. I freshen up my drinks supplies, write an email to my loved one and bag freebies: a Rubik's cube, an SPF 30 sunblock spray, a Disney carpet underlay for the computer mouse, several large paper clips with Mickey Mouse and Cinderella lock motifs and a key ring from Disney's cruise line Cruise Line, whose tickets are no longer sold in Europe due to the huge American demand. Michael Pilz managed to call Germany free of charge from one of the telephones provided ... He explains to me the peculiarities of American telephone dialing abroad. I do not get it. Michael Pilz dictates the number to me: 9 for an office, then 011 to dial out from America, then 49 for Germany, then 30 for Berlin, finally the number of my loved ones ... Hurray, it works, thank you, Michael! Alexandra tells me on the phone that she used to work as a ticket seller for Cirque du Soleil, and I'm completely in love.

In the car. At half past one we witnessed a lavishly staged, but poor content press conference in a cool cinema hall on the MGM studio premises. Two moderators, two high-ranking Disney managers and a dance group opened the anniversary celebrations, listing the attractions of the other parks that can now be seen in WALT DISNEY WORLD and the advantages of the Magic Your Way ticket: A stay with four people and six nights only costs $ 1,500. Applause! All texts, even those of the managers, were read by the teleprompter installed behind the audience. We learned nothing about the theme park to open in Hong Kong in September. In the car, Karin Fremgen reports on the vacuum cleaner mentality of the Disney employees: Every employee in the park automatically feels the compulsion to pick up and dispose of garbage lying around. Willi Winkler had told me a similar story on the outbound flight: A Disney employee once told him that he had made bets with a colleague in Disney bars that night after work how many minutes of garbage they left lying around. The employee reported this with pride rather than jokingly.

Back in the room. Showered, shaved - underpants and shirts are slowly running out. The attempt to give a shirt and a sweat shirt to the laundry has failed - apparently it is not enough to put the filled and labeled laundry bag on the bed. After the press release we drove back to the hotel and dined at “The Mara”, unfortunately. Like yesterday, my meal was creepy today, and I had ordered a cheeseburger with french fries because I thought you couldn't go wrong with it ... You're wrong! Also, by accident and ineffectiveness, I bought a mug for twelve dollars, which I can fill up at any time on one of the hotel's beverage taps. This purchase is the result of poor English language skills and a lack of moral courage. My spending has now skyrocketed to just under thirty dollars! And at least two items - the unread New Yorker and the Mara top-up pot - worth a total of $ 17 were completely unnecessary. At least I got the fan over the bed to stop thanks to a tip from Angelika Brecht-Levy. Hopefully the last two nights will be more relaxing.

I have just unpacked my gift bag and I was really happy about the “LIGHTS, MOTORS, ACTION! EXTREME STUNT SHOW “wrist watch, which will definitely make my work on my travel diary easier, as my 1-euro digital watch in my trouser pocket is always unauthorized - it has now also done its job and is being thrown away. In the pretty bag with Disney motifs, which was unfortunately torn open on the side, there was also a huge, but well-packaged HoverDisc with a Soarin 'motif, 5 stand-up collectible “wobblers”, a flexible JoJo figure, a Gusher purse with snap hooks, a pack of 8 AA-8 batteries, an Orlando Grand Re-Opening 2005 Duplo building block, a CD with a ten and a half minute Disneyland music medley, one with "Brawny Paper Towels" and a lumberjack Motif printed white "Fruit Of The Loom" T-shirt, the PowerRangers figure Stakz and a large box with a heavy candy dispenser with a solid Cinderella key lock that I will give to my mother-in-law. In addition, a bag with Goofy lettering, filled with a lot of Mickey Mouse wine gum heads, very seductive, I'd like to give it to Alexandra - I have to pull myself together not to eat it beforehand. I won't take the 1-liter bottle of cola with lime, the “Mickey Pretzels” bag from the Chip & Dale Snack Company and the 20-piece Minnie & Daisy puzzle with me to Germany. I have to be in the lobby in eleven minutes.




With wheels underneath ...

We're on the stunt show for my new wristwatch, I'm sitting next to Willi Winkler on the covered grandstand, it's cold, umbrellas with Mickey Mouse motifs have been distributed at the entrance. The show, the main attraction of the Paris Disney Park, is lousy, black and red small cars roar through a French street backdrop: car ballet, whistle blow, the flair of Bad Segeberg. Supposedly we have just witnessed a feature film - it must be a continuation of the Fantomas series. In the background we see Mickey's gigantic magic hat and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, with which Willi Winkler made an unpleasant acquaintance yesterday. The Tower of Terror attraction is an elevator that goes up to the 13th floor, simply falls four floors down and finally opens the doors high up and tips forward ... Willi Winkler said that he only survived this ordeal because because he had taken off his glasses before the trip. At the beginning of the stunt show there was a small car parade with prominent vehicles and their drivers: Indiana Jones, the Power Rangers ... I was particularly impressed by Goofy in tails.The thought of tying the knot in a Disney park, married by a gigantic Mickey Mouse, has given me, as a genuine Donaldist, pleasant shivers for years. And now that I see him in person, handsome, elegant and in a black tailcoat, I can even imagine Goofy holding the wedding ceremony.


Willi Winkler's Tower of Terror

Come on, Frickie-Frickie!

Willi Winkler, Michael Pilz and I have left the others and have been waiting for a bus to the downtown shopping center for almost half an hour. We want to buy souvenirs, spend dollars - it's in our nature. After the stunt show we all strolled towards the “Epic Stunt Theater”, tasted the food on the way and were followed by strange and disguised beings: people who are not known whether they are being paid for or wanted for their deeds. Tight techno basses sounded, DJ Skribble played in a tent - Michael Pilz had finally found the place to which European techno has withdrawn. The bus station where we stand and wait is godforsaken, a man sent us to platform 5, a woman with a radio to the other side ... Nobody there, a feeling of emptiness spreads in us - we become the first homeless of WALT DISNEY WORLD?

In the sprint we reach a bus on the opposite side of the train station that is supposed to take us to another bus that supposedly goes to Downtown Disney. About time, we were already making plans to stage an accident, to lie on the street, and in this way to stop and hijack a bus.

Downtown Disney. Get out of the two-story Virgin Store. The comics department is tiny, but well sorted. I thought about which comics to buy for a long time, in the end I decided on the "American Splendor" collector's volume ($ 16.95) and as a souvenir for Torsten the volume "24 Hour Comics" published by Scott McCloud ($ 11.95 ) with comics by Neil Gaiman, Steve Bissette and others - Torsten has wanted him for a long time. With a heavy heart I have to forego the monster editions "Palomar" by Gilbert Hernandez, "Locas" by Jaime Hernandez and the wonderful hardcover "Louis Riel" by Chester Brown ... Guy Peellaert once called comics the "cinema of the poor".
Willi Winkler scoured the special offers in the basement, MichaelPilz was lost for a long time, but then reappeared from the depths of the store and also bought one or two goods [at this point my notes are illegible]. When I paid, the cashier spoke to me and said that she had seen the American Splendor movie in the cinema and liked it very much. I replied: I hope the comic book is much better. A correct, but completely nonsensical sentence, since I also liked the film very much and rather hoped that the comic was as good as the film adaptation - again, I could not formulate that in a hurry. The cashier didn't know whether I could pay with my Maestro card, she said I should just try. Since the queue in my back was quite long, I decided not to try and paid cash.

Michael Pilz, Willi Winkler and I are tired. We sit in a full and pitch black bus and drive back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I'm excited about my new comic bookings. A suitcase strap, which Angelika Brecht-Levi asked for because her suitcase was once again badly damaged on the outward journey, could not be found in Disneytown with the best will in the world.

Showered and happy in the hotel room. The day was exhausting, but beautiful, despite the rain, the unnecessary press conference and the lame car show. Now I'm going to lie down, tomorrow morning we'll meet in the lobby at 7.30 a.m. I am very happy because then it goes out to the “classic” Magic Kingdom Park. I've already inserted the PhotoPass card - with it you can have your photos taken by the photographers in the park, look at the pictures later on the Internet, select them and have them sent to you as a printout ... for money, of course. I really want to have a photo taken with me and Micky, Donald or another prominent Duckburg. To get you to sleep, I'll read a little more in the Disney biography.

Dressed up and almost well rested - thanks to Angelika Brecht-Levy! Despite the exciting reading, I put the book down shortly after midnight and slept through the night until just before seven.

In the lobby: Alone! I think of Torsten and Frank, with whom I would actually have gone to Mainz to the mini press fair today, and of Alexandra, who will be giving a lecture on that day in Poznan about the reception of Nietzsche in the Berlin and Vienna avant-garde. I will continue to be on the lookout for a souvenir for Alexandra, but the goods on sale so far have been too expensive or too tasteless - mostly even both.

Michael Pilz came to me and told me about "Free Comic Book Day" next Saturday, a nationwide initiative in America that aims to move children away from television and computer screens and towards comic books, as he read earlier in USA Today ... What would Frederic Wertham think about it? We wonder why our colleagues are not there yet - as a precaution Michael Pilz wants to take a look up in the press room.

Michael Pilz and I have breakfast at Maras, the buffet is good: pancakes, croissants, scrambled eggs, fruit, jam ... Colleagues slowly arrive - we were supposed to have been informed of the later time of the meeting via the answering machine on the room telephone system. Michael Pilz talks about life in Berlin-Friedrichshagen, the rivalry between long-established East Germans and newcomers from West Germany, his passion for Union Berlin and his previous football career: he had seen Matthias Sammer, Thomas Linke and Andreas Thom play in training camps as young people . Then we talk about the ex-Gladbachers Lothar Matthäus and Stefan Effenberg, whose autobiography I have read: Dieter Bohlens and Katja Kessler's “Nothing but Truth”, on the other hand, was a magic mountain.

In the car towards the Magic Kingdom, which is supposed to be based on Disneyland in Anaheim, the first theme park in California: A large main street with Cinderella Castle, walking cartoon characters and a plush parade, yeah! In the lobby, Cornel Faltin reported that the HoverDisc in my present bag could fly nearly two hundred meters when filled with helium. When we overtake a car whose driver is leaning his arm out of the open window, Willi Winkler says that when he saw such a sight, his son once asked whether only men with hairy arms were allowed to be truck drivers.

Supplied with coffee and a new can of Diet Coke, we stand in the locked press area in front of the Magic Kingdom castle and wait for the start of the Cinderallabration, the musical attraction from Disneyland in Japan. The sky is cloudy, hopefully it will stay dry. Luckily the weather was great on my free afternoon on Tuesday at least, so I could spend a few sunny hours at Blizzard Beach. The Cinderella Castle, which is supposed to be a replica of Neuschwanstein, reminds me of the Playmobilburg, which I never owned.

Bells ring, the show begins, colorful prince and princess legs are swung. I see Snow White incarnate, one of my first petting fantasies. It looked better drawn, however.


I remembered her differently ...

We are all in the same boat ...

Downpour, demolition, escape. Otherwise the wet and slippery surface could be dangerous for the dancers. Karin Fremgen and Shawn O’Harrs direct us towards Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a 3D film showing with the use of wind, water and scents, was extremely touching, as was the lovingly animated "Peter Pan’s Flight" performance that we attended afterwards. Thanks to the FastPass card, which shortens the waiting time and enables the owners to spend them elsewhere rather than queuing, we were able to take part in a number of different rides and demonstrations in a short time - this of course also included the obligatory one in every Disney park “It's a small world” gondola tour offered: the materialized nightmare of every critic of globalization.
Then the group broke up for a short time and Willi Winkler and I strolled through the park together, talked about Hamburg, Munich, the time, Merkur, the South Germans and having children, we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of self-employed writing, the disruptive one Power of political views on long-term friends and acquaintances and drove together with the "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad", a relatively harmless western rollercoaster. My attempt to take a picture of myself with a cartoon character unfortunately failed. On our tour through the Magic Kingdom I saw A and B croissants posing together with children, but when I approached them beaming with joy, they waved from afar and said goodbye for their lunch break. Shortly afterwards, Willi Winkler showed me another character strolling around, unknown to me, as a consolation - but it is beneath my dignity to be photographed with any semi-prominent beings. The density of strolling plush characters here in the Magic Kingdom is disappointing.
At 1 p.m. we went back to the locked press area in front of the Cinderella Castle, in the crowd I spotted Donald Duck with a huge buttock, as if designed by Robert Crumb. Golden Mickey Mouse caps are handed to us at the entrance - I had to promise Willi Winkler not to photograph him with the headdress and I keep my word. The show, which will be broadcast live on California television, begins. At the end of the music performance we should all throw our golden hats in the air at the same time on command. Of course we will obey.

We eat as a group in a Chinese fast food shop in the Magic Kingdom: the meal is okay, at least plenty of it.We have agreed to visit Animal Kingdom Park, the largest and newest of the four Disney theme parks, next. In my fortune cookie I find a message: Present your best ideas today to an eager and welcoming audience. Lucky Numbers 10, 13, 11, 19, 28, 35. Eager? Apparently the lucky numbers are weighted differently from one another, since the natural sequence should actually be 10, 11, 13 and so on.




Reagan instead of sun ...

On the way to the bus we are surprised by a downpour. We're stuck between the Galaxy Palace Theater and the Merchant of Venus.

In Shawn O’Harrs ’car in the direction of the Animal Kingdom, the park with the lowest number of visitors, which struggles with the prejudice that it is just an animal park: The American TV advertisement therefore advertises with the slogan" It's not a zoo ". Our afternoon hotel stay will probably be canceled today. Let's see when and in what condition I get home in the evening or at night - I will probably need over an hour to pack, and tomorrow morning I will go straight to the airport after breakfast.

Roll tires. The Animal Kingdom, the park to our hotel, is the land of rolling locomotion. Everything has wheels underneath, and we have to navigate through crowds of oncoming wheelchairs and prams. First we take part in the Kilimanjaro Safari, a tour with the open jeep through an artificial savannah. We are also given the task of driving away poachers. Meanwhile there are really many real animals to see: elephants, gorillas, hippos, giraffes, lions ... even one that Willi Winkler has never seen. A rhinoceros crosses our path less than three meters away, as if it were being paid for. So far, I had only spotted a few birds on the hotel premises - but I tend to look out for pinball machines rather than animals.

Eh! Benjamin Cibach is buying a Minnie Mouse figure in a souvenir shop! Allegedly for his boss. We had previously seen a screening of the very beautiful 3D animation film "It's Tough to be a Bug".




Soon a roller coaster ...

In the car it goes back to the hotel. In the DinoLand presented by McDonald’s, we let ourselves be shaken and shaken in the dinosaur simulator: silly. As we walked through the park, Shawn O’Harrs led us to a huge roller coaster still under construction that winds around a full-scale replica of Mount Everest. In the future, the Yeti will appear at one point, tear the rails apart - the roller coaster ride will then continue backwards. Shawn O’Harrs says that there is a long book with rules of conduct and instructions for the Disney employees. For example, it is forbidden for employees to wear beards (although Walt Disney himself wore a mustache), and they are also not allowed to have any visible tattoos. But times are changing, and I can well imagine that in a few years' time, visible tattoos will even be mandatory for employees.

At a quarter to six we arrived at the hotel, at 6:20 am we went on: to Epcot, the fourth and last theme park still unknown to us. Up to the room, transferring pictures to the iBook, going to the toilet. No time to write.

At the Epcot Center. Red and white wine was served at the entrance. Willi Winkler and Benjamin Cibach opted for the white drop: a mistake! After just 5 meters, Willi Winkler has put his almost full cup back down. Epcot was planned as a model city, says Shawn O’Harrs, here scientists from all countries should work together on new projects, and the future technologies should be exhibited directly in Epcot. However, the project failed, among other things, because of the strict immigration regulations in the USA. We're standing in front of an open-air stage in the crowd, I'm puffed up, my red wine goblet is empty, nowhere can I see a refill, Angelika Brecht-Levy is already very tingly. The show begins.


Mickey Mouse in a donor mood ...

2 ears and the golden knights ...

Great ate and great slide. The show began with two huge, white veiled balls rising up on the stage, which together with the golf ball-like Epcot center formed the stylized Mickey Mouse logo. A woman played it and in the sky, parachutists from the US Army Team "The Golden Knights" jumped out of the plane and lit colorful plumes of smoke. At the end a white balloon pillar rose and a white dove made a short lap. Now the cozy part of the evening began, but instead of enjoying the evening and the alcoholic drinks outside, we all stood in the soarin queue. The beautiful, windy, but very short kite flight simulation Soarin, which is one of the main attractions of the Disney Park in California, taught the former skydiver Michael Pilz to be afraid - he has been afraid of heights for several years. Then we stormed outside and stocked up with beer, salads and delicious steaks. A live band played music that is usually played in the bar, where Ally McBeal always met her colleagues at the end of an episode.




all3: Willi Winkler, Michael Pilz and me
© Disney


Willi Winker and Michael Pilz talk about personal details, the rest of the group is sitting in my back 30 meters away from us. We stand around a table under the monorail route to protect us from the rain that has just stopped. The rain capes, of which I now also own one, are cut extremely generously - they flatter even the fattest American. The music of the Barenaked Ladies gets worse from song to song. In the meantime I've had 3 beers and one wine.

After the rain I watch a Disney employee walking from one garbage can to the next and pulling the lid off with a dry mop to remove raindrops ... If you are still looking for ideas for 1 euro jobs - here in WALT DISNEY WORLD you can you find. Willi Winkler and I agree that we have just heard the most callous No Woman No Cry version in the world. Hadn't Michael Pilz said in the car that the Barenaked Ladies were a good band?

TV talks. I admit that I watch Big Brother regularly. However, I hope that my stay in America will free me from my BB addiction. I also declare that I thoroughly enjoyed the Band of Brothers series that I saw on DVD at the time. I enjoy the final fireworks in silence, apparently I'm drunk.

Back in the room and dead tired. On the way back I explained to WilliWinkler that I was astonished that one of my favorite writers, Jochen Schimmang, would publish his next book in the autumn in the small, newly founded Cologne publishing house Tisch7, and that another of my favorite writers, Rainald Goetz, received a working grant from the German Literature Fund for a Novel project received. Tomorrow at 8 a.m. we will meet for breakfast and at 9 a.m. we will leave the hotel. That means I can still pack now. Yippie!

Brushed teeth and packed the suitcase almost ready: The contents of the cosmetic bag, the rucksack items and the gift bag are still missing. I'm tired, I want to read a few more pages in the Harvey Pekar comic book, I set the alarm clock for a quarter past 7.

Awake. And I even feel reasonably fit. The coffee machine is roaring.

Back from the sweet short breakfast with a stained shirt. You may not bring fresh food into America, but you can hopefully export it. In half an hour we'll meet down in the lobby, until then I have to hurry to pack my suitcase and rucksack.


Drums call hoarsely into the night
until the Woo-Doo god wakes up ...
Everything stowed away. Alexandra's suitcase really offers a lot of space. I am taking my dead batteries back to Europe - I do not think that they will be properly disposed of in a country that has not signed up to the Kyoto agreement. I tip four dollars on the bed - one dollar a day, I hope that's appropriate. One last look back at my great room with two double beds, two sinks, and a great shower - almost all rooms in the Disney hotels are designed for four people. I will probably never live so luxuriously in my life.

Alone in the lobby. Has the departure time changed? I had asked extra at the breakfast table.

One after the other, Shawn O'Harrs and Karin Fremgen arrive. Where are the others? Do you like it here so much that they hide?

At the Orlando airport after a short drive and pop conversation with Michael Pilz. I have a suitcase, a backpack and the bag with the candy dispenser with me. Fortunately, we are flying directly to New York today, where we can then connect to the LTU plane to Düsseldorf. Shortly before 8 a.m. after Central European Time, we arrive in the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital. The farewell to Karin Fremgen and Shawn O’Harrs is warm, the two of them took great care of us during the days: intensely but unobtrusively.

Still in the DELTA queue. I leaf through Iris Hanika's “Music for Airports” for a moment, but I'm not in the mood to read it. Michael Pilz and Willi Winkler are curious and want to see the author's portrait. I'll show you.

From one line to the next.

Finally after all the security checks (take off your shoes, take your camera and iBook out of your backpack) in the boarding zone. We're flying with Alitalia - my uncle will be happy about that. At the entrance to the boarding zone, half a liter of Diet Coke was given to each of us: the rescue!

On the plane to New York. Willi Winkler and I sit next to each other in the first row on the plane (B 757), Willi Winkler can look at my screen, which of course makes working on the diary more difficult. Behind us sit BenjaminCibach and Michael Pilz, to whom I loaned the Platthaus book. I show and explain Willi Winkler using the offline version satt.org, we talked earlier about Peter Rühmkorf and Robert Crumb.

Willi Winkler is sleeping, I sort my vacation photos in iPhoto. The quality of the pictures is not good, I am annoyed with my cheap digital camera.

The time flew by. The approach to New York begins, all photos are sorted, most of which I have thrown away.

We can finally receive our suitcases.Mine now weighs 19.8 kilograms, which is 5 kilograms more than on the outbound flight. Willi Winkler and I helped a traveler get a luggage cart, but we tried to detach it from the holder at the wrong end. RENT AT THAT END! I see. I will never forget this sentence in my life. RENT AT THAT END! Words for the deathbed ...

I stroll through the airport building and eat a quarter pounder with cheese at McDonald’s for $ 3 59 in no time at all. Compared to the European Hamburger Royal TS, the tomato is unfortunately missing, but the burger is still good.

Still hungry. I order a cheeseburger. Michael Pilz orders a quarter pounder with cheese, Willi Winkler the Big Mac Meal (Extra Value). Instead of the McDonald’s stand, we position ourselves next door at the sbarro stand: Pay Scottish and eat Italian. Willi Winkler gives his fries up for looting - I like to grab them several times.

In the waiting room. Our plane takes off at 5:45 pm.

Willi Winkler and I watched Young Krauts on my iBook together, the 12-minute film for the book “The Young People of Today” by Joachim Lottmann, shot by Severin Schmidt, who is the novel model for the nephew Elias. Willi Winkler knows the maker and main actor of the film, his mother comes from the Rainer Langhans environment. For safety reasons, a lady is not allowed to take photos from the airport panorama window. Willi Winkler lends me his adapter so that I can charge my iBook from an electrical outlet. My adapter is in my suitcase somewhere.

The plane that is supposed to take us to Good Old Europe pulls up and is refueled. Just an hour to go.

Michael Pilz gives me back the Platthaus book, which he has read through except for one chapter. I pack my iBook, on the plane I want to read the Disney biography and not continue working on the diary. We should actually go on board at 5.30 p.m.

The plane leaves with us on time. When I started, I got the Friday edition of the FAZ, a Max magazine and the TV feature film (for home). Michael Pilz is sitting in a row in front of me, reading Bild and advising me that the Bild newspaper will soon be setting up a comic library. The machine is hardly occupied, only 60 of almost 320 places. I have a row of seats to myself, look out the window and am the master of three storage areas. Another 6,022 kilometers to Düsseldorf.

Friday, 7 p.m. (ET) / Saturday, 1 a.m. (CET)
Max read through and checked the comic edition: the topics are good, but the reports are extremely superficial. As an aperitif, I get a gin and tonic and a cola light from the air attendant Heber. I am tired and feel limp.

Friday, 7.30pm (ET) / Saturday, 1.30am (CET)
The food is distributed, there were two meals to choose from. I chose the cordon bleu, Michael Pilz chose pasta. In the meantime I have finished off two well-mixed gin and tonics and am pissed off. I exchanged business cards with Michael Pilz.

Friday, 7.45pm (ET) / Saturday, 1.45am (CET)
The cordon bleu tasted great, but the potatoes were sticky. Willi Winkler flits past, explains that he thinks the USA Today film reviews are better than the New York Times, and disappears into the aircraft toilet. Coffee is served, in the FAZ feature pages I first read the poem by Lyrik.Log-editor Ron Winkler: "We bathed in the tense of diving / until the cities lost their effect". I feel - no: I am in heaven.

Friday, 20.20 (ET) / Saturday, 2.20 (CET)
Discussion with Michael Pilz about Tim Renner on the occasion of the music industry article by Edo Reents in the FAZ.

Friday, 8.45pm (ET) / Saturday, 2.45pm (CET)
Michael Pilz has snuggled into a blanket with his iPod and is slumbering, Willi Winkler is stretched out on four seats in the center aisle and is sleeping, Benjamin Cibach is studying a magazine, Angelika Brecht-Levy is stepping out of the toilet, a romantic action comedy with Pierce is running silently on on-board television Brosnan, I read on in the FAZ feature pages, the lights are switched off, the starry sky.

Friday, 23.45 (ET) / Saturday, 5.45 (CET)
Light on. I tried to sleep with bent legs like a toy crane on two seats, padded with 2 blankets and 3 pillows, for a while it went well. Sweat towels are distributed, followed by breakfast trays with coffee, orange juice and Diet Coke.

Saturday, 0.15 (ET) /6.15 (CET)
The on-board television is now showing a film with Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon. Too tired to read, too awake to dream. Michael Pilz has been standing in wait in front of the on-board toilet for 6 minutes, waiting for it to be free. Now it is time. I'm happy too, Michael Pilz disappears.

Saturday, 0.43 (ET) /6.43 (CET)
Read 40 pages in Iris Hanika's new book: very poetic, very infatuated. The travel altitude is abandoned, according to the plan we should land in Düsseldorf at 7 a.m., we will never make it. Hopefully I'll get to the train at 8 o'clock - otherwise I'll have to wait an hour.

Saturday, 1.38 (ET) /7.38 (CET)
A hasty farewell to Angelika Brecht-Levy and Michael Pilz, who have to make their connecting flights, and to Benjamin Cibach, who remains in Düsseldorf. Only Willi Winkler and I have to travel on by train. I've been waiting for my suitcase to be handed over for a quarter of an hour - time is of the essence.

Saturday, 4.40 (ET) / 10.40 (CET)
Despite the tedious baggage claim, Willi Winkler and I reached the slightly delayed ICE 845 at 8 a.m., the journey to Hanover passed in no time at all. Willi Winkler talked about his interview visits to Jörg Schröder and Peter Handke, whose works I admire very much, he shows me incredible passages from an interview with Rainer Barzel on his laptop, Willi Winkler raved about WolfgangWelt, the best, hitherto unknown writer in Bochum, we both from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Satansbraten. At the end, Willi Winkler talked about his new book project, which has been overdue for many months and for which he has read an estimated 500 books: A story of the RAF that explains the movement from the cultural field of the 1950s and 1960s in West Germany. Willi Winkler's world is even more fascinating than Disney's, I'll miss him. We reached the main train station in Hanover punctually at 10:28 am, so that Willi Winkler would have to comfortably catch his connecting train to Hamburg. According to the plan, my train will arrive at Berlin's Ostbahnhof at 12:17 p.m., then it's not far.

Saturday, 5.38 (ET) /11.38 (CET)
In Wolfsburg, a man and a girl have sat down at my table, I'm watching the comic book adaptation of Constantine on my iBook.

Saturday, August 6th (ET) / August 12th (CET)
The train arrives in Berlin, I'm dead tired, 7 more stops on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn, then I'm home. Alexandra is with her mother and only comes home in the afternoon.

Saturday, 6.47 (ET) / 12.47 (CET)
Home.


Epilogue from June 2, 2005

I've been back in Berlin for 26 days, and I was able to postpone the deadline for my FAZ article to the beginning of June, which gave me time to copy my diary entries and decorate them here and there. In the USA I spent a total of 77 dollars 88 cents, I exchanged 100 dollars, my Berlin savings bank account was debited with 81 euros 88 cents, which means:
100 dollars = 81.88 euros
1 dollar = 0.8188 euros
$ 77.88 = EUR 63.77.
So I left 63 euros 77 cents in America, an average of 12 euros 75 per day. That is not much. I only need money for the phone and merchandise ... Christine Schmauss ’sentence flickers in front of my eyes. By the way, making a phone call in WALT DISNEY WORLD is quite expensive: On the night of our arrival in Orlando, Willi Winkler made a short call to Germany from his room and was supposed to pay a whopping 22 dollars 89 for the one minute ...
In the meantime I have got hold of the antiquarian novel “Peggy Sue” (1986) by Wolfgang Welt, read it and found it to be very good - reminiscent of Jörg Fauser's “Rohstoff”, I will probably also get Wolfgang Welt's second novel DerTick (1999).
The weather in Orlando was bad most of the time - that's why Frank, Torsten and I now each own a Disney umbrella. My suitcase was slightly damaged on the return flight, as I later found out, but the manufacturer is not liable in this case, but the airline, to which you have to report the incident immediately - so next time. (Frank told me the other day the story of a classmate who always checked in two suitcases on his air travel, one full and one empty, then put the full one in the empty one after it was handed out, then reported the other one as missing, of course also a detailed list of the ones in the Carrying items in his suitcase with him, and partially financed his travels with the compensation.) In addition, for inexplicable reasons, my beautiful white shirt, which I am wearing on the first photo on this page, got lost, crazy! To get over the loss I had to buy three new white shirts at C&A and H&M last week.
Have I already written that our hotel was the darkest that I have ever entered? Even if you turned on all the lamps in the room - the darkness could not be driven away ... I also found the fact that the elevators were always there immediately, remarkable, the elevator door usually opened while the request button was pressed. What I found disappointing, however, was the fact that the Photo Pass photographers in the parks obviously do not understand much of their profession.
Angelika Brecht-Levy and Willi Winkler later complained about the excruciatingly long journey by email, here Willi Winkler's email in the original wording:

From: Willi Winkler
Sent: Sunday May 8, 2005 4:45 AM
Subject: LTU flights
Dear Ms. Schmauss,
Dear Mr. de la Motte,
There are good reasons to be grateful for gifts and not grumble afterwards, but for the documents I would like to express my skepticism about planning the trip to Orlando. As I have to admit, it didn't surprise me when we were relegated to the back seats in New York and no longer wanted to hear about the comfort-first pampering aria of the outward flight. That's how it works, says Franz Beckenbauer in such cases.What I don't understand, however, is the following: Why are we taking us from Düsseldorf via Cincinnati to Orlando, why are we flying back via New York if the destination of our trip was only Orlando from the start and LTU has been flying there directly for years? Why did we - with a crowded trip of three days stay - take on at least an extra 12 hours when, as soon as the headlights of the maiden flight to New York were switched off, you only look at us like annoying guests who miss the right time to leave to have? For this unnecessary hardship, the Dixieland Chapel at Düseldorfer Airport was a modest compensation.
With best regards
Willi Winkler


Pierre da la Motte stated in his reply that the LTU only served Orlando on Wednesdays and that further travel planning was in the hands of Disney. I have no answer from Christine Schmauss.