I considered many titles for this article.
The typically punny things, naturally – things like “Why We Deride” and things like that. But I think it’s important to underline the fact that this is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen at Walt Disney World. That might be quite the buildup, as I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but this one left me standing in the street, mouth agape, and laughing maniacally. It’s just so strange.
It’s well documented that I have a bone to pick with the Studios Formerly Known As Disney-MGM. Not only is it generally bursting to the seams with fail…
…But among all the Florida parks it has fallen furthest from its potential for greatness (Yes, yes, I know current Future World might qualify for that dubious honor, but at least it used to be brilliant and EPCOT still has Showcase). I’ve always been enthralled by the classic era of Hollywood filmmaking, as well as the iconic look of that period’s architecture and design. Studios should be a slam dunk, with such rich material to draw on; it also gives designers leeway to explore themes and periods that are absorbing but wouldn’t fit in a Kingdom-class park. The western frontier and tropical jungle were dangerous places that Disneyland distilled and made safe and accessible; to modern audiences the mean streets of Los Angeles and New York City might seem equally threatening but they’re just as full of rich iconography and deeply-ingrained lore to exploit in a theme park environment. Studio whiffs on that potential and lacks a clear vision or purpose.
But that’s all beside the point. While my subject here might possibly be used to illustrate the unfocused and sub-par aspects of the Studios, it’s just so incredibly bizarre and random that it transcends lack of theming (or veneer-thin theming) and poor spatial layout. It’s so absurdist it almost becomes art in and of itself; there’s simply no reason why this existed. The fact that it did exist means that somewhere there’s a story that I desperately want to know.
A warning – these pictures are about a year old. This probably isn’t there anymore. It’s taken me this long to come to terms with the fact that I did not hallucinate this.
So, say you’re meandering around Studios. You’re wandering around enjoying the lavish theming and scenic vistas:
You turn onto the New York Street. Hey, theming. This looks promising.
You turn to the right. “Hey, that looks interesting,” you say. Is this an attraction, a store? A DVC kiosk? No, these are all false fronts. Nothing to do. But… what’s in the window of this jewelry store?
There, in the window of this jewelry store, is A TREE MADE OUT OF ROLLS OF TOILET PAPER.
That’s right, a tree made of rolls of Angel Soft toilet paper. In a sylvan glen, as depicted by a giant flat picture of a forest. Fake colored leaves lined the ground around the tree. Please note my favorite detail: the single sheets of toilet paper, suspended by fishing line, that depict the “leaves” falling from the magical toilet paper tree. TOILET PAPER LEAVES HANGING FROM FISHING LINE, PEOPLE. Hanging rather limply, too, I must add. Presentation, people!
I won’t even point out the irony of 1971 Disney creating a magical Orange Tree and 2010 Disney creating a magical toilet paper tree. OK, maybe I will point that out. Is there a Little Toilet Bird? Merchandising potential, people.
Seriously. I know I’m overdoing this. But it’s a tree made of rolls of toilet paper. In the window of the jewelry store. On New York Street. And it has little flying single-ply leaves! Could they not spare more than a square?
A closer look:
This is a thing that happened. I will seriously never get tired of thinking about this. Look how elaborate it is! I think why I’m so amazed by this is that someone didn’t put some product in a window – they went to all the trouble to rig this up. And to what end?? I picture a couple of cast members toiling all night, delicately hanging the little plys of toilet paper, making sure everything is just right… And all so there can be a toilet paper tree in the window of the jewelry store.
Look at the little rolled up squares on the forest floor!! Arranged in little rays emanating from the tree!! Why does this exist?
So there it is. The strangest thing I’ve ever seen at Walt Disney World. I’ve seen some weird things at WDW; Food Rocks, Liza Minelli, C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. But a tree made of rolls of toilet paper? That’s amazing.