I swear, I had a dream about this last night and I had to write about it.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation, 2067
By: Louis O’Dowd Garcia-Wellington
Instead of going to the space station for Gravity Camp like all my friends, I had to work. At first, I was bitter and resentful toward my parents, who are always trying to teach me self-reliance any way they can. Then, they told me I would have to work the Time Travel Visitors Week at Disney World. They pay is pretty good, there are a lot of pretty girls that work there and the entire job also counts as a history credit.
About eight years ago, after scientists at Stanford perfected time travel, Americans went crazy for it. The rules were simple; visit anywhere for a day and you could only watch and enjoy. No interference or passing on of lottery numbers. Nothing that would affect the fabric of time. Travelers were monitored, and after a few hiccups (as you know, the Statue of liberty is still nude) we went back and forth in time in droves.
Like with most miraculous achievements in technology, we got bored. Travels dwindled. Americans looked ahead again to the first flying car, which has still not been invented.
A year ago, one of the original researchers at Stanford went on an undocumented trip. He told no one about his experiment. He came back an older man only moments after he first disappeared. He told his story to his colleagues; he had been traveling through time confronting historical figures.
As this was outlawed, his colleagues were furious. They demanded a reason. They demanded to know what he was up to. The researcher told them he informed these pivotal people in history about the future. He shared as many details about the modern world as he could. He also asked them if they would like to travel back to 2066 or so and see the world he came from. Almost all of them said yes.
But the strange part about all of this? When asked where they wanted to go, they all answered: “Disney World”.
Which brings me to my job.
July 10 -16 , 2067. Time Travel Visitor’s Week. A few thousand park attendants at the Magic Kingdom, closed to the public, a few hundred photographers and cameramen, and people from all walks of life and time periods meandering around the happiest place on Earth wondering where the bathrooms were.
I was a guide. I’ve been to Disney a few times, and I know the nooks and crannies of the park pretty well. The gateway was set up at the front of the park, just under the train station. Sunday morning, we awaited the researchers. They would escort each person through the time portal smack dab into the smell of popcorn, roasted peanuts, and the view of a giant fake castle.
First though the gateway? Teddy Roosevelt. He was definitely from his Rough Riders period; the tailored uniform was a giveaway. I was a little underwhelmed. Not because of his significance, but that he himself seemed underwhelmed. However, after about thirty seconds of scanning the welcoming committee (and their Disney info iPads), he shrieked with joy. A cute blonde girl from Georgia took him up to the train. After that, they were pouring through the gate. Presidents, authors, scientists, musicians…it was insane. For some reason, Da Vinci stepped out, paused, and stepped right back through the gate. We never saw him again.
I got Medger Evers, Henry VIII and Abigail Adams on my first day. (John Adams also wasn’t into it.) It really wasn’t much of a job, to be truthful. Once they got a hang of everything, it was like a surreal family reunion. These people usually admired each other, and while standing in line to get on the Jungle Cruise, you’d have a quartet of writers chatting about God-knows-what and holding up the line. Hemingway just jumped into the water, he almost broke his neck.
I saw Pierre and Marie Curie eating turkey legs in Frontierland. I saw Gene Krupa and Jimi Hendrix at ‘It’s A Small World’. All of the musicians broke off into little groups. They usually weren’t big on the rides; they just wandered around eating ice cream and caramel corn. Van Gogh just laughed at everything. The idea of a fake mountain with a fake train running through it was the craziest thing he could imagine.
They closed the Hall of Presidents after George Washington complained. The story was that he wasn’t a fan of the portraits. The line for the Raceway bumper cars was packed all day. Somehow cars with lawnmower engines were more impressive than anything else.
Here’s what made it worth it. This is the sight you wish you could see, and I actually saw it. Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln on the Tea Cups. You know, the cups that spin around and make you sick? These guys were giggling like nine-year-olds. They went three times in a row. Thomas Jefferson wanted in, but Lincoln’s legs were too long.
MLK eating cotton candy. Lincoln in line with Winston Churchill and Picasso at the Haunted Mansion. Stupid. Insane. Wonderful.
After seven straight days of madness there was only one unpleasant incident. (If it ever comes up, don’t invite both of the Wright Brothers anywhere. Just one or the other.) I was paid well, and I got a few numbers. Two girls from Georgia, one from California, and some detailed help from Albert Einstein on my AP Physics summer assignment.
That’s all I did.