I've been to Disneyland quite a few times in my day and I've been on most of the rides more than a few times each. Everyone who's been there more than once has probably been on the ride "It's a Small World" and has afterwards had that silly song stuck in your head for the next decade.
Well, visitors for the next 10 months or so won't be able to have that pleasure. The ride, which has remained virtually unchanged since it's construction in 1964, has been closed for renovation. Not because it needs to be hipper or cooler. It needs a massive overhaul because overweight and obese Americans have killed it. When the ride was originally installed the flume and boats were built to accommodate average-sized Americans and in the intervening 40+ years, the average-sized American has ballooned in weight, causing the boats to bottom out and stop the entire works until Disney employees can help the overweight offenders off the boats and out the emergency exits. The boats and the ride have been in faithful service with no changes until now and America's expanding waistline is the culprit. (It's reported that the drop in Pirates of the Caribbean has the same problem, but it's not as frequent as the Small World stoppages and I could find no evidence of that ride being further revamped any time soon.)
This is just one example of how America is being forced to change under the buckling knees of the Obesity epidemic we find ourselves in the midst of.
Killer at Large is the name of the film we've spent the last year putting together to show you and the rest of America exactly why it is we're getting so darn fat. We've been able to get interviews with experts in every field of this epidemic to illustrate the causes, effects and possible solution to this problem. From bestselling authors like Michael Pollan (The Omnivores Dillemma) to consumer advocates like Ralph Nader, we've been able to truly go in depth and examine the issue. Even former Surgeon General Richard Carmona chimes in to explain that, "...obesity is a terror within. It is destroying our society from within and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event that you can point out."
It's no longer a "Small World" and if we don't act quickly, it's going to be a very fat world.
In the coming weeks and months, we'll be here with essays about the epidemic and stories to highlight the issue.
(Bryan Young blogs daily at This Divided State. Killer at Large is currently in the final stages of post-production and has been submitted to numerous film festivals, you can find more info about it at its official website.)