March 2023
Alan Dean Foster

Disney Buys

In 1995 the Walt Disney corporation bought (they called it “a merger of equals”) the American Broadcasting corporation (ABC network). In 2009 Disney bought Marvel, in 2012 Star Wars, and in 2018 most of Twentieth-Century Fox.

Walt Disney once called his organizationthe studio the mouse built. The mouse now  bestrides the world like a colossus. But one with friendly rides and entertainment. I’m a little surprised it hasn’t tried to buy Apple.

Change of pace. Or in film parlance, a smash cut.

Why are Americans so besotted with the goings-on of the British Royal family? The universe holds many mysteries. Black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, the red shift. Is our interest in “the royals,” akin to that of a hungry dog salivating over a handful of raw hamburger, actually something that can perhaps be attributed to quantum entanglement?

I’ve tried to understand this infatuation. I really have. I realize that it is not as dangerous as some obsessions. It’s not like some audiovisual version of Ebola. It doesn’t turn people into stumbling, slobbering zombies (okay, maybe a few). But I mean come on, people. We fought a bloody revolution to rid ourselves of this family. Is this, through all the centuries, King George III’s secret revenge?

Prince Harried’s book Spare (Spore? Snore?) has apparently already become the bestselling nonfiction tome of all time. More than any scholarly, rich biography. More than Gibbons’ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire or Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. (Should Harry’s book be subtitled “The Rise and Fall of the British Royal Family”? Actually I think that works better than the spare Spare).

I know, I know. I haven’t read the book, so I shouldn’t comment, much less terminate with extreme snideness. Harry may be a saint or a sniveling, privileged twit. It doesn’t matter. What does matter to me as a writer and lifelong student of human nature (which you have to be to be a writer) is how the book has been snaffled up by the American public as though the secret to eternal life lay within its charmed pages. One thing I do know for certain: the sales should take care of any of the happy couple’s traveling expenses (they seem to travel quite a lot — nice profession!) for some time, with enough left over for plenty of pizza (Do the royals eat pizza? Is that tremor-inducing query answered in the book? What is “answered” in the book? And if there are answers, do any of the questions matter?).

How are these sales to be explained? How is the omnipresence of this unalloyed triumph of shallow reminiscence to be explained? If not quantum entanglement, what then? I believe I have the explanation (even though you haven’t asked me).

A couple of years or so ago, unbeknownst to anyone and kept secret via security that the CIA would envy, the Walt Disney corporation bought the British royal family.

That’s right. They now own it all, and are exploiting the purchase to unrivaled effect. Tales of the Harry-Megan family imbroglio are just the beginning. After all, everyone involved, William and Camilla included, is in the contract and gets a cut. Harry’s book is only a small sample of what is to come. I’ve had special access to the deal, and I can tell you some of what is forthcoming.

A new ride at Disneyland and Disney World that takes you through the haunted corridors and secret rooms of Buckingham Palace; another that follows Harry and Megan on their travels, allowing riders to alternately bless or curse those they come in contact with; special shops at the end of each ride (I’m old enough to remember when the rides at the parks didn’t dump you out into stores filled with endless shelves of merchandise) filled with every conceivable souvenir item of the family: Megan’s dresses (for little girls), Harry’s uniforms (for little boys), or the other way ‘round if that’s your family culture; take-home replicas of the crown jewels (okay, they already sell those. But these would have Disney characters etched on the platforms of the main gems).

You have to hand it to Disney, and to its resurrected leader, Bob Iger, who over the years surely made a deal with dark forces to have been able to finalize so many financially profitable acquisitions (read Robert Sheckley’s short story “The Accountant”). Buying the Royal Family was a masterstroke. What will we see next? Harry challenging William to a duel? Camilla and Megan wielding wands, in the grand tradition of Disney princesses (or villainesses)? Will we see Pula and Bluebell fighting over a dish (look ‘em up — do you expect me to do everything for you?).

For an early preview, watch the last 10-15 minutes of ABC’s Good Morning America, which always features something Disney. In today’s corporate world this is called synergy (in another, it’s called monopolistic). Or you could change the channel and watch the BBC, because ….

Oh bollocks, more royals. But at least on the BBC it’s expected. Unless — unless — Disney has by now secretly purchased the BBC as well.

Or possibly Britain.

Prescott resident Alan Dean Foster is the author of 130 books. Follow him at AlanDeanFoster. com.