[Disney and Norwegian cruise] lines will promote the Virgin Islands through their international marketing arms, and Disney will offer government advice on how to enhance customer service and improve “our city, marine- and land-based destinations,” Mr. Vanterpool said.
— The BVI Beacon, Jan. 23, 2014
Dear Virgin Islands:
Disney® is delighted to offer you some advice on improving your tourism destinations, which we fear are woefully underutilised.
But don’t fret. Our Disney Idea Team® is committed to making all your Dreams® come true.
You’ll be pleased to learn that your first set of Recommended Disney Solutions® is absolutely free in light of our recent preferential berthing agreement with your government!
And, if you find these ideas helpful, we are prepared to offer you a preferred rate on further Disney Solutions® until all your needs have been met.
We will start with your most valuable asset: your beaches, which are truly lovely. They have white sand, blue water, palm trees and sun.
However, as we strolled along them, we couldn’t help noticing one crucial omission. Where is Mickey Mouse®? Or Minnie®, or Goofy®, or Mortimer®, for that matter?
Your beaches appear to be without a single Disney Character®. In a way, this is good news: It means that you won’t be receiving a letter from our lawyers for copyright infringement.
But we also must advise that our Disney Research Department® indicates that by the year 2025 almost 95 percent of tourists will refuse to visit beaches without Disney Characters®.
Therefore, it is crucial that you populate your beaches with Disney Characters® as soon as possible.
Fortunately, help is not far away. Each year our Mickey Mouse Institute® graduates dozens of certified Disney Characters®.
They have been specially trained to entertain tourists and serve as guides to The Disney Experience®.
We are aware that the expenditure associated with procuring Disney Characters® may seem burdensome given that you face budget constraints, but we have the answer: You may simply mortgage your beaches to raise the funds.
This may sound like a scary commitment, but don’t worry: Certified Disney Characters® have been shown to pay for themselves within seven to ten years through increased visitor traffic.
Besides, for a limited time only, we are able to offer them at a special Friend of Disney Introductory Rate®. But you must act now.
During our research, we also learned that your premier has been promoting your historical sites as tourist attractions.
This gave the Disney Idea Team® a good laugh! Then we realised that he wasn’t joking.
We were shocked. It’s like you still live in the 1950s, before tourism was a “thing.”
Your innocence is charming, but we realised that we needed to go back to the basics. So here’s a little history lesson for you:
Have you ever heard of Pirates of the Caribbean®? Yes? We thought so. So has the rest of the world.
Did you know that the movie series is based on a ride at Disneyland® in California?
That’s right: The movies have almost nothing to do with history or real pirates or the actual Caribbean. Yet they are now a hugely popular franchise worth billions of dollars.
In other words, even though we don’t live in the Caribbean, our “Caribbean” attraction is far more famous — and lucrative — than your entire country.
The lesson? People don’t like real history: They like pirates with animated snakes for hair. They like ghost ships that visit netherworlds and return to defeat the forces of evil. They like swashbuckling adventures involving scantily clad wenches and sword fights.
We know what you’re thinking: “How can a tiny little place like the VI ever find the resources necessary to produce a global moneymaking empire like Pirates of the Caribbean®?”
It can’t. But here’s the good news: Disney® is willing to do the work for you. As a special incentive to a valued partner, we are offering a one-time-only opportunity to license Disney Merchandise and Themed Sites® around your islands.
So instead of dragging your tourists to Port Purcell to learn about wars or whatever, let them experience Captain Jack Sparrow’s “Yo-ho-ho-and-a-Bottle-of-Rum” Pirate Hideout® — wearing their new Disney T-Shirt®.
We have saved the biggest challenge for last: Road Town. The Disney Idea Team® really had to work overtime on this one.
They considered many options for improvement: requiring the drivers who enjoy honking at tourists to install car horns that play the Disney Theme Song®; building a series of enclosed glass-bottom walkways above the city; and allowing tourists to pillage stores and restaurants, among others.
In the end, our team was forced to admit that your capital city is so dirty, smelly and congested that even a thousand Mickey Mouses® would not redeem it.
We are sorry, but you must raze Road Town and start over from scratch.
You’re probably thinking that this final recommendation seems a little drastic and extremely expensive. And you have a point.
But as our founder, Walt Disney®, used to say: “There’s no problem in the world that a mouse suit and a bottle of gin can’t solve.”
So we would like to recommend one final step that would allow us to assist with all of the above services for a fraction of the cost.
We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to become the world’s first Disney Overseas Territory®!
This might seem like a big step. And indeed, it would mean renouncing your allegiance to the United Kingdom.
But it would come with enormous benefits — starting with two pairs of free Official Mickey Mouse Ears® for every resident!
Thanks again for considering these Disney Solutions®. We look forward to making your Dreams® come true.
Disclaimer: Dateline: Paradise is a column and occasionally contains satirical “news” articles that are entirely fictional.