No More Off Kilter
One of the advantages of living near Orlando (coming in a close second to not having to shovel snow off the driveway or watching my car quickly rust away because of the salt on the road) is the ability to go to the Disney parks anytime I want. It is an advantage I’m sad to admit I have not exercised often enough. It was one of those indulgences I always put off for ‘later’ —when I’m older, when the kids are self-sufficient, when I retire, or when I have more free time. I finally admitted to myself that all of these conditions were unlikely to be met in the foreseeable future, so a few months ago I broke into the contingency fund I keep for when my kids need something I had not anticipated and shelled out several hundred dollars for a Disney annual pass. This was finally going to be the year.
My favorite of the four main Orlando Disney parks is EPCOT; my favorite part of that park is the World Showcase; and my favorite attraction there is Off Kilter, a Celtic rock band that has been playing at the Canada Pavilion since before I moved to Florida. I’ve always scheduled my EPCOT visits for the days they were playing and have seen them several times.
Off Kilter was formed in 1997 and played five sets five days a week at EPCOT each year since. Every time I’ve been there, their act has drawn large crowds, and many people I’ve spoken with admit that the band is the main reason they return as frequently as they do. Don’t get me wrong; the Disney parks have much to offer, but most of it is stuff you like to see once, or maybe once every year or so. Off Kilter is a different. They’re like a favorite record or movie or book that I can enjoy over and over again. I know they were the main reason I sprung the mega-bucks required for an annual ticket. You can imagine my displeasure when I recently learned that Disney was ‘retiring’ the show. I’m still uncertain why.
I’m not the only one. Shortly after Disney made the announcement, someone began a Save Off Kilter page on Facebook, which quickly attracted over two thousand subscribers. There is also a petition on Change.org, and I know some people have been making phone calls and writing letters in protest.
To be honest, I doubt any of these will cause the Disney executives to reverse their decision. I’m sure they’ve done all sorts of cost/benefit analyses and have loads of charts and figures that tell them that it is economically safe for them to fire the band and piss off a couple thousand regular guests in the process. After all, millions of people visit Disney World each year. So what if they lose a couple thousand?
So, why am I writing this post? Well, mainly it’s to vent. It’s the same reason I vote. I’m not going to like the result regardless, but at least I feel I have the right to complain afterwards.
I encourage those who have seen and enjoyed Off Kilter and who enjoy engaging in futile acts of resistance to sign the online petition. You can also Tweet, visit the Save Off Kilter page, or whatever. At least you can say afterwards that yours was one of the voices Disney ignored, which will entitle you to feel a bit self-righteous afterward and to tell people, especially yourself, that it wasn’t your fault that these talented and entertaining fellows who once made you smile and sing along lost their jobs.
The last Off Kilter show is scheduled for Saturday 27 September 2014.
I found the following on YouTube, and figured I’d share. This is one of the five sets they do Wednesday through Sunday.