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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Disney and Miracle Ear – The Conspiracy to Deafen America

As a teenager I either didn’t notice or didn’t care. As an adult I found it annoying and at times painful. What am I talking about? The insane volume levels on nearly every ride at Disney World.

I’ve lost about a third of the hearing in my right ear. I never thought I’d be happy about that until I went on some of the rides at Disney World and thought to myself “Holy Poo Flinging Monkey’s that’s loud!” I can’t imagine what those rides would have been like without hearing loss. I’m guessing it would have been similar to stabbing yourself in the ear with a dull pencil.

There were two rides in particular that really stood out – The Universe of Energy and Dinosaur. I think the Universe of Energy tries to compensate the fact that it’s as boring as watching slugs race on a cold day by being louder than a nuclear detonation. Someone decided that Dinosaur needed to be scarier so they made it ten times louder. Well guess what? You failed! Volume doesn’t make something scarier it makes it more annoying. For instance at the end of Dinosaur when that thing roars at you and they take your picture half the people are just looking at the thing with an annoyed look on their face, a girl is crying because her ear drums were just blown out, and my wife making a pained face while trying to shy away from the sudden sonic boom. No one was really scared by it.

I’m trying to figure out why you’d put so many scenes on so many rides and attractions that easily pass 90db. After thinking about it for some time I came up with a few:

1. Disney did a survey when the National Association of the Deaf ( was visiting the parks.

2. The “Greased Deaf Guy” from Family Guy is one of the head Imagineers.

3. Too many AARP members complained that they couldn’t hear anything before they remembered they left their hearing aides in their rooms because everything is so loud in Disney World.

4. Miracle Ear gives Disney World an annual kickback if 80% of their rides break 100db

The most interesting thing is that Disney hasn’t tried to capitalize the volume levels. If they charge $20 for a crappy plastic poncho then they could easily charge $10 for a $1 pair of ear plugs. That might sound funny but just wait. Someone from Disney will read this and the next time you go to the parks they’ll be selling a selection of ear plugs with your favorite Disney character on them near every attraction!

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