US government looks to Disney to welcome visitors

Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 9:28 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Faced with a decline in the number of overseas visitors and unpopular entry requirements, the U.S. government is turning to the Walt Disney Co. and other theme park operators to brighten the country's battered image.

Read more from Reuters via Yahoo.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006 2:24 PM
I don't think the security hassle is the only problem...
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Wednesday, December 6, 2006 4:01 PM
They should have a costumed Uncle Sam or American Eagle greet visitors and provide photo ops. ;)
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Wednesday, December 6, 2006 4:15 PM
^ If they're gonna have AN eagle, it should be THE eagle....Stephen Colbert Jr. ;)

Stephen Jr., come back to America, Uncle Sam needs you... :)

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006 4:43 PM
I completely agree that this is a problem. When returning to LAX from Taiwan I, as well as everyone else there was treated horribly by customs. The line I chose was nearly 45 minutes long, and when I got near the front, the customs agents at that particular booth just got up and left for lunch and we were all told to go and get into other lines. None of the agents really seemed to care about courtesy. I know this sort of guest service would've gotten me fired at Disney.

I have travelled all through Asia and had the worst experience getting into the United States AS A CITIZEN!

Anyways, I just had to vent that somewhere. I enjoyed reading Jay Rasulo's comment: "First impressions are important, the first 100 steps in an airport are important. The entry sequence is what sets you in the mood to have a good time."

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Thursday, December 7, 2006 11:37 AM
They need to add plaques in Customs that paraphrase Disney's famous speech: "To all who enter this happy place: Welcome."

^Man, that's worse than the DMV. Then again, I haven't been there in years.

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Thursday, December 7, 2006 5:23 PM
OK, all together now... "It's a world of laughter..."
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Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:58 PM
Wake up and smell the coffee! Of course, if the US has the most stringent and intimidating security and immigration policies in the world, it's going to be uncomfortable to travel. Foreigners who travel for business know what it's like entering the US. Kvleds108's description is not unique, it's the norm at most major US airports. Now, think about all those business travelers who might be thinking about a holiday in California, Florida or New York -- each individual imagines their spouse and children going through the same security hassles they are -- the decision to vacation elsewhere is easy.

My former employer scheduled major meetings based on the availability of direct flights into Toronto from Mexico City and Rio Di Janeiro. Too many of their partners from central and south america complained that if there was no direct flight and they had to transfer in Houston, Atlanta or Chicago en route to the meeting, US officials were slow and rude, causing many partners to missed their connections entirely.

I am a bit of a globe-trotter, mostly Western Hemisphere. Since the major security screening changes of 2001, I've had to go through customs in several nations. The following summarizes my customs experiences, 1=easiest and most welcoming, 5=difficult and beurocratic:
France: 1 (Friendly staff, spoke perfect English.)
Austria: 1
Germany: 1.5
Italy: 2 (Very authoritative with foreigners -- all bark, no bite.)
Mexico: 3 (Slow, but not mean or rude.)
Canada: 4 (Hard time with Montreal airport customs officers.)
US: 5 (Carrying our entire set of luggage to the US customs X-ray machine is annoying. As is removing belts and shoes.)

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