Disney to Solaria

Disney-E-ticketI don’t keep up with Disney World prices and perks, so what I am about to offer might be dated. The “we are all here together” days of Disney have long since faded into history. When the park first opened you received a booklet of tickets with your entry fee. If I recall you received two each of “A’ through “E” tickets, with “E” providing access to the post popular rides (e.g. Space Mountain – although I think that came later…). “A” tickets would garner a whirl on Dumbo’s ride. The gates were opened, you lined up on a first-come, first-served basis, and enjoyed the day.The tickets have gone the way of ways, now all attractions are open to you for unlimited rides. The ticket price is way higher even given the effects of inflation, but then the rides are unlimited…except for all the people in line in front of you. No problem. Now you can buy a fast pass that gets you into a line that has priority entry privileges over the general ticket. That helps, but if only you could get in earlier. You can if you stay in a Disney hotel, you can gain access 2 hours before the park opens to the general public.  Need more? For parties of 12 you can engage a Disney Guide for concierge service and an entry that takes precedence over the fast pass ticket holders.

It is just the way things are. There is a part of us that want degrees of separation from the crowds. We pay Southwest Airlines for early boarding. We pay to use express lanes on the highways. The list goes on.

Add to the list gym memberships. Low-cost gyms such as Planet Fitness and XSport Fitness, which charge around $49 for monthly memberships, are highly profitable business models because they cram as many people into the gyms as possible….and the lines waiting for workout stations became longer. Tired of waiting? Then along came boutique fitness centers like Barry’s Boot Camp (about $40 per class) or Orange Theory (about $150 per month). Still too many people?

Along comes the exclusive upscale clubs, the next gen fitness center that are opening in major metropolitan areas. What’s different? Membership is by referral only, written applications are required, in some cases an in person interview is needed, in most cases you have to provide viewing access to all your social media accounts, and depending on the gym there might even be a medical exam or fitness test prior to a final decision. One CEO of a national group of such gyms, in a recent interview, remarked: “We’re looking for people who are a good representation of the brand, and they should inspire others to take care of themselves, people who will shine bright and help teach people the changes that need to happen.” He didn’t include people that can afford monthly memberships as high as $2,400 per month and want a list of services that, at the high end, includes hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cryogenic massages, and other things not available at Planet Fitness. This is all for people who want separation from the folks at the local gym and will pay for the privilege.

We are on our way to Isaac Asimov’s planet Solaria. The folks who lived there were descendants of Earth dwellers. Many, many generations later the Solarians were known for their intense desire to have separation from physical contact with others. They only communicated with each other via holograms, one person living alone on 20,000 acre plantation cared and maintained by robots. It all started because their ancestors were tired of waiting in line at Disney World. (Not really, but… just saying)

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