Fat Like Me

A pigs-eye view of the Happiest Place on Earth

The chick behind the counter is pleasant enough and doesn't seem affected by his girth or his order. But the instant he picks up his tray and turns toward the cash register, a look of unbelievable shock electrifies her face. She laughs soundlessly, mouths an "omigod," and makes eyes with the food preparers, all of whom nod in unison that they too have witnessed this freak show on legs.

Good's order is a fraction of the food consumed by the rest of these happy, noisy patrons; no one balks at the mountains of nachos, tamales, beans and rice in the mouths, hands, guts and colons of everyone else.

And why should they? Why should they—even for a moment—question the fact that the amount of food they're eating in this single sitting could feed a family of four anywhere in the world, probably even in the barrio that lies a hundred yards from where they're sitting? Why should they once think about themselves or their choices when they've got a big, fat fuck sitting in front of them being a disgusting piece of shit?


The happiest of the Seven Dwarves is, duh, Happy. He's also the fattest. The skinniest of the dwarves is Dopey. He's also borderline retarded.

Few Disney villains are as dastardly as the dog-napping Cruella De Vil or the terrible witch in Sleeping Beauty. They're also emaciated anorexics. Meanwhile, few characters are as lovable as the Jungle Book's Baloo, Dumbo or that honey-guzzling, potbellied Pooh Bear named Winnie.

Clearly, in Walt Disney's wonderful world of imagination, thin is evil and manipulative when it's not just plain dumb. Fat and lumpy, meanwhile, is lovable warm goodness incarnate.

Waist, please.


I have one goal on this mission: to fulfill a childhood dream by walking into the Blue Bayou, Disney's closest thing to fine dining, waiting for the server to ask Good what he wants and having him reply, "Page two, please."

But that doesn't happen. We're an hour into this, and our fat bastard prima donna is throwing a hissy fit.

"Could you guys walk slower, I'm dying here," Good croaks, leaning on a rail behind Big Thunder Mountain. "This is horrible, absolutely horrible. It's the worst feeling I've ever had."

The fat suit is slowly losing its definition as Good sweats like a typhoon beneath its layers. His thighs are chafing, he says, and his feet are aching. He's downing water like a camel after 40 days in the Negev Desert and is beginning to pant. "No one is looking at me. No one touches me. If this is how it feels to be really fat, it sucks. Can we go?"

"But we haven't done anything yet," I tell him.

"You haven't done anything. But I have," he retaliates. He's really angry; this is no act. "I'm being fat!"

I tell him we have a job to do, he's committed to this, and if he doesn't like being fat maybe he ought to throw in a salad from time to time.

"Fuck off," he huffs. He girds up his fat suit again and trundles toward the gleaming spires of Sleeping Beauty's enchanted castle.


According to one of the ubiquitous websites about Disneyland, in one calendar year, Disneyland guests buy: 4 million hamburgers, 1.6 million hot dogs, 3.4 million orders of French fries, 1.5 million servings of popcorn, 3.2 million servings of ice cream, 1.2 million gallons of soft drinks and 2.8 million churros.


"As someone who wakes up every day in a fat suit, I'll tell you it's no picnic being this way," says Astrid, our costumer, obviously in full pun mode. Our makeup artist, Heide, can empathize. She's the first to admit that she's carrying a few dozen extra pounds.

But how did she get so big? How does anyone get this big? And why are we, as a people, getting fatter and fatter?

In his book Fat Land,Greg Critser explains the complicated matrix at work in what he terms the obesity epidemic: the confluence of governmental, agricultural, industrial, economic and social factors that helped spark the overeating of high-sugar, high-fat foods, on one hand, and a lack of exercise, on the other. The junk food explosion of the 1970s was spurred in large part by new technologies that allowed high-fructose corn syrup to be used as a cheap substitute for sugar and highly processed palm oil as a cheap substitute for fat. It was suddenly cheaper than ever to manufacture shit—shit that tasted really, really good. Combine that with high-profit fast-food value meals, fewer people eating at home, cash-strapped school systems eagerly accepting subsidies from soft drink and fast food companies in the form of contract commissions, and a decrease in the need for physical activity (in this age of freeways and DVDs, exercise requires conscious choice), and it's no surprise our guts are expanding and our arteries are hardening.

But, still, it's all about over-indulgence, right? People who drink too much alcohol get fleshy and flabby and their livers give out, right? People who do too much coke die of heart attacks, right? People who eat a lot and don't move around enough to burn it off get fat, right?

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