The sometimes gruff welcome that the United States extends to its overseas visitors nowadays, made much worse by the newly rigorous visa and security restrictions imposed since the terrorist attacks of 2001, got a make-over yesterday courtesy of it best-known ambassador of jollity and joy, Mickey Mouse.
From now on, the nerves of international passengers queuing up at passport control at airports in Washington DC and Houston will be soothed – or otherwise – by a sappy seven-minute film made by the folks at Walt Disney showcasing all that is wonderful, scenic and nice about the land of the free.
It will be shown in the international arrivals halls of all major US airports as well as in visa-processing offices around the world. Major airlines will also be encouraged to show it on aircraft shortly before landing in the US.
It is not the first time that Mickey’s pixie dust has been sprinkled on the flying public in America. Last month, Miami international airport revealed that in an attempt to improve customer service, it was sending all of its employees to the Disney Institute in Orlando for training in the art of the big smile and open hug.