I recently read Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, a wonderful account of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The World's Fair buildings were astounding, huge and distinctively beautiful. This fair was the first to have a midway and a Ferris wheel (a massive structure that stood higher than the Eiffel Tower, the Americans' effort to outdo the French and their World's Fair from just a few years' prior).
One of the men who worked to create this magical, happy place was to tell his son all about it years later. The worker was Eli Disney, Walt's dad.
Today I heard Dan Brown interviewed as he is promoting his new book, The Lost Symbol. He said that his father teaches math and when Dan was young, his father would construct puzzles for the children to solve that led to clues that would point them to the presents. Christmas morning was a treasure hunt - which Dan Brown admitted is essentially what he recreates in his books.
Makes a person wonder what we're feeding the kids. What possibilities and dreams are we waking? What aspirations are we provoking?
I'd explore this more, but I'm going to watch Sponge Bob.