Disney… Does the Fun Always Shine??

14 Nov

Beginning at a very young age, people all over the world are taught about the magic and wonder that Disney and its parks have to offer. We are told all about these places that will offer us a Utopian sun filled vacation, and we are persuaded to crave the carefree atmosphere that comes along with the parks and all that they have to offer. Bombarded by images on TV, on the Internet, in films, on billboards, in stores, on the sides of buses, etc., it is difficult to not desire a trip to one (or all) of the Disney Parks. But is what we’re hearing through the media and pop culture really accurate? How much of what we are led to believe really holds true?

The feelings of excitement that often accompany a first time visitor to a Disney park is quickly interrupted by the commodity-crazed market that Disney has become. Although this has an affect on all visitors of the parks, adults and children are affected by this in very different ways. For example, Disney theme parks appeal to couples with the promise of an erotic fling- an exciting romantic get away where they can re-kindle their relationship. Instead, what they are offered is an environment that is homogeneous, regulated, and controlled. There is no individuality involved. Instead a thematic, generic package that is shared by most visitors. In reality, the Disney parks are at the end of the day highly commercialized spaces that offer unrealistic expectations for not just adults, but children as well.

Children are led to believe that visiting a Disney Park will bring them to a more colorful, imaginative world. Disney combines fantasy and fun, and offers what seems like a world of endless opportunities for young children. For little girls, there is nothing more exciting than meeting your favorite Disney princess live in person, and what little boy doesn’t dream of the day where he can shake Peter Pan’s hand? It is this side of Disney that reels the public in, and has made the Disney Company so successful. What we don’t see in these picture perfect images though, is the power, politics, and ideology that lie behind these ideals.

It is certainly safe to say that “fun” at Disney parks is being had under conditions. Any emotions or experiences one may have at the parks are shaped carefully by the consumer aspect of the company. While Disney remains at the center of our culture and society, as well as a staple of childhood for many, it is important to remember that Disney has a tremendous amount of power, and their monopoly over public space can not be underestimated.

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One Response to “Disney… Does the Fun Always Shine??”

  1. ljcosta November 23, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    As much as I loved my trips to Disney World as a child, looking back it is sad how much money was invested into these trips. There was the princess apparel, the breakfasts with characters, the tickets to each and every theme park, the overpriced food, and don’t forget the hotel and airfare itself. To make a child’s wish come true should be more simple than this and should not empty out a parents wallet. But are the kids to blame? Or the marketers?

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