It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to notice that over they years Disney has become more and more influential on our society. Between TV, movies, video games, restaurants, and countless other merchandise, Disney is everywhere. Disneyization explains the process by which the Disney theme parks have managed to dominate more and more sectors of society.
There are four main components to the term: theming, dedifferentiation of consumption, merchandising, and emotional labor. All four of these areas play a huge role into the tremendous success of the disney theme parks, each one as important as the next in order for the company to succeed.
One of the most exciting parts about the Disney Parks is their theme. The magic of Cinderella’s castle, and the comfort of Winnie the Pooh’s tree house are what draw us in. Walt Disney began using coherent themes very early on to ensure his parks were special. He was able to achieve this goal creating attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which is Wild West theme), and Space Mountain (outer space theme). Throughout the years Walt has maintained these themes and has been a HUGE influence on the spread to theming restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls. Restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, and Planet Hollywood were created as a result of theming, and have been tremendously successful.
The Disney Parks ability for massive sale of food and merchandise is thanks to dedifferentiation of consumption. When forms of consumption with different institutional spheres become interlocked with each other they become increasingly difficult to distinguish. One thing I never realized was the convenient locations of restaurants and food stands next to the most attractive rides. It also never occurred to me that most of the attractions require you to forcibly walk through a gift shop both on your way in and out of the ride. It is no secret that Disney knows how to merchandise. Their parks provide sites for selling the vast amounts of merchandise they have come up with over the year, and allow them to sell their name in any way possible. This technique has been extremely profitable for the company.
The fantasy and success associated with the parks have encouraged many people to dream of jobs working there. To ensure that their employees worked as smooth and their parks run Disney even opened the Disney Institute, a form of a university that’s sole purpose is train their employees to attract and sell. To ensure that their guests have the best experience, Disney Park employees are required to make sure that they constantly play the their role. The more the public buys into the magic and the excitement of the park, the more likely they will spend long days there and bring their families back for years to come.
Disney remains one of the most powerful industries in the entire world. Their parks especially have had a major societal and economic impact. I still wonder though, has Disney lost focus of what was once a wholesome family relaxation destination, and created what is essentially the mecca for consumption and indstrialization?