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Walt Disney World

Laura L. Hansen

Subject Cultural Studies
Sociology of Culture and Media » Sociology of Popular Culture

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is the second Disney theme park in the United States, opening on October 1, 1971, and ranks as the most popular theme park destination in the world. Walt Disney (1901–66) used the Florida location to correct some of the mistakes he made in building Disneyland in Anaheim, California, including buying land surrounding the Florida park in order to encourage guests to spend the majority of their vacation time and money on Disney property, including hotels and restaurants. Alan Bryman (2006) defines this control of all venues in the park as hybrid consumption, or as George Ritzer (1999) has described it, “a self-contained universe.” The resort currently consists of four theme parks and two water parks, including EPCOT, an acronym Walt Disney created to represent Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Sociologically, the Disney theme park visit creates a temporary community where a diverse population of visitors shares the same entertainment experiences (Bryman 2006). Walt Disney believed that visitors should have the opportunity to suspend reality, leaving everyday worries behind when entering the park. This concept is incorporated in the design of his parks, including artificial boundaries and elevated landscaping that hide everyday practicalities including auto parking lots, utility buildings, and highways leading to the parks. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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