Disneyland: A Historical and Sociological Interpretation
“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world” (Walt Disney).
The preceding quote was stated by Walt Disney himself upon opening Disneyland. Ultimately, rather than merely being an entertaining environment for families to spend leisure time, Disneyland was intended to be something of a historical/cultural interpretation of America, the American dream, the American past, the American future, and the American president. Through such a delineation and discussion of these different time frames and interpretations, it was Walt Disney’s distinct hope that Disneyland could be representative and indicative of the way in which individuals understood the country in which they live or indeed the country in which they visited. As a function of understanding this particular dynamic, the following analysis will be concentric upon discussing the way in which Disneyland was representative of the United States, its experience, culture, and potential future, as well as discussing whether or not this representation was merely imaginatively fanciful or in fact was effective and ultimately represented a realistic/crude interpretation of life. Moreover, a unique discussion of what defined American greatness, at least with respect to Walt Disney himself, will also be engaged.
Firstly, in order to gain a level of understanding with regards to whether or not this interpretation of America was unique to Walt Disney or was universally accepted, it must be emphasized that Walt Disney’s Midwestern American background did not serve as the fundamental or defining element of what...