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Space and Identity: Disneyland


Title: SOSC 111 - Science Technology and Society Author: Erik Baark Last modified by: Samson Chow Created Date: 5/3/1999 1:48:29 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Space and Identity: Disneyland

  • Topic 7
  • Space and Identity Disneyland

  • Mickey Mouse Monopoly
  • Disney, Childhood and Corporate Power
  • Disneys Media Dominance
  • How to be a Girl? How to be a Boy? (Gender
  • Commercializing Childrens Culture

Mickey Mouse Monopoly
  • The Disney Company's massive success in the 20th
    century is based on creating an image of
    innocence, magic and fun.
  • new video insightfully analyzes Disney's cultural
    pedagogy, examines its corporate power, and
    explores its vast influence on our global
  • Mouse Monopoly will provoke audiences to
    virtually synonymous with childhood pleasure.

History of Orlando Walt Disney World
  • All started from false premises. In persuading
    the Florida government of their plan.
  • Walt Disney described on screen the EPCOT
    (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow)
    plan, a model city, a residential community of
    20,000 real people, working and playing there.
  • Disney demanded from the Florida government
    solid legal foundation flexibility
    municipal bonding authority, and the creation of
    two municipalities together with an autonomous
    political district controlled by the company and
    empowered to issue tax-exempt bonds.

Reedy Creek Improvement District
In 1968, Florida Supreme Court ruled that the
Reedy Creek Improvement District was legally
entitled to issue tax-free municipal bonds the
bonding power permitted public funds to be used
for private purposes that are entirely in the
disposal of Disney.
Autonomous Political District
  • Autonomous political district means buildings,
    constructions, land-use, transportation and law
    and enforcement are controlled by the private
  • Disneys autonomous political district in
    Orlando a special administrative region.
  • Will Disney HK be a Special Administrative Region
    within an SAR?

Autonomous Political District
  • As an autonomous political district, the
    Florida Disney APD (the Disney government), has
    free land use and free use of county, city and
    state infrastructure built by tax-payer money.
    Disney is a landowner-controlled government.
  • On the one hand, taxpayers need to bear Disney
    Worlds entire infrastructure cost, and the
    entire administrative burden of regulating and
    inspecting the theme parks construction.
  • On the other hand, Disney, as a private company,
    does not need to bear any responsibilities for
    addressing off-site impacts (e.g. traffic jams,
    road and public utilities safety etc.) as other
    developers, like Universal Studio.

Autonomous Political District
  • The Reedy Creek Improvement district has its own
    Laws and Law Enforcement force
  • Disney uses private security guards to perform
    the police function within the Disney theme park
    and community, but Disney, as private company,
    has no obligations to provide public records
    about crimes in its properties to the government.

Conflicts with off-site impacts of the Disney
  • The EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of
    Tomorrow) where were the citizens-residents?
  • Disney did not build the EPCOT residential
    community but only hotels.
  • Orlando Disney (in Orange County, Florida) opened
    since 1966, but for very long, the EPCOT was no
    where to be found. Even in 1982, the EPCOT has no
    residents. It only showcases world restaurants,
    with themes like China, and these restaurants
    have mechanical games and rides inside them, just
    like a mini version of the Disney theme park.

Potential Problems of Hong Kong Disney
  • Political Governance Issues
  • Disney will trap benefits, becoming an SAR within
    the HKSAR
  • Degree of tax-payer subsidy
  • Hong Kong government owns 57 but has no decision
    making rights. If the HKDL loses, the HK also
  • The government officials in HKDL are not
    accountable to Hong Kong people.
  • Governance, public facilities infrastructure,
    surrounding land use, property rights etc.

Economic Issues What we can learn from the
Orlando case World Tourism Organization projects
- 2010, HK will be the 5 largest tourist
  • The Myth of Tourism Tourist economies (relying
    heavily on tourism industry) limited job
    benefits to the city e.g.
  • Tourism economy cant shift from low wage
    industries to high-tech industries.
  • Most jobs require only low level skills - does
    not promote value-adding skills. No accumulation
    of local tacit knowledge.

Economic Issues
  • Disney has the first right to consider buying the
    land of Phase II reclaimed land (???) at a
    premium price (28?5000?).
  • Government loans to Disney 56? to be paid back in
    25 years
  • Assistance from governments in building theme
  • Sustainable Development
  • Impact on economic and corporate strategies
    outsourcing, e.g. coloring to Beijing

Economic Issues
  • Disney will resist paying
  • Who will be responsible for maintaining the areas
    around Disneyland HK?
  • LEGCO archive on Disney 1999 September to
    December 2005 Mar 16 meeting CB(1)1062/04-05(03)
    CB(1)1063/04-05 etc.
  • Demolitions ????????
  • Housing issues 2010 projected 810??. At first,
    the land now belonging to Disney (?????) was to
    be the site of these public housing.

Disney sea and air rights
Potential Problems of Hong Kong Disney
  • Economic (Environmental) Issues
  • Physical/Cultural Landscape impacts
    environmental hazards (non-disclosure clause)
  • Land Reclamation the Lantau and Cheung Chau
  • Demolitions ????????, no environmental
  • Air pollution due to daily fireworks.
  • Myth Disney investments has nothing to do with
    high-tech development

Economic Issues
  • The Disney brand will define Hong Kong in the
    tourism industry. Can Hong Kong then develop
    industries other than tourism?
  • Disney and other tourist attractions will
    stimulate low-wage service economy with
    increasing age discrimination, encouraging a
    citys young work force to give up education and
    training for more and more low wage jobs.

Cultural Disney
  • Synergy a combined action or operation between
    individual units - produce an immediately
    recognizable brand?
  • Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney Studios Walt Disney Attractions Walt Disney Consumer Products
Walt Disney Animation Touchstone Pictures Hollywood Pictures Disney Channel (85) bought ABCgt200 more channels to come, 20 radio stations Disney Vacation Club Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Euro Disney, Tokyo Disneyland Stores, records, licensing 16,000 items of merchandise worldwide, computer software, Disney Education (English learning program with Harvard)
What we can learn from the Orlando case Cultural
  • Cultural Domination any local newspapers or
    magazines criticizing Disney died due to Disney
    pressure and market manipulation.
  • Intellectual Property violence
  • Culture of Extreme Control
  • Controlled sense of total environment
  • Disney realism programs out negative, unwanted
    elements, like poverty, war, social issues
  • Control nature through technological progress and
  • Controls employees through instruction manuals,
    handbooks, scripting, audio-animatronic figures
    phasing out cast members.

What we can learn from the Orlando case Cultural
  • Culture of Extreme Control
  • Control visitors behavior. LA park spokesperson
    Bob Roth, We de reserve the right to ask people
    to leave if we feel their appearance would be
    offensive to others at the park. (Koeing, 209).
  • Private property can enforce discriminatory
    rules of its own, e.g. No gay couples dancing and
    touching, No sloppy clothes
  • Suppress Cultural Diversity
  • eliminate and transforms local cultures,
    heritage, communities to Disney-fied versions.
    Eliminate historical conflicts, wars, genocides
    and other unpleasant facts

Cultural Issues Disney Values
  • Disney Movies specific formula, always moral
    tales with overt values represented reinvention
    of folk tales (de-politicized, sanitized)
  • Heroes and heroines are handsome/beautiful
    (eventually), with upper class or aristocratic
    background. Villains are extremely fat or
    extremely thin, with exaggerated facial features,
    and usually have accents, body languages of
    poorer classes and non-white cultures.
  • Individualism, optimism, good triumphs over evil
    (but de-contextualized from social reality)
  • Corporatism (corporations improves our lives),
    technological progress, consumerism (consumption
    replaces control at the workplace)

Cultural Issues (1) The Disney Corporate Model
  • Alan Bryman, The Disneyization of Society argues
    that the contemporary world is increasingly
    converging towards the characteristics of the
    Disney theme parks. This process of convergence
    is revealed in the growing influence of themed
    environments in settings like restaurants, shops,
    hotels, tourism and zoos the growing trend
    towards social environments that are driven by
    combinations of forms of consumption shopping,
    eating out, gambling, visiting the cinema,
    watching sports...

Cultural Issues the GDAP Global Disney
Audience Program
  • When asked to use one term to describe Disney,
    the most frequent answer is fun, followed by
    happiness, fantasy, imagination, and
  • Need alternative visions and rhetoric to deal
    with this.
  • The audience term Disney animation as cute,
    cozy, warm, clean, safe, friendly, heart-warming,
    carefree, enchanting, wonderful, perky, innocent,
    mystical, moral.
  • Disney-Harvard English program deal target
    global middle-class aspirations (from age 0
  • Invading memories Kodak-Disney Deal all
    childhood memories encrypted in Disney

Cultural Issues the Global Disney Audience
  • Reasons why respondents enjoy Disney
  • (1) pleasant memories with family and friends
  • (2) contrast to everyday life practices and
    association to holidays, celebrations, gifts
  • (3) association with rituals and tradition
  • (4) escape from problems such as pain of aging
    and social problems
  • Disneys ubiquity incorporates family, romantic
    and friendship rituals some respondents place
    Disney in a special, almost sacred, category.
    (WaskoMeehan, 2001 332)
  • Movies are also promotional items introducing new
    characters for new Disney products commodifying

Potential criticisms against Disney Labor Issues
  • Beware of Mickey
  • Disney Sweatshops In South China

Potential cultural criticisms against Disney
Labor Issues
  • Emotional Labor
  • even the janitor is a CAST MEMBER performing a
    staged cleaning.
  • Control design of products, then licenses the
    actual manufacture to independent subcontractors,
    mostly in Third World countries in poverty-level
    wages and inhuman conditions.
  • Toys of Misery A Report on the Toy Industry in
    China, The National Labor Committee reports,
    2001, 2002, 2004 http//
  • Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee reports
  • Mexican Chinese workers cases
  • China Labor Watch report

More Visual Materials
  • The Celebration Project http//www.celebrationfl.
  • Take the best ideas from the most successful
    towns of yesterday and the technology of the new
    millennium, and synthesize them into a close-knit
    community that meets the needs of today's
    families. The founders of CELEBRATION started
    down a path of research, study, discovery, and
    enlightenment that resulted in one of the most
    innovative communities of the 21th century.

The Celebration Project http//www.celebrationfl.
  • Community in the spirit of neighborliness,
    CELEBRATION residents gather at front porches,
    park benches, recreational areas, and downtown
    events celebrating a place they call home.
  • CELEBRATION is a community built on a foundation
    of cornerstones Community, Education, Health,
    Technology, and a Sense of Place.