Given Disney’s overt willingness to undermine parental authority, it’s no wonder parents are looking for alternatives. But rather than simply look for a “conservative” version of Disney’s overstimulating escapism, it might be time for families to reconsider the Disney model altogether.
As Disney World continues to celebrate its COVID-19-delayed 50th anniversary, criticism of the media and entertainment giant abounds.
In addition to lamenting its new price-gouging strategy, Disney detractors cry that it’s gone woke, removing all “gendered greetings” from parks and vowing to dramatically increase LGBTQ characters.
After the Florida Legislature earlier this year passed what the Left mischaracterized as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which protects a parent’s right to determine when his or her children learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, Disney responded with a swift rebuke.
Determined to save younger generations from “backwards” thinking, Disney promises to combat similar parental rights legislation in other states.
Strange to hear, coming from what’s supposed to be a family company, is it not?
That’s what Disney’s critics argue, denouncing its hypocrisy and, in some cases, going so far as to lay out plans for the creation of an “alternative” Disney, one that will maintain its original innocent and wholesome vision.
But just how much has Disney actually departed from its original vision? Before turning to alternatives or replacements, it would behoove parents, critics, and media executives alike to recall, on this 51st anniversary of Disney World, what it is, what it’s for, and how it shapes the children—and adults—who visit.
The idea behind Disneyland and especially Disney World was not simply to build a theme park for kids, but to create an immersive world where visitors could escape reality and make all their dreams come true.
“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the park,” Walt Disney once remarked. “I want them to feel they’re in another world.”
Central to the vision of the “happiest place on earth” is the enjoyment of sensorial pleasure. Upon arriving, one’s senses are stimulated in constantly changing and exciting ways, through thrilling rides, musical parades, and wafting aromas of Dole Whip and Mickey Mouse pretzels. Cutting-edge technology keeps the pleasures novel, allowing for increasingly more realistic levels of simulation and intensity every time you return.
Disney wanted the parks to provide this experience equally to both children and adults, whom he called “kids grown up.” Disneyland would “give meaning to the pleasure of children,” as he put it, “and pleasure to the experience of adults.” The takeaway from a trip to the parks is Peter Pan clear: Never grow up.