Type: Exploratory
Pages: 6 | Words: 1768
Reading Time: 8 Minutes

The whole magic kingdom carefully sculpted Disneyland philosophy toward visitors because of the psychological profile of the park. Watts says that the magic kingdom joined the aesthetic elements of Walt Disney’s creations fun, fantasy, sentiment, optimism in a compelling three-dimensional form (pg. 390)25. The magic kingdom consolidated the various wings of the vast entertainment enterprise that had been taking shape since the early 1950s.  According to Watts (pg. 393)26 the magic kingdom provided an impressive display of American technical achievement and free enterprise. It also had a considerable influence in the modern architecture of shopping malls and petro stations.

According to Watts articles in a variety of journals described the architectural design “Disneyland as a marvel of city planning, municipal construction, landscaping, architectural design, interior and exterior lighting, air compression, hydraulic mechanics and innovative use of materials such as plastics” (pg. 393)27. The architecture of Walt Disney parks became a showcase for thriving corporate capitalism as well proudly featuring an imposing array of big business entities that underwrote its consumer paradise (Watts pg. 394)28. These factors lead to corporate sponsorship of many stores and attractions, tying images of modern capitalist dynamism, productivity and organizational stability to the park’s warm evocations of American values.

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On the other hand Gartman says that Walt Disney head of his own film studio which produced cartoons, conceived of this amusement park in 1953 as a materialization of his celluloid fantasies. He further says that Disney put his animators to work creating a real life cartoon in which every space and building was created first and foremost for its visual effect. For example when Disneyland was opened Disney’s cartoonists had created a fantastic simulation not only of America’s imagined past but also its wishful future. It was also noted that although this world did not purport to transport consumers to exotic lands and historical times, the architecture had these fantastic effects even though the design was quite standardized. Also many of the resort hotels and shopping malls were designed as movies sets so many Americans could star in their own movies (Gartman pg. 230)29.

According to Heller (pg. 297)30 Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida is the escapist capital of the world with attractions like the Magic Kingdom; a fantasy theme park influenced the architecture of mammoth resort and shopping mall known as Pleasure Island. Carmona & Tiesdell (pg. 130)31 says that Disney Company is the innovator of global dimensions in the symbolic economy of architecture. This is because through his works people have learned that they can derive social benefits from visual coherence. For example Carmona & Tiesdell (p. 130)32 indicated that the landscape of Disney World creates a public culture of civility and security that recalls a world long left behind. Besides this Disney World works had abstracts of both the technical and architectural elements of a place and the emotions that the place evokes.

Another influence of Disney World to the modern architecture especially the insular theme park complex suggests that a separate smaller city can be walled off within a larger city. In support of this Carmona & Tiesdell (pg. 131)33 says that “while Disney World is an autonomous place with its own price of admission a walled off real city like a gated residential community which controls the menace of strangers”. As a result people believed that the architecture of Disney World is an elaborate modernist utopia that reshapes the city into an entirely new anti-geographical space. Carmona & Tiesdell (pg. 131)34 says that another fascinating point is that Disney World idealizes urban public space and therefore for city managers finding a way out in economic development strategies Disneyland and Disney World provides a consensual competitive strategy.

In addition to this Carmona & Tiesdell (p. 131)35 mentions that as conservative national government reduced urban renewal funds in 1970s and competition for private sector investment discouraged local governments from urban planning this new public space has increasingly occupied the center of cities and Disney World had considerable amount of contribution in the architectural design and utilization of these spaces. Carmona & Tiesdell (p. 131)36 further says that “the Disney Company is America’s urban laboratory because parts of Disney World have been used in many different places hence there are thus visual and spatial elements of Disney World in Urban festival marketplaces and shopping malls, museum displays, ski resorts and planned residential communities”.  

Apart from helping to shape the growth of Orlando and California the architecture of Disney World influences the shape of other places which include the commercial and critical success of planned residential communities with strict building and design rules like Seaside, Florid, planned by the architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater show that people like benevolent authoritarianism as long as it rules by imposing visual criteria (Carmona & Tiesdell, p. 131)37. They continue to say that Disney World also uses visual strategy that makes unpleasant things like garbage removal, building maintenance and pushing and shoving invisible. The architecture of the magic kingdom uses compression and condensation, flattering out experience to an easily digestible narrative and therefore limiting visualization to a selective sample of symbols (Carmona & Tiesdell p. 133)38.     

It has been noted that the architectural visual strategies have influenced the building of shopping complexes with historical themes like South Street Seaport in New York shopping malls with amusements like the West Edmonton mall in Canada Carmona & Tiesdell (p. 133)39. They have also shaped consumption space as a total experience as at the mall of America in Minnesota. Carmona & Tiesdell (p. 133)40 continues to say that Disney World strategies for organizing space also influence New York City’s business improvement districts. The architecture achieves this and secures space by first erecting barriers or otherwise limiting public access and making rules about the appropriate behavior.

Schöne (pg.10)41 on the other hand says that the architecture especially Disneyland is an earthly imprint of human emotions and ideals and an indispensable cultural documents. He continues to say that it is the all pervasive setting and reflection of people’s lives, shaping and encapsulating their sense of experience (Schöne, pg.10)42. Disneyland gave people a higher more satisfying reality than the messy illusions of everyday life. In their studies Borries, Walz & Böttger (pg. 200)43 found out that “more than the mere celebrations of novelty, technology, entertainment and culture that preceded it Disneyland was a synthesis of architecture. They further noted that it was a revival of narrative architecture which had previously been reserved for secular functions, from the royal tombs of Mesopotamia and Egypt to the temples of the Aztecs to the great cathedrals of Europe.

It has been noted that like the creators of Disneyland people are building synthetic worlds with intricately planned citadels which are often set aside from the day to day bustle of emergent, chaotic cities or serving as a centerpiece of escape within them (Borries, Walz & Böttger, pg. 200)44. Borries, Walz & Böttger argue that “Disneyland was created to fill a vacuum that did not exist in cities with a history and thus while Disneyland value as high design or low design is certainly arguable what cannot be argued is that it fulfills a deep need in contemporary mass culture, especially of United States, for a human-scale, pedestrian experience of immersion in a three dimensional narrative” (pg. 201)45.  

In summary, Carmona & Tiesdell (pg. 132)46 indicated that the design and architectural production of space at Disneyland and Disney World creates a fictive narrative of social identity. In connection to this the asymmetries of power so evident in real landscapes are hidden behind a façade that reproduces a unified-dimensional nature and history. Over the time Disney World and Disneyland has become such a monumental phenomenon because it visualizes a public that comes together only in transitory market situations (Carmona & Tiesdell, pg. 132)47. As a result we can say that the virtual reality of Disney World is expandable not only in economic and geographical terms but architecturally Disney world and Disneyland is models of hoe to think about the past and how to reproduce it.

While technology aids the design process, Disney World real attraction is that it is a new social space an alternative to the architecture of many cities. The biggest challenge is that the works of Walt Disney especially the Magic Kingdom presents to public culture the fact that a completely artificial space that has never been a real place to live. Carmona & Tiesdell continue to conclude that through his architecture cities impose visual coherence in many ways for example by using zoning to impose design criteria for office buildings by making memory visible in historic districts (pg. 136)48. They also confirm and consolidate the significance of cultural power the power to impose a vision for social control. They are important because they offer a model of privatization and globalization and thus they manage social diversity imposing a frame of meaning on many cities. The architectures have been significant because they have assisted people to derive social benefits from visual coherence. Disney World itself has thus become a base for attempting synergy with other areas of a service economy. 

Is Disneyfication a good idea? Disneyfication is a good idea. This is because according to Uden (2004) “the success of the Disney has for time motivated a variety of organization to apply the distinctive philosophy and principles to their own businesses” (p.25)49. Disneyfication is a good idea because it is considered to be shorthand for the dismayed substitution of urban reality with a sanitized and imagined spectacle for the middle class suburban masses.

Uden (2004)50 continues to say that disneyfication of our cities reflects a larger societal change towards the image of modification of experience as well as the culture of our societies at large. Another reason why disneyfication is a good idea is because the approach has been successful in the world of professional sports specifically in the design aesthetic playing grounds (Uden, 2004)51. The economic impact of disneyfication is evident especially in the areas of urban design because it imposes a number of external factors such as the utilization of spaces. Disneyfication has greatly influenced the architectural theory and urban sociology which on the other hand has had a great transformation in urban redevelopments in many cities.

In conclusion, the architectural design of Disneyland, Disney World and the magic Kingdom as a whole to many people act as cultural concoct to family virtues to smooth bend of emotional modernism, populism, wistfulness, consumerism, and corporate abundance. Corporate abundance comes in place on the effects it had on modern buildings such as resorts, shopping malls and other tourist attraction sites.

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