Disney is an American company that was founded in 1923 by brothers Walt Disney and Roy Disney. Their first creations were animated movies, which brought them great success. Since then, the Disney company has expanded to include theme parks, stores, television shows, music groups and many other entertainment mediums. The corporation made $35 billion in 1998 (Disney). Over the years, Disney has become a household name. The company is well known for its animated feature films, television shows and theme parks.
One of the most recognized parts of Disney is their logo, which is a drawing of Walt Disney’s head that bares a striking resemblance to Mickey Mouse. In addition, many people know about characters from Disney movies such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh. Disney is an influential company that has had a large effect on society and culture. Disney’s first major impact was to the animation industry. The earliest Disney movie that many people would know of is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which came out in 1937 (Kidd).
It became a worldwide success and set records for film earnings. After the success of Snow White, Disney produced more animated movies such as Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). All three of these films were very popular because they combined comedy with drama to make entertaining movies (Kidd). Additionally, because these films were so successful, Disney was able to expand the animation department and add more staff members. In addition, Disney had a good influence on the rest of animation industry from 1939 to 1970.
One example is that they popularized the feature-length animated film format (Kidd). Many people would consider this decision by Disney to be a turning point in the history of animation, because it led to new possibilities for future animators. Disney’s next major contribution to society and culture was the foundation of Disneyland in California in 1955 (Disneylandhistory ). The purpose of Disneyland was to entertain families and give them a break from reality. In order for this idea to work, Disney needed an elaborate system of attractions and displays.
Additionally, there were certain animals that did not belong in a Disney theme park, such as the alligators that were found at one of Disneyland’s main attractions, Jungle Cruise. Because of this issue, Disney decided to build a second location using their acquired knowledge from Disneyland. They built Disney World in Orlando Florida and it opened on October 1st , 1971 (Disneyworld ). In this way, they expanded their company even further by opening up two major parks instead of just one.
Today, both of these locations are considered to be the happiest places on Earth because they attract so many people every year with their unique theme parks and shows (Disney). Over the years, Disney has created several television programs that have been successful worldwide. One example is The Wonderful World of Disney , which ran from 1954 to 1961. During its run, it received twenty-one Emmy Awards for its achievements (Kidd). Additionally, many people grew up watching Disney movies on VHS tapes in the 1980s and 1990s.
For instance, The Lion King (1994) and Aladdin (1992) were very popular among children and adults alike (Disney). In addition to their television shows and movies, Disney created a successful record business throughout the years. One example of this is Mary Poppins by Julie Andrews; it won five Academy Awards including Best Actress (Rogers). All of these accomplishments allowed Disney to expand even further into the music industry as well as other areas such as publishing and licensing apparel (Rogers).
One way that Disney has had a major influence on society is through their use of celebrities to promote events. Disney has used celebrities such as Zendaya, Ariana Grande and the Jonas Brothers to promote different events or shows (Disney). These celebrities are seen as role models for younger generations because they are able to reach a wide audience due to their fame. In addition, Disney has had an effect through its merchandise. Most people know about Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Simba from The Lion King (Johnson).
One way that Disney is able to have an impact on culture is by promoting materialism among consumers just by having certain items with the company logo plastered all over them. Many children worldwide idolize these characters and want to own their merchandise in order to feel connected with the characters. This materialistic obsession leads to a lack of self-confidence and self-reliance, because children do not understand that Disney characters are simply fictional (Gutierrez). In this way, Disney has led to an increase in consumerism during the last century.
Hiaasen operates from the standpoint of a Disney fanboy, toying with an equal mix of awe and sarcasm. In “Disney’s Dirty Play” Hiaasen opens up with a seemingly innocent anecdote about his childhood memories at Walt Disney World Resort, but by the end it is clear that this article has a far more serious tone than expected. Through a series of anecdotes and character profiles, Hiaasen claims that Disney is not quite what many believe it to be: free from greed or corruption. This modern day David exposes Disney as an evil Goliath while simultaneously poking fun at himself for being sucked into the sparkly image created by Corporate Disney.
Hiaasen begins his piece with somewhat of a boast, claiming that he has the ability to “tell a Disney story without lapsing into sentimentality, schmaltz or what used to be known as small talk.” He goes on to defend his stance of not being a fanboy and explains how he does not even own a television set, intending instead for this article to be unbiased. In an ironic twist Hiaasen proceeds to quote Disney films throughout the remainder of the article – proving him wrong regardless – but more importantly further revealing his true intent: comedy.
Henrietta Mears is the first character introduced in the article and is referred to as a “Disneyland saint” by Hiaasen who claims that her life was completely consumed by her work with the Disney organization. Mears was a woman who sold religious books for Disney, convincing individuals to purchase her products by taking them to the Disneyland Resort. It is here that Hiaasen uses humor as he explains how she would encourage these people to “become better Christians” by attending church services at Disneyland on Sundays, among other things.
Hiaasen continues his depiction of the company, now moving on from Mears to leading man Michael Eisner – someone he refers to as “a corporate piranha with an MBA”. He claims that Eisner cares only about money and how it relates back to Disney including his involvement in stacking the board of directors with men who are either or currently employed by Disney or are “dependable little Eisner clones”.
Hiaasen then moves on to the new Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, which he describes as a “never-ending sprawl of fast-food emporiums and souvenir stalls that sell mouse ears”. He claims that outside of the theme park is just like anything else found in America today: strip malls filled with tacky trinkets and tourist traps. The article takes another turn here when Hiaasen begins to describe his experience at Universal Studios, claiming that this establishment had everything Disney did but “without the suffocating piety of Disney dining plans and gratuity included pricing”.