The Park as Stage: Radical Re-Casting in Disneyland’s Social Clubs

  • Elizabeth Schiffler


Disney has always relied on their own forms of adaptation—adopting a literature of previously known stories and retelling them with the marketable and appealing Disney brand. In this essay Elizabeth Schiffler argues that a closer look reveals that such practices have created a sort of breeding ground for re-casting, adaptation, and performance of the Disney canon’s stories and characters. Disneyland Theme Parks are no exception. In fact they have created a stage, rehearsal room, and underground conference of guests who can retell stories and re-cast characters to make them their own heroes. Schiffler provides a deep analysis of Disneyland’s various Social Clubs, small groups of regularly visiting Disneyland fans who radically adapt characters and spaces to work with their bodies, some of whom have been accused of being gangs. These subcultures or fandoms adapt characters and stories that are typically cast in supporting or antagonist roles within Disney’s films, marketing, consumer products, and the staging of Disneyland itself to the point that the character individuates, becoming a more vibrant and resonant story within the park.


Disneyland Goths Gay Days Gangs Adaptation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Schiffler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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