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Pilgrimage and Medieval Narrative Structures in Disney’s Parks

  • Susan Aronstein
Chapter
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Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

After the Super Bowl in 1987, the Walt Disney Company screened the first in a now-famous series of commercial spots. Featuring clips of New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms and an orchestral rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” the spot concludes with the campaign’s tagline: in response to the query, “Phil Simms, you have just won the Super Bowl. What are you going to do next?,” Simms replies, “I’m going to go to Disney World!”3 Subsequent ads have featured a bevy of beaming star athletes and newly crowned beauty queens affirming that a trip to a Disney theme park marks the “culmination of every dream and hope.”4 And, indeed, in popular discourse, a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World is more than a trip; it is a pilgrimage, a journey that, as Karal Marling unironically asserts, “is like going to heaven.”5

Keywords

Fairy Tale Edify Story Super Bowl Iconic Image Mickey Mouse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Karal Marling, “Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks,” Designing Disney’s Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance, ed. Karal Marling (Paris: Flammarion, 1997), 29–177, at 169.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Alexander Moore, “Walt Disney World: Bounded Ritual Space and the Playful Pilgrimage Center,” Anthropological Quarterly 53 (1980): 207–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 11.
    Walt Disney, qtd. in John Findlay, Magic Lands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 67.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Sharon Zukin, Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 223.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Madeline Caviness, “Reception of Images by Medieval Viewers,” A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. i (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 65–85, at 65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 17.
    Cynthia Hahn, Portrayed on the Heart: Narrative Effects in the Pictorial Lives of Saints from the Tenth through the Thirteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 49.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    Stephen Nichols, Romanesque Signs: Early Medieval Narrative and Iconography (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), xi.Google Scholar
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    Mike Wallace, Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), 134.Google Scholar
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    V. A. Kolve, The Play Called Corpus Christi (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1966), 3 and 103.Google Scholar
  10. 39.
    Suzanne Lewis, “Narrative,” A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 86–105, at 91–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Jason Sperb, “‘Take a Frown, Turn It Upside Down’: Splash Mountain, Walt Disney World, and the Cultural De-rac[e]-ination of Disney’s Song of the South (1946),” Journal of Popular Culture 38.5 (2005): 924–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Henry Giroux, The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Aronstein

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