In 2011, I wrote a masters thesis in museum anthropology on the presentation of history in Disney’s Magic Kingdom-style theme parks around the world, focusing on its Florida incarnation. After a year of my thesis sitting on a shelf gathering dust, I decided to post parts of it here. You can find these posts under the My Thesis category. Below are the resources I used to write it, and I also have a pretty serious list of Disney history and analysis blogs that I read regularly, which I’m happy to share if you email me. I hope you find the topic interesting!

Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.

Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulations. New York, NY: Semiotext(e), Inc.

Carson, C. (1995). Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose history is the fairest of them all? The Public Historian, 17(4), 61-67.

Cross, G. (2006). Crowds and leisure: Thinking comparatively across the 20th century. Journal of Social History, 39(3), 631-650.

Disney, W. (Producer), (1967). The Florida Project. Available from

Gabler, N. (2007). Walt Disney: The triumph of the American imagination. New York, NY: Random House.

Giroux, H. (1998). Public pedagogy and rodent politics: Cultural studies and the challenge of Disney. Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 2(1998), 253-266.

Fjellman, S.M. (1992). Vinyl leaves: Walt Disney and America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Francaviglia, R. (1995). History after Disney: The significance of “Imagineered” historical places. The Public Historian, 17(4), 69-74.

Hanna, J. (2008, September 12). Excerpt: ‘Jungle Jack: My Wild Life.’ Good Morning America. Retrieved from

Harris, N. (1997). Expository expositions: Preparing for the theme parks. In Marling, K.A. (Ed.), Designing Disney’s theme parks: The architecture of reassurance (19-28). New York, NY: Flammarion.

Heldman, L. (1993, May 23). Tivoli Gardens Inspired Walt Disney. Orlando Sentinal. Retrieved from disney-rides

Huyssen, A. (2003). Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Jeffers, C.S. (2004). In a cultural vortex: Theme parks, experience, and opportunities for art education. Studies in Art Education, 45(3), 221-233.

Lee, M. (2010, November 5). Disney signs agreement for Shanghai theme park. ABC News. Retrieved from

Mussenden, S. & Pierson Curtis, H. (2003, May 11). No-fly zones shield Disney’s resorts. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved from disney01.htm

Newcomb, C. (2003). Crossing the berm: The Disney theme park as sacralized space. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest UMI. (3137463)

Orvell, M. (1993). Understanding Disneyland: American mass culture and the European gaze. In R. Kroes, R.W. Rydell & D.F. Bosscher (Eds.), Cultural transmissions and receptions: American mass culture in Europe (240-253). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: VU University Press.

Patton, P. (2005, August 22). In Disney’s World, A Perfect Freeway. The NewYork Times. Retrieved from: B63

Pepper, J. (2010, November 15). A great role in the wonderful world of color [Web log post]. Retrieved from color.html (2010, December 1).

Powers, S. (2008, October 31). Hail to the new chief: Renovations to bring Disney World’s Hall of Presidents into 21st Century. Orlando Sentinal. Retrieved from artists-disney-world

Ross, A. (1999). The Celebration Chronicles. New York, NY: Ballantine Publishing Group.

Rydell, R.W. (2000). Fair America. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Sterngold, J. (1998, December 20). Back to the Future. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Surrell, J. (2007). The Disney mountains: Imagineering at its peak. New York, NY: Disney Editions. TEA/AECOM (2010). TEA/AECOM attraction attendance report for 2009. G. Jeffers (Ed.). Retrieved from

Telotte, J.P. (2008). The Mouse Machine: Disney and Technology. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. The Original Futurama (2007). Wired Magazine, 15(12). Retrieved from

Van Wert, W. (1995). Disney World and posthistory. Cultural Critique, 32(32), 187-214. Wallace, M. (1996). Mickey Mouse history and other essays on American memory. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Wasko, J. (2001). Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Weiner, L. Y. (1997). “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow”. Journal of American Culture, 20(1), 111-116.

Weinstein, R. (1992). “Disneyland and Coney Island: Reflections on the evolution of the modern amusement park.” The Journal of Popular Culture, 26(1), 131-164.

Wilson, A. (1994). The betrayal of the future: Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center. In Smooden, E. (Ed.), Disney discourse (118-128). New York, NY: Routledge.

Wright, A. (2005). The Imagineering field guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. W. Lefkon & J. Revenson, (Eds.). New York, NY: Disney Editions.

One thought on “THE THESIS

  1. Pingback: An Evolution of Form: Origins of Disney Theme Parks « WORK OF LOVE

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