“I can show you the world” is more then just a cute song lyric from Disney’s Aladdin but it is what Disney offers us. Disney culture has created “A whole new world” for us today. Disney portrays itself as magical, carefree, and happy. With their own channel, two amusement parks in the U.S., one in Paris, and two in Asia and a third one expected to be open in 2014, Disney has become part of many cultures throughout the world.
Growing up with Disney princesses always made me excited about growing up and getting married. I knew I wasn’t a princess nor would I ever be, but I did think I would be happily married by the time I was twenty-five. I also assumed I would not need to work, that’s what my husband would do! I even felt bad for him, whoever he may be. But Disney gave me, and thousands of other children a false perception on life. Women, the princesses, are made to be the damsels in distress who need a prince to save them. That was always the plot to the games my friends and I would play, mimicking the Disney movies. It just seemed right. Would you ever imagine a girl saving the day?
But as I got older I realized I couldn’t just say “When I grow up I want to be a singer and an actress” like I did when I was young. I realized I had to seriously think of what I wanted to do a career, what I would major in at college; Disney did not prepare me for this.
But Disney isn’t scrutinized for their stereotypes on men and women that they present to young children. In fact, they are praised. Disney promotes family and togetherness. Walt Disney World is even advertised as “Where Dreams come true”. Clearly an example of the bandwagon effect (Exaggerated claims that it’s “the best” ) This was never actually proven though. But deep down the inner child inside of me is screaming “IT’S TRUE!!!”
I’ve gone to Disney world about six times in my life, four of which were during my freshman through senior years of high school. I remember when I was young the excitement I felt seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse and riding the Teacups and buying my first Disney stuffed animal. As I got older my Dad shared his interest in pin trading and as “nerdy” as it may seem to be, I loved it! It really brought my Dad and I closer. And my Mom and I too, even though she mostly made fun.
Disney culture has influenced us in a lot of different ways. Is it all good? That is all up to interpretation, but it has made the millennial generation very different from the generations before us. We see the world in a different light. Perhaps we are in a bubble at times and don’t always see the evil in the world besides an evil step-mom. Maybe we think more outside of the box from watching Alice in Wonderland. Disney has come very far, it is a part of the world we live in and it is here to stay.