Disney World is seen as an artificial, programmed environment in the eyes of Susan Willis, a Duke University English professor (84). To her, the practice of amusement seems as catastrophic as the end of mankind. I disagree and believe that there is nothing wrong with amusement. In the words of Aristotle, “But to amuse oneselfseems right, for amusement is a sort of relaxation, and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously” (Cahn, 124). Disney World offers venues for relaxation and amusement. It tailors the visitor’s experience through theme parks such as MGM Studios, Epcot Center, and The Magic Kingdom. These parks each present a unique entertainment experience that attracts children and adults alike. Ms. Willis, Disney World may be a manufactured sphere of fantasy but it provides entertainment and amusement that is both beneficial and necessary for people.
When I finally stumbled upon the spherical, disproportional, black ears of Mickey Mouse, we shook hands and I was overcome by a feeling of warmth and joy. I had wandered the Magic Kingdom all day in search of my favorite characters and I suddenly found myself tilting my neck upward to see Mickey’s permanent smile staring happily down at me. Later that day, the heralded parade along Main Street U.S.A. commenced with astounding beauty and energy. The dazzling colors and larger than life floats were undoubtedly appealing to every child’s imagination. Characters seen before only on television were transformed into three-dimensional life. Through Disney’s entertainment, fantasy became reality.
Amusement reciprocates into education at Disney World, specifically at MGM Studios and Epcot Center. A tour through the back lots of MGM leads the entertained to real studios where the Nickolodeon channel films a few of its popular game shows. Close by lie actual animation labs where gleeful tourists get a glimpse of Disney’s artists skillfully weaving through the animation process. Epcot Center, with its mall of international countries, allows visitors to learn about the culture of a foreign country through sidewalk shows, specialty shops, and eclectic restaurants. The culture of each country is displayed with a high degree of authenticity, as the employees are natives of their respective countries.
As Disney World electrifies brave visitors with its heart pounding rides, other visitors can devote their time to relaxation. With a choice of numerous resorts, guests of Disney World can take a day off from the theme parks while being sufficiently entertained. Disney’s luxurious resorts feature championship golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, and live shows. As tourists relax, they can also explore various activities at their leisure.
An increasing number of tourists flock to Disney World each year to be amused. The treatment and entertainment they are exposed to is first class. Disney World’s worthwhile entertainment is displayed through its many attractions. It is evident that fantasy, learning, and relaxation play major roles in the allure of Disney World.
Humans will always need entertainment because play and activity have their limits. There lies a balance between activity and amusement. I believe Disney World has succeeded in its quest to make the latter a beneficial part of people’s lives.
Cahn, Steven M. Classic And Contemporary Readings In The Philosophy Of Education.
New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997.