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Analysis Of Walt Disney's Impact On Our Nation's Shopping Centers.

1773 words - 7 pages

Almost all Americans have heard the name Walt Disney. He created Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. Walt Disney played a larger role in American society than just providing entertainment; many developers turn to part of his park, Main Street USA, for ideas when they are designing modern American shopping malls. In "Main Street Revisited," Richard Francaviglia claims that Main Street is a stage where several varieties of human dramas are performed concurrently and that each person is an actor with a designated role that is dependent on his or her association with the "set" (Francaviglia 398). In addition, he also declares that despite the fact that it is driven by commerce, Main Street is predominantly a social atmosphere (Francaviglia 402). Depending on Walt Disney's motives, developers' dependency on Disney's unrealistic Main Street to build their malls may have caused a distorted environment in today's shopping centers, one that some could even charge as corrupt.In his book, Francaviglia explores Main Street USA and the effect that it has had on American malls. Main Street USA is an archetypal model of an American main street; it is how Main Street should have been according to Disney, not how historians say it really was. It lacks things that hinted at the turmoil in real life, such as pool halls and bars, which were prevalent in a typical turn of the century Main Street. Disney used lighting to his benefit and created a dazzling arrangement of rim lighting in Main Street USA, something that would probably not have been found on a typical main street. Francaviglia states that developers use Disney's Main Street as a prototype for modern shopping centers. His main argument is that Main Street USA's lack of realism has indirectly affected our nation's malls and culture. This has potentially caused a distorted atmosphere in America's shopping centers.Francaviglia states, "If this description of [Main Street USA] sounds familiar, and it should indeed, that is because it has in fact become the model of the typical American mall..." (Francaviglia 400). In other words, Francaviglia is saying that Disney's Main Street has had a substantial effect on today's malls. Many people would never see the correlation between Disney's main street creation and our nation's shopping centers. However, it is a proven fact that developers have turned to Main Street USA for ideas when creating malls. The question is why.Before we address that question, let's first examine why Disney made Main Street USA. Francaviglia's opinion is that Disney had altruistic motives when creating the attraction. He doesn't think that Disney made Main Street USA solely for monetary gain. Disney himself said there should be "a wienie at the end of every street" (Francaviglia 398). The wienie fits rights right into Disney's theme of contentment in his park; it is something that can keep everyone happy.So perhaps Main Street USA was just another one of Disney's creations to accentuate...

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