DISNEY-COMMON IN ANY LANGUAGE

    Where can you go and visit 11 countries in only a few hours? Here, there is no plane required.  In 1982 Disney created EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  This new addition to Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida, was initially conceived by Walt Disney in October of 1966.  This theme park was to combine the future with the present and many world cultures with the ideology of one culture. EPCOT consists of two definitive sections, one being the futuristic section towards the front of the park and the entire rear portion of the park is referred to as The World Showcase.  This area surrounds a large lake and consists of eleven pavilions, each devoted to the culture of a different country.  Stephen Birnbaum once stated in his guide to Walt Disney World that the World Showcase, “…celebrates the diversity of the world’s peoples, portraying a stunning array of nations with extraordinary devotion to detail.”(Birnbaum, 1998).

    The World Showcase was designed to bring the culture and beauty of eleven different countries to a 1.3 mile area.  Countries such as, Mexico, France, Norway, The United Kingdom, Japan, China, Morocco, Germany, Italy, and The United States comprise this showcase of ethnic diversity.  The Disney Corporation knew that it would be a diffucult task to keep this endeavor  authentic to these culture’s traditions; however, this company has solved its problems and provided people of  these countries with a wealth of opportunities, as well as , providing a wonderful learning experience to this parks visitors.

    Disney hired landscapers, architects, masons, chefs, and artisans from each nation to take their cultural background  and create the pavilion representing their country.  Each pavilion's structure is made from materials imported from these nations and landscaped with living plants that would be found in these areas.  The goods that are merchandised are often produced on the grounds of the park by the artisans from those countries.  The restaurants are replicas of dining establishments that can be found in those regions and the chefs often  come from the original restaurants that these replicas are modeled after.  A culture is not complete without entertainment.  Disney brought dancers, singers, and artists to perform each day in the courtyards of their nations' pavilion.

    Walt Disney Corporation has also designed an internship program for college students of these countries.  Many of the waiters and waitresses, as well as those who work around the pavilions, have received internships with Disney to come and work in the pavilion of their nation for the length of one year.  With the precautions Disney took to complete its endeavor, people still raise arguments against the cultural diversity of the Disney Corporation.

    The Walt Disney Corporation has made great efforts to make this area of EPCOT an authentic learning place for anyone who visits.  Each pavilion displays the history of each nation through riding attractions, movies, or animated productions.  It is difficult to see incidents where Disney does not support cultural diversity after visiting these sites.  It seems that this company has gone out of its way to create a place where the history and culture of many nations can combine in the confines of one culture.

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This tutorial was produced for Psy 324, Advanced Social Psychology, Spring 1999 at Miami University.  All graphics are from the public domain, used with permission or under fair use guidelines, or were created by the authors.  Social Psychology / Miami University (Ohio USA).  Last revised: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 22:58:20. This document has been accessed 1 times since 1 May 1999. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman.