American Icons: The Disney Parks
Friday, October 18, 2013
This is America’s vision of utopia.
Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping our imaginations. In 1955, Disney mixed up some fairy tales, a few historical facts, and a dream of the future to create an alternate universe. Not just a place for fun, but a scale model of a perfect world. “Everything that you could imagine is there,” says one young visitor. “It's like living in a fantasy book.” And not just for kids: one-third of Walt Disney World’s visitors are adults who go without children. Visiting the parks, according to actor Tom Hanks, is like a pilgrimage — the pursuit of happiness turned into a religion.
Futurist Cory Doctorow explains the genius of Disney World, while novelist Carl Hiaasen even hates the water there. Kurt tours Disneyland with a second-generation “imagineer” whose dead mother haunts the Haunted Mansion. We’ll meet a former Snow White and the man who married Prince Charming — Disney, he says, is “the gayest place on Earth. It’s where happy lives.”
Special thanks to Julia Lowrie Henderson, Shannon Geis, Alex Gallafent, Nic Sammond, Steve Watts, Angela Bliss, Todd Heiden, Shannon Swanson, Katie Cooper, Nick White, Marie Fabian, Posey Gruener, Jason Margolis, Chris DeAngelis, Jenelle Pifer, Debi Ghose, Maneesh Agrawala, and Tony DeRose.
Bonus Track: Cory Doctorow on the Disney theme parks
Hear Kurt's full conversation with Doctorow about his life-long obsession with Disney in general, and the Haunted Mansion specifically.
Video: Walt Disney's original plan for Epcot
Slideshow: Inside the Magic Kingdom
Beauty and the BeastArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
PinocchioArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
Snow White and the Seven DwarfsArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
Wall-EArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
Mary PoppinsArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
The Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music from the film
Pirates of the CaribbeanArtist: DisneyAlbum: Music and dialogue from the attraction
Great Moments with Mr. LincolnArtist: DisneyAlbum: Walt Disney and the 1964 World’s Fair
Grim, Grinning GhostsArtist: Bare Naked LadiesAlbum: The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Hits
Main ThemeArtist: Danny ElfmanAlbum: Edward Scissorhands
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (Music Box)Artist: Sleephead SymphonyAlbum: When You Wish Upon a Star
Nocturnes, Op. 55: No. 1 in F MinorArtist: Arthur RubinsteinAlbum: Chopin 19 Nocturnes
Chim Chim ChereeArtist: Duke Ellington OrchestraAlbum: Duke Ellington: The Reprise Studio Recordings
Someday My Prince Will ComeArtist: Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi & Lenny WhiteAlbum: Jazz in the Garden
Someday My Prince Will ComeArtist: Miles DavisAlbum: Someday My Prince Will Come
Someday My Prince Will ComeArtist: Tigran HamasyanAlbum: Fable
Someday My Prince Will ComeArtist: Norman Simmons TrioAlbum: Satin Doll