Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What Makes A Disney Culture? Part 2

I apologize for my absence over the past month.   Between finishing my grad school application and the holidays I had to put my little blog on hold.  But I’m back now, and I should be posting more regularly.

Moving on through my fun little analysis of how our Disney community is in fact a culture, let’s take a look at a few of the other characteristics we share.

We absolutely share physical/material traits.  This is seen in our Disney collections, whatever they may be - Pins, movies, clothing, figurines, even Disney antiques or tickets.  Often our Park visits consist of souvenir shopping or even consuming Park-specific food, such as Dole-whips, or Mickey pretzels, furthering our way of physically connecting ourselves to Disney.

Mouse Ears, a classic material shared trait! 

Fitting hand in hand with material practices is behavioral rituals or norms.  Again, visiting the Parks in and of itself is a behavioral trait.  You may have an attraction you always ride first, or a spot you always sit in for a show.  You may split off and meet back at the hub for ice cream.  Or if it involves the films you may watch your favorite Disney movie whenever you are home sick.  Each norm or custom you develop is familiar to the rest of the Disney community because even if we do things differently, we know the magical (excuse the cliché) feeling we get when we fall into that normativity and familiar routine.

The last shared characteristic of the Disney culture is that of symbolism.  In other words, the language we share and the institutions we have formed over certain aspects in Disney culture.  For example, when communicating in social media we often adapt acronyms of abbreviations for things that occur often.  During the New Fantasyland construction and previews the term FLE sufficed as Fantasyland Expansion.  The Parks have become DLR for Disneyland Resort, or DCA for Disney’s California Adventure, and MK, DAK, DHS, WDW, etc.  We do love our acronyms, especially on Twitter where characters are limited.  We also share affinities for certain other symbols, such as the iconic castle image for Walt Disney Pictures before each Disney film, the famous Disneyland Opening Day speech by Walt, or the theme song from any certain fireworks show we have come to know and love. 

You have to love this one.

All of these things work together in the definition of our culture.  If it feels like we are one big family, it’s because we kind of are!  Of course we all see certain things in different lights, as I noted in Part 1, but that’s just another part of belonging to this complex and beautiful culture of Disney.


  1. Of course a lot of those traits are exhibited in every day life as well, not just at Disneyland! I think it is interesting that "nerd culture" has become such a thing, but I get the feeling that Disney nerds will never be cool to most people!

  2. That's so true. I mostly keep my Disney obsession to myself cause if you don't get it, you don't get it, you know? It has a connotation to the general population that can't really be shaken unless you're part of the community and see all the history and angles Disney really has.