Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World

Overview


This entertaining and playful book views Disney World as much more than the site of an ideal family vacation. Blending personal meditations, interviews, photographs, and cultural analysis, Inside the Mouse looks at Disney World’s architecture and design, its consumer practices, and its use of Disney characters and themes. This book takes the reader on an alternative ride through "the happiest place on earth" while asking "What makes this forty-three-square-mile theme park the ...
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Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World

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Overview


This entertaining and playful book views Disney World as much more than the site of an ideal family vacation. Blending personal meditations, interviews, photographs, and cultural analysis, Inside the Mouse looks at Disney World’s architecture and design, its consumer practices, and its use of Disney characters and themes. This book takes the reader on an alternative ride through "the happiest place on earth" while asking "What makes this forty-three-square-mile theme park the quintessential embodiment of American leisure?"
Turning away from the programmed entertainment that Disney presents, the authors take a peek behind the scenes of everyday experience at Disney World. In their consideration of the park as both private corporate enterprise and public urban environment, the authors focus on questions concerning the production and consumption of leisure. Featuring over fifty photographs and interviews with workers that strip "cast members" of their cartoon costumes, this captivating work illustrates the high-pressure dynamics of the typical family vacation as well as a tour of Disney World that looks beyond the controlled facade of themed attractions.
As projects like EuroDisney and the proposed Disney America test the strength of the Disney cultural monolith, Inside the Mouse provides a timely assessment of the serious business of supplying pleasure in contemporary U.S. culture. Written for the general reader interested in the many worlds of Disney, this engrossing volume will also find fans among students and scholars of cultural studies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A very inviting combination of high theory and informal memoir, Inside the Mouse reworks some of the groundrules for writing cultural studies. Concentrating on issues of family, work, consumption, pleasure, and representation, it is original, highly thoughtful, and very engaging."—Eric Smoodin, editor of Disney Discourse: Producing the Magic Kingdom
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If you're not an unquestioning Disney fan, this peek into ``the happiest place on earth'' is alternately illuminating, disturbing and, aptly, even a little goofy. Punctuated by Karen Klugman's photographs (decidedly not the stuff of Kodak Picture Spots), the Project on Disney (Klugman, of the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Conn., and Jane Kuenz, Shelton Waldrep and Susan Willis of Duke's English department) offer anecdotes from their trips to Disney World before riffing on such trendy cultural-studies topics as Foucaultian surveillance, mall culture, tourism, postmodern architecture and the carnivalesque. In the chapter on ``Working at the Rat,'' past and present employees dish Disney. We learn that the percentage of gay and lesbian Disney World workers is high (estimates range from 25% to 75% of the park's work force), that employees sneak in after hours to have sex and that many workers use amphetamines to accrue overtime (surprisingly, Disney does not test the majority of its park employees for drugs). The management structure, day-to-day operations and Disney ethos are detailed, as are the appalling, even stomach-turning, working conditions endured by the ``head-wearers,'' which'll make you pause before posing for a grip-and-grin with Mickey. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822316244
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Series: Post-Contemporary Interventions
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

The members of The Project on Disney are Jane Kuenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Southern Maine; Karen Klugman, photographer and teacher at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut; Shelton Waldrep, Visiting Assistant Professor of English, University of Southern Maine; and Susan Willis, Associate Professor of English at Duke University.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2009

    Absolutely painful to read.

    This book seems like one persons account of a botched trip. This book had NO points of interest at all. I found myself flipping chapters like one person flips pages TRYING to find SOMETHING worth reading. I would rather shave off all of my body hair only to replace it with glass shards than to read one more word of this book. I never could figure out what this book was trying to accomplish. This book promised to be an insiders guide to backstage Disney, however it seemed more like jumbled trash can filings of college thesis' from a number of retarded donkeys who were forced to eat thalidomide as children while playing with iron rods at a power company before their parents tried to put the kids flaming carcasses out with a logging chain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    I wish ZERO stars where an option

    If I wanted to hear some loser¿s personal vacation memoirs I¿d ask a neighbor to watch his vacation video, but when I shell out $18.95, I would have liked it to actually tell me something other than ¿blah blah blah I went to Disney once and my husband didn¿t want to spend $40 on a pare of shorts for our daughter¿ If writing books is this easy, every Disney vacation-er must be an author every time they send a post card!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    Too much socio-babble

    Disney World is fascinating on many levels and I hoped to find out some 'back stage' information about how it functions. There was some of that in this book but I had to pick through the socio-babble: '(Hal) Foster distinguishes this nostalgic postmodern reaction from what he terms 'poststructuralist postmodernism,' which is 'profoundly antihumanist' and, one could say, antirealist.' I'm not saying this book is not valuable, just don't be taken in by the back cover, which describes it as 'entertaining' and 'playful'.

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