Book on Disney World: “Inside the Mouse”

Inside the Mouse: Work and Play in Disney World, Duke Press, 1995Purchase.

Cover of "Inside the Mouse" book

My contribution: All photos and three essays “Reality Revisited,” “Under the Influence, ” “The Alternative Ride.”

From Duke Press: 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?”

Balloon Shopping in Disney World by Karen Klugman

Balloon Shopping, Magic Kingdom

Excerpt from “Reality Revisited”  

When I finally started to take my own pictures, nothing went as planned.  First of all, every time I put my camera to my eye, I stopped traffic.  Like many other anachronistic practices that now occur only at Disney World, such as picking up your own garbage or turning in a lost wallet, it’s an unspoken etiquette that anybody taking a picture has the right-of-way.  And, whereas I once witnessed a teenage boy drop a straw wrapper and pause long enough to exchange eye contact with his father before stooping to pick it up, I never saw anybody display the slightest reluctance to halt for the making of a picture. 

Excerpt from “The Alternative Ride”

Another urban drama — the issue of gun control — is played out everyday on the streets of Frontierland, where the Disney-staged gun fight between the good guys and the bad guys is upstaged by numerous domestic arguments involving guns. For here, as well as near other principally male attractions such as “Indiana Jones,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and the Canadian Pavilion trading posts, little boys beg their parents to buy them souvenir guns. The moral dilemma raised by the availability of guns in a place that offers an otherwise pretty innocuous selection of fare can come as a surprise. And for most people, the decision of whether to allow a child to buy a gun is no Mickey Mouse matter. In no time at all, a verbal battle between parent and child can become physical, for the guns are lined up within easy reach of their targeted buyers and the very sight of a gun held by their child can embarrass, if not frighten, parents. On the Alternative Ride, you can see them arguing or even wrestling with one another over the weapons in a much more convincing drama than the daily Western shootout at the saloon.

Masks, Disney World by Karen Klugman

Excerpt from “Under the Influence”

I had been wondering if Bob was pro-Disney when he said, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-Disney.”

In my fantasy, I hugged Bob at this point and said, “It’s OK, Bob, some of my best friends are anti-Disney. You’ve probably never met anyone who has admitted it before. But I won’t think any less of you. I certainly won’t think you’re a party pooper. I might even think you’re deep”

“It’s just that… well, let me see, how do I say it? It’s just that when I take my family on vacation…” continued Bob.

I was hanging on every work and watching Bob’s mouth as he formed the words: I don’t like to go somewhere where they chew the food for you.”