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Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1466-0407
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9118



The Disney park is usually condemned as a kind of Platonic cave of illusions, where visitors are so mesmerized by the verisimilitude of the displays that they begin to take it for ‘reality’. However, the park does not so much simulate the ‘real’ as celebrate the art of simulation, the ability to construct fantasy worlds as if they are ‘real’.

Main Street USA was designed to evoke the ‘excitement of a dawning century of new technology’. This theme was continued in the Carousel of Progress attraction. There were four scenes showing the life of a typical American family through the generations and the ways their lives were continually improved by the latest advances in technology. Horizons, which opened in 1983, was a kind of sequel to Carousel. It showed the same all-American family living and working in the ‘brave new world’ of the future. Both Carousel and Horizons were ostensibly designed to promote the ideal of a technologically controlled ‘reality’. However, the shows were actually a demonstration and celebration of the power of ‘imagineering’ – the ability of Disney’s Imagineers to simulate the real.


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