Analysis of Walt Disney's Impact on Our Nation's Shopping Centers.

Essay by lora27High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2005

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Almost all Americans have heard the name Walt Disney. He created Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth. Walt Disney played a larger role in American society than just providing entertainment; many developers turn to part of his park, Main Street USA, for ideas when they are designing modern American shopping malls. In "Main Street Revisited," Richard Francaviglia claims that Main Street is a stage where several varieties of human dramas are performed concurrently and that each person is an actor with a designated role that is dependent on his or her association with the "set" (Francaviglia 398). In addition, he also declares that despite the fact that it is driven by commerce, Main Street is predominantly a social atmosphere (Francaviglia 402). Depending on Walt Disney's motives, developers' dependency on Disney's unrealistic Main Street to build their malls may have caused a distorted environment in today's shopping centers, one that some could even charge as corrupt.

In his book, Francaviglia explores Main Street USA and the effect that it has had on American malls. Main Street USA is an archetypal model of an American main street; it is how Main Street should have been according to Disney, not how historians say it really was. It lacks things that hinted at the turmoil in real life, such as pool halls and bars, which were prevalent in a typical turn of the century Main Street. Disney used lighting to his benefit and created a dazzling arrangement of rim lighting in Main Street USA, something that would probably not have been found on a typical main street. Francaviglia states that developers use Disney's Main Street as a prototype for modern shopping centers. His main argument is that Main Street USA's lack of realism has indirectly affected our nation's malls and culture.