150-165. Disney World 1987-1996

I had intended to photograph the many tourist attractions throughout Central Florida when relocating to DeLand in 1987. South Beach was done and gone, and I preferred what had been there to what was coming. I went to Disney World, and that first time convinced me that I had no need to go to other theme parks; it was that rich in meaning and photographic possibilities.

A family vacation to Disney World is a virtual pilgrimage, a baptismal plunging into a reality of make believe. Disney “imagineers” carefully package the Disney World illusion of reality; they redefine good, clean fun with Orwellian machination. The financial success of Disney World’s burgeoning commercial ventures confirms that the cloroxed world of Disney is preferable to the dirty, real world full of woes, cracks in the sidewalks, and choices among different evils. Nothing is real at Disney World except the reality of the transformation of self through myth and fantasy. What a visitor sees and does at the theme parks is only a fairy-dusted shadow of life on the outside–a simulacrum, a faint unreal likeness of how people have defined themselves through modernism. It has also become a rite of passage, a way a family might find sanctification.