Inside the Mouse

Work and Play at Disney World

Inside the Mouse

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 52 b&w photographs Published: April 1995

Cultural Studies, Media Studies

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.


“As this lively collection of essays makes clear, keeping Walt’s magic alive takes a toll not only on the people who wear the costumes and take the reservations but also on the collective imagination of the visitors who are seduced into believing that painstakingly scripted photo ops, stomach drops, and shopping sprees represent leisure. . . . The book is impressive not only for its range of topics but also for its animated, even playful, way with academic concepts.” — Elizabeth Larson, Utne Reader

“This is a rare and valuable book of public and social history, the product of three years of ethnographic fieldwork at Disney World. . . . [These] essays, written in sharp, accessible prose, combine trenchant analysis with personal narratives, interviews and illustrations.” — Sally Singer, TLS

"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


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

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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Sales/Territorial Rights: World exc European Union

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1624-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1607-7
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