Oct 5, 2009

Global Media and Disney's Planned Community

Robert McChesney’s article, “The Media System Goes Global” discusses the rise of the global media system and the companies that made. McChesney also lists and discusses the holdings of the three biggest media companies at the time: Time Warner, Walt Disney Company, and News Corporation. Since the article was written, the four largest media conglomerates are Disney, AOL/Time Warner (which merged in 2000 and may split again soon), Viacom, and News Corporation. McChesney also examines how global media and hypercommercialism affects neoliberal democracy. McChesney concludes that the people of the world should participate as active citizens instead of just passive consumers to combat media conglomerate take-over.

I was particularly interested in one part of Disney’s holding that McChesney briefly mentions:

Disney has even launched its own planned community near its Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, replete with Disney-run schools and social services (204).

I find this absolutely terrifying.

I was unaware this existed, so I did a little bit of research. The community is Celebration, Florida. According to Wikipedia, Celebration is an unincorporated master planned community in Osceola County Florida.

Downtown Celebration Photo from Wikipedia.

The community was spear-headed in the early 90’s and the first residential area was built in 1996. Celebration is very Disney- there is even a road that connects it to the Walt Disney World Resorts.

I couldn’t find much information on how the schools are run, but McChesney suggests in his article that Disney itself runs them. It seems completely outrageous for any corporation to run a school. The lack of a media literacy class is one thing, but when a corporation runs a school, children will be taught to buy Disney. Children will grow up with an alliance to Disney, because that’s where they live. Talk about brand loyalty.

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