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Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community?

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  • [Chat] Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community?

    There was an interesting article on IO9 about the possiblity of Star Trek fans enjoy a 'religion' type community - and the author Michael Jindra in the journal Sociology of Religion brought up this point of Trekkies and their world:

    "But early on I realized I was dealing with something much bigger and more complex than I had anticipated...it had features that paralleled a religious-type movement: an origin myth, a set of beliefs, an organization, and some of the most active and creative members to be found anywhere…Religion often points us to another world; [Star Trek] does the same."

    So that boils us down to some questions about our fandom: Disney. More specifically, I'm talking Disneyland. I'm not talking that Disneyland fans are 'in a religion', but that the community uses specific things that parallel several common traits that religions have.

    So, let's look at these questions and see how they interact with our community:

    (1) Does the religion have a founding prophet and an origin myth?

    While Walt Disney started it all with a mouse, it's obvious that Disneyland was created upon several reasons. Walt's opening day speech says it well:

    “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past...and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America...with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

    Right there is our origin story and myth. We know that this is the reason Walt opened Disneyland - he told it right to us. We have a connection to not only a person, but a grand purpose for Disneyland!

    (2) Does the religion have scripture and an accepted canon?

    It would seem that in our community that in order to bring out the best opinion possible, many of our members quote Walt himself. I would argue that many of the phrases that we see come up over and over again (Disneyland is not a museum...,Disneyland will never be complete..., etc.) are used as a guide of the direct that Disneyland should take. The 'accepted canon' would be the history of the park itself. From Walt , to his death, to Pressler, Ouimet, and others - Disneyland has a 'accepted canon'. Many people belive that Matt Ouimet was the one who 'saved' the parks from what Pressler did - and so we 'accept' that.

    (3) Does the religion have a unifying belief system? Does it offer salvation?

    I would argue that the ideas behing Disneyland, and Walt's opening speech - signify why we keep going to the parks. We have this belief that 'all who come to this happy place are welcome'. Even our varing meets show us this - when people of all types come together for fun times in the park.

    As for 'salvation' - I wouldn't put it that high. However, before meeting my Disneyland friends online (and in the park) - I had little social life, and was seriously confused over who I was. This community helped me through bad times, helped me figure out who I was - and most important was there as a support group. So, while the park didn't 'save me' - I believe that the community of people I met there did.

    4) Are adherents of the religion sometimes stigmatized by nonbelievers?

    From personal experience, I know this is true. There are some people that just don't see what many of us see in Disneyland. They see nothing more than a theme park. I see friends, family, memories and wonderful times. I get harassed (jokingly) all the time about my Disneyland obsession - at work, home, etc.

    Anyway, I thought the article was interesting enough to lay out some parallels for our community that we have here.
    Last edited by Monorail Man; 05-29-2009, 03:04 PM.
    -Monorail Man

  • #2
    Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

    very true, the only thing missing is the Kool-Aid...Yikes!
    sigpicI reject your reality and substitute my own

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    • #3
      Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

      All I know is Walt isn't the transcendent force in my life!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

        Very well thought out, Monorail Man! That is actually kind of cool how almost everything fit into those rules well. I have never thought of 'the LAND' that way, but I believe you may have changed my perspective! :blush:



        Good Job!!! :thumbup:




        --KAN

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        • #5
          Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

          I have never been religious but i think you convicned me into a new religion!
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz-c7Ees4QQ

          Come Celebrate with us, we can't wait to meet ya!

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          • #6
            Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

            Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community?
            For those of us baby boomers who grew up watching "Uncle Walt" on TV every week... not a chance. He was a very real guy.

            For the more recent generations who've had Walt, Walt and more Walt shoved down their throats by the current "Walt" Disney Company, which hypes him like a patron saint of the very creativity, innovation and showmanship that it does not possess... who knows? )


            "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
            Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
            imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

            - Neil Gabler

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            • #7
              Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

              Meh. Regardless of what you try to sell, creating customer loyalty is key. It creates word-of-mouth (cheaper and more effective) advertising. It assures subsequent uses, etc.
              Religions simply use the same aspects. So, the whole premise is backward.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                Originally posted by Monorail Man View Post
                ...Quimet... Matt Quimet ...
                It's an "O," not a "Q." Please make a note of it.

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                • #9
                  Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                  Very, very interesting. Great Job!!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                    Originally posted by sediment View Post
                    It's an "O," not a "Q." Please make a note of it.
                    Whoops! I've typed it right dozens of times before.
                    -Monorail Man

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                    • #11
                      Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                      It worked for Hubbard! :P

                      No really, this is pretty interesting. I agree with the commenter above who said it might be different from the people who grew up seeing Walt on TV and in the parks and such, since he was tangible. BUT, for those of us who never got the pleasure of growing up with Walt's presence, I'd say there might be some validity to all of this! :P

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                      • #12
                        Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                        For those of us baby boomers who grew up watching "Uncle Walt" on TV every week... not a chance. He was a very real guy.

                        For the more recent generations who've had Walt, Walt and more Walt shoved down their throats by the current "Walt" Disney Company, which hypes him like a patron saint of the very creativity, innovation and showmanship that it does not possess...
                        It's not just the Company hyping Walt the Legend. There are many in the community itself who do the same. What Would Walt Do?

                        Besides, many religions are based around real people. Walt being a "real guy" wouldn't disqualify him from anything.
                        .

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                        • #13
                          Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                          Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                          For those of us baby boomers who grew up watching "Uncle Walt" on TV every week... not a chance. He was a very real guy.
                          Right you are. Except I always followed Annette's lead and called him Mr. Disney.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                            In regards to the religious connotations. I see it more along the lines of a hobby or a vice. It's fun, we enjoy it, it's very easy to get addicted to it and get carried away. Whenever individuals start pulling out the Walt quotes to justify their side of a discussion I always reply with;

                            "We're out of toilet paper" - Walt Disney

                            It may not be written down in any books as an official quote, but he definitely said it at some point in his life! I say that to remind people that Walt was human. It reminds people that he wasn't perfect, that he made mistakes, that sometimes things didn't go perfect. The other thing is to remind people that a lot of time has passed between his death and now. People are quick to assume he would have remained the same man... there's no telling what life experiences may have altered his opinions on any number of things.

                            So I would say no to a "religion" but I would agree to various degrees of fandom ranging from the fanatics to those who visit the parks once or twice in their life. However people don't "dress up" as Walt... unlike Star Trek our "uniforms" tend to be Mickey Ears.
                            "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

                            sigpic

                            "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Our 'Church of Walt' - does Disneyland fandom parallel a religious-type community

                              Originally posted by techskip View Post
                              "We're out of toilet paper" - Walt Disney
                              Profound on so many levels.
                              You think those managers in TDA check the stalls in Adventureland? No way! If only they did things like Walt....

                              Kumbaya, my Walt, Kumbaya....

                              Comment

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