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Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Deluxe Edition

Mickey Mouse Monopoly shed light on the misrepresentation, appropriation, and stereotyping of

those considered “other” by The Walt Disney Company. Disney is built upon an unchallenged

cisheteropatriarchy that dresses its pervasive whitewashing up in innocence and song. More

specifically, Disney chooses to represent Black people as monkeys or lazy crows, Latinos as

Chihuahuas, and women as big breasted seductresses. While Disney conceals these subplots,

their existence is unsurprising since its board of directors is 75% male, 80% of whom are white

("Investor Relations - Stock Information, Events, Reports, Financial Information, Shareholder

Information - The Walt Disney Company.”). Another Disney subplot exists about 15 miles south

of Orlando in Celebration, FL.

Celebration, FL is the brainchild of Walt Disney, although it didn’t come into fruition

until after his death. In preparation for the construction of the Florida theme parks, Walt Disney

had purchased land that would accommodate his future plans. In The Economist’s 2016 article,

What Disney’s city of the future, built to look like the past, says about the present, the author

describes:

At the heart of this land, “would be an ‘experimental prototype community of tomorrow’.

This community would have 20,000 residents, a central business district and futuristic

public transport. Cars and lorries would be hidden away underground. It was planned as a

showcase of modern technology and the ‘ingenuity and imagination of American free

enterprise.”
The city was built around the aesthetic of a 1950 small towns with a town doctor,

superior schools and healthcare, and ironically, a ban on corporations and chains. The Economist

describes this town as, “white, white collar, and Republican,” and its advertisements promised,

“neighbors greet[ing] neighbors in the quiet of summer twilight” ("What Disney's city of the

future, built to look like the past, says about the present," 2016). The basis of the city is eerily

reminiscent of the movie Pleasantville, in which Toby McGuire’s character becomes so obsessed

with a 1950s sitcom that he finds a way to transport himself into the TV set. One flaw existed in

Disney’s blueprints, however, that didn’t exist in Pleasantville. Celebration could keep the white

people in, but it couldn’t keep the “others” out.

In fact, what proved to be the flaw in Celebration’s plans for success was also what

spoiled the façade of a town based on openness and community. That is, as soon as

Celebrationers realized that public schools meant other residents of Osceola County could attend

the same schools as their children, residents began to leave. In other words, Celebration residents

realized that non-white children from families that earn half as much as the median Celebration

family would be going to school with their children (Celebration, FL; Osceola, FL). The lack of

structure within the school system proved ineffective. Shortly thereafter, homeowners began

drafting lawsuits due to exorbitant maintenance fines, structural problems within the home and

mold. In 2010, Celebration had its first murder (Severson, 2010).

Celebration existed as an extension of Walt Disney’s dream of a crimeless utopia without

corruption, pollution or “otherness.” What the developers of Celebration did not take into

account, however, is that Walt Disney died in 1966. Modern America has no place for exclusion

and separatism. As hard as Celebration and, in some ways, the south in general has made

attempts to gridlock itself into the mid 1900s, what Celebration has proven is that societies
cannot exist without inclusion and acceptance. And, more than that, societies depend on

“otherness” to prosper.

References

Celebration, FL. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/celebration-fl/

Investor Relations - Stock Information, Events, Reports, Financial Information, Shareholder

Information - The Walt Disney Company. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/investor-relations/#corporate-governance

Osceola County, FL. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/osceola-county-fl/

Picker, M. (Director). (2002). Mickey Mouse Monopoly [DVD]. United States of America:

Media Education Foundation.

Severson, K. (2010, December 2). Celebration, Fla., Has Its First Killing. Retrieved from

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/us/03celebration.html

What Disney's city of the future, built to look like the past, says about the present. (2016,

December 24). Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/news/united-

states/21712156-utopia-i-4-what-disneys-city-future-built-look-past-says-about