Disney—Childhood Takeover by Deja Sloan

For almost all people growing up in America, Disney seems to have an inescapable death grip on childhood. Aside from the obvious Disney channel and Disney movies present in many households, there are deeper examples of Disney presence exposed to children at very young ages. Consider, for example, Playhouse Disney or Disney Junior. Theses two channels are owned by Disney, specifically aimed at children 0-5. They feature bright and colorful educational programs, and even feature shows starring Disney’s mascot himself, Mickey Mouse.

As children grow older they are expected to graduate to watching plain “Disney Channel” which features shows aimed at kids about 7-13. Before this, however, consider Disney merchandise that is also aimed at young children. Growing up, almost all of my toys had to do with Disney. Weather they were replicas of those toys featured In Toy Story or stuffed versions of animals side kicks from Disney princess movies, they were just about all I had. What is so interesting about Disney’s hold on youth is how institutionalized it is. I am almost certain no child exposes itself to Disney, but is conditioned by their parents to love it, giving them no choice.

dfbsfbsgMy nephew, for example, recently celebrated his first birthday. My sister was very excited to plan his party and though his favorite TV show is Peppa Pig, (A British TV series having nothing to do with Disney) she went with a Mickey Mouse theme without so much as a second thought. I asked why she chose that over his favorite (and only show capable of really holding his attention) and all she had to say was “He’ll love it, every kid loves Disney”.  So of course, I went along. Another factor to take into consideration is the recent popularity of viral video of children’s reactions to finding out they’re going to Disney world. In many cases, it seems the parents express more excitement than kids, and the kids just go along until they’re old enough to form their own opinions, and even then they still express excitement after being conditioned by their parents for their entire lives.

With all the reading we have done in class regarding “Disney History” it seems many children (including some in our class) remember having their first historical experience through Disney.  The historical accuracy of the information however, was to be determined later in most cases. The fact of the matter is Disney has something for everyone. Whether it be Playhouse Disney, Evil villains, enchanted princesses, or even live action pirates, the iconicity of Disney stretched over many demographics of people in every stage of life. Parents see this, and take it upon themselves to prepare their children for a life of Disney.


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