Theme Parks: From “McDonaldization” to “Disneyization”

In today’s society, we are gradually shifting from the efficiency-oriented “McDonaldization” to the “Disneyization” that focuses on humanity, emotion, and warmth. The so-called “McDonaldization” represents a highly efficient socialization process, while “Disneyization” turns to focus on individual feelings, emotions, and warmth.

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McDonaldization v.s. Disneyization

“McDonaldization” is explained through four main elements proposed by sociologist George Ritz, including efficiency, measurability, predictability, and control. However, this efficient standardized experience cannot fully meet today’s society’s demand for more diverse and personalized experiences. On the contrary, “Disneyization” provides a more personalized experience and brings new revelations to the park industry.
Sociologist Alan Bryman summarized the four characteristics of the Disney model in his book “The Disneyization of Society”, including thematization, mixed consumption, commodification and performative labor. Disney integrates stories into spaces to create a specific cultural atmosphere and experience; while mixed consumption allows consumers to conduct a variety of different consumption activities in the same scene, creating a unique consumption experience.
When we look back at Disneyland itself, it’s the phenomenon of applying elements of Disneyland’s success to other theme parks or cultures. From a sociological perspective, this means that theme parks attempt to imitate Disney’s social and cultural influence in order to better attract and be recognized by the public.

What aspects can be used to improve theme parks?

“Disneyization” not only represents the development trend of the park industry, but also a response that pays attention to human nature, emotion, and warmth. It allows people to escape stress and immerse themselves in fairy tale beauty, which is what paradise is all about. Over time, we believe “Disneyfication” will become the future of theme parks.

  • Social Impact: Create social interactions and family activities that strengthen connections between visitors.
  • Cultural Steering: Create elements with local or global cultural impact that appeal to a wider audience.
  • Service standards: Design high-standard services in line with our own service concepts, improve visitor experience, and establish a good reputation.
  • Innovation and storytelling: Develop engaging storylines and experiences to attract more visitors.
  • Sustainable development: Integrate environmental protection and social responsibility into operations and construction, in line with contemporary social values.

What can theme park do?

When we talk about “Disneyfication,” underlying it is a desire for personalized, emotional experiences. If a theme park wants to achieve “Disney-ification”, it can start from the following aspects.

  1. Create a unique experience: Disneyland creates a unique cultural atmosphere through themed and scripted settings. Other theme parks can try to create personalized, engaging themes to create unique experiences that immerse visitors.
  2. Interactive experience: Disney is known for its rich interactive elements, and theme park rides can combine technology and innovation to provide more interactive experiences to allow visitors to participate in the story.
  3. Cultural Integration: An important aspect of attracting visitors is integrating local cultural elements into the park. Draw from Disney and other cultures to create elements that appeal to local and global audiences.
  4. Employee interaction: Employees are key to creating a park atmosphere. Training employees to become active park “cast members” can enhance the interactive experience for guests.
  5. Participation for the whole family: Activities and rides are designed with visitors of all ages in mind. Disneyland excels at engaging the entire family, and other theme parks could follow suit.
  6. Ambience: Disneyland creates a unique atmosphere through music, decorations, architecture, and landscaping. Theme parks can draw inspiration from this to enhance the visitor experience through environment creation.

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“Disneyfication” represents the development trend of the park industry toward more personal, emotional and unique experiences. In pursuing higher levels of service and experience, theme parks can draw inspiration from Disney’s success and create beautiful places that keep people coming back and enjoying themselves.

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