The Nemofication of Nature: Animals, Artificiality, and Affect at Disney World
When Disney opened The Living Seas pavilion at Epcot in 1986, Disney tourists were transported to “Seabase Alpha,” an imaginary ocean research facility of the future that emphasized ecology and environmentalism instead of relying on the nostalgia and fantasy common to the Magic Kingdom. In 2001, faced with dwindling crowds, Disney began to transform the pavilion to focus on the characters from the Pixar film Finding Nemo, with the attraction renamed The Seas with Nemo and Friends. In this chapter, Jennifer A. Kokai draws attention to the diminishment of live non-human creatures in favor of more easily controlled and anthropomorphized animals, which she terms “Nemofication.” Many theme parks, like Disney, lean into this anthropomorphization with the idea that it will inspire guests to care more about the natural world, but at the same time, the framing choices built into the attractions ironically provide ecologically unsustainable choices, poor information, and shallow thinking as examples for visitors.
KeywordsEnvironmentalism Ecology Disney world The Living Seas Finding Nemo
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