While we are actually planning a for real trip to Walt Disney World later this year, and I got a new HUGE guide book to geek out over (thanks Heather and Chris), last night we were dreaming of a Disney Cruise. Disney, being a huge and diversified entertainment company, produces it's own DVDs to promote their parks and resorts and cruise line. I ordered the cruise DVD just for fun and it showed up last week, so last night we all three piled onto the couch to check it out. We popped popcorn, fixed adult (and a non-adult) beverages and clicked through all two-plus hours of what is, to be perfectly honest, a big commercial. But, as I said to a friend recently, Disney even manages to make their commercials fun. We laughed and "ooh"ed and "ahh"ed and our son shared his expertise on the subject of cruises with his two parents who've never been on one. It was a great night of family time brought to us by blatant commercialism.
As I've said, we love Disney. But we aren't naive about it. We know, even our son, that Disney is a huge mega-corporation created for the purpose of making money for its shareholders. The difference between us and those who despise The Walt "Biz"ney Company is that we are capitalists ourselves. We don't see the profit motive as a bad thing. I've worked in commissioned route sales for over 15 years. I have a very realistic and practical view of marketing. I've seen grand plans come and go, fail and succeed, but I've never seen anyone do what they do as well as the Walt Disney Company. I respect them as a business, and I love them as a consumer, and to me there is no contradiction there. When the characters from Wall-e and Up show up to help switch between scenes on the cruise line DVD, I smile, both because it is a great corporate tie-in and because it is honestly very cute and fun.
Disney is the success it is not because they take advantage of the basest elements of our culture and "trick" stupid people into throwing their money away at theme parks and cruise lines and movie theatres. Disney is the success it is because they deliver what they promise, magic. I can think of no better name for a 12-year old and his two parents happily sitting together to watch a two hour commercial. If that's not magic, nothing is.