The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
November 28th, 2014
Episode 19 of 201 episodes
This is America’s vision of utopia. Generations of Americans have grown up with Walt Disney shaping our imaginations. In 1955, Disney mixed up some fairy tales, a few historical facts, and a dream of the future to create an alternate universe. Not just a place for fun, but a scale model of a perfect world. “Everything that you could imagine is there,” says one young visitor. “It's like living in a fantasy book.” And not just for kids: one-third of Walt Disney World’s visitors are adults who go without children. Visiting the parks, according to actor Tom Hanks, is like a pilgrimage — the pursuit of happiness turned into a religion. Futurist Cory Doctorow explains the genius of Disney World, while novelist Carl Hiassen even hates the water there. Kurt tours Disneyland with a second-generation “imagineer” whose dead mother haunts the Haunted Mansion. We’ll meet a former Snow White and the man who married Prince Charming — Disney, he says, is “the gayest place on Earth. It’s where happy lives.” (Originally aired October 18, 2013) What is your Disney story? Tell us in a Comment below. Special thanks to Julia Lowrie Henderson, Shannon Geis, Alex Gallafent, Nic Sammond, Steve Watts, Angela Bliss, Todd Heiden, Shannon Swanson, Katie Cooper, Nick White, Marie Fabian, Posey Gruener, Chris DeAngelis, Jenelle Pifer, Debi Ghose, Maneesh Agrawala, and Tony DeRose. Bonus Track: Cory Doctorow on the Disney theme parksHear Kurt's full conversation with Doctorow about his life-long obsession with Disney in general, and the Haunted Mansion specifically. Video: Walt Disney's original plan for Epcot Slideshow: Inside the Magic Kingdom