Married to the Mouse

Walt Disney World and Orlando

Richard E. Foglesong

View Inside Price: $25.00


April 10, 2003
274 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus. + 6 maps
ISBN: 9780300098280
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth

Joined together in an “economic development marriage,” Walt Disney World and Orlando, Florida, have become the world’s most popular tourist destination. This intriguing book traces the evolution of the relationship between the Disney Co. and the surrounding community since it began in the 1960s. Like most close relationships, the Disney-Orlando union has involved conflict and compromise. Richard Foglesong shows that this evolving relationship validates the adage: whom you marry affects what you may become.

Foglesong explains how Orlando leaders seduced the Disney Co. with big road projects, how the Disney Co. shielded its property from government regulation, and how the company has used the governmental powers it acquired. In short, Disney World has become a “Vatican with Mouse ears,” the author declares.

In a balanced and thorough analysis of the Disney-Orlando story, Foglesong offers a critical account of how Disney has used - and also abused - its governmental immunities from the beginning of Disney World to the present under chairman Michael Eisner. Orlando’s experience with its biggest local employer raises broad questions about urban development policy. Can local leaders resist the demands of global corporations? Do privatization and deregulation offer a viable strategy for economic development? And is it possible to escape the weight of previous economic development decisions that seem to lock in, for example, more tourism and low wages, while locking out other opportunities?

Richard E. Foglesong is professor of politics at Rollins College.

“As an assessment of corporate conduct in a local community, Married to the Mouse is a penetrating case-study with far-flung relevance. It raises key questions about the fate of citizenship when regional planning is driven solely by economic development.”—Andrew Ross, author of The Celebration Chronicles

“Here is a book that will change the way that you look at the Mouse. Not only does ol’ Mickey have fuzzy ears and a cute, squeaky voice, but sharp teeth and claws too.”—Catherine Collins, co-author of Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney’s Brave New World

Married to the Mouse is a critical yet fair-minded analysis of Walt Disney World and its impact on Orlando, Florida. Telling the tale well and offering shrewd insights into larger issues of urban growth, democratic governance, and economic development, Richard Fogelsong provides a lucid picture of Disney’s fascinating experiment in entertainment and urban reform. It is a fine piece of work.”—Steven Watts, author of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life 

“Telling the tale well and offering shrewd insights into larger issues of urban growth, democratic governance, and economic development, Foglesong provides a lucid picture of Disney’s fascinating experiment in entertainment and urban reform. It is a fine piece of work.”—Steven Watts, author of The Magic Kingdom


"This book takes its place as a major work in the field of urban affairs. Electrifying."—Theodore J. Lowi, Cornell University

"This is a penetrating story that raises large issues—such as the increasingly blurry distinction between public and private places in America."—William Wyckoff, author of Creating Colorado  

“University students, scholars, public officials, and even the casual reader can pick up Married to the Mouse and enjoy the fascinating tales that demonstrate that this family entertainment-oriented corporation acts as shrewdly and sometimes as deceitfully as the most ruthless corporation imaginable. . . . A valuable addition to the urban development literature, and I very highly recommend Married to the Mouse to planners and nonplanners of all stripes. Orlando’s economic development ‘success’ provides many lessons, and this book helps to make these lessons clear. Engaging, well conceived, and very enjoyable. . . . A page turner.”—Tim Chapin, American Planning Association Journal

"This account of the development of Walt Disney World in Florida is an engaging contribution to the growing literature on tourism and urban politics."—Susan E. Clarke, American Political Science Review

Married to the Mouse provides both an interesting historical insight into the building of Walt Disney World and solid political analysis. It should be required reading for governmental officials considering wooing large business enterprises into their area.”—Mark F. Lewis, Commentary

Married to the Mouse provides a framework for developers and politicians alike, so they might work together to forge the community institutions and structures necessary to ensure a community dialogue that will prevent a ‘tragedy of the commons.’”—Gene L. Brothers, Enterprise & Society

“Foglesong’s book is excellent. He has interviewed nearly all of the key players in the Disney saga and has written the definitive account of Disney’s coming to Orlando and its impact on the area.”—Jim Clark, Florida Historical Quarterly

“This book is an extremely rich, meticulous, and insightful case study of the relationship between Florida’s Orlando area governments and the Disney Corporation, spanning the period from 1963 to the present. . . . Foglesong displays a wonderful ability to explain complex matters in simple and elegant prose. This book is an excellent case study and is destined to become standard reading in urban political economy and urban planning.”—Evan McKenzie, Journal of Politics

“Richard E. Foglesong presents a compelling account of the long and complex relationship between Walt Disney World and the neighboring city of Orlando, FL. . . . Foglesong’s account of the ongoing efforts of a city and corporation to live together offers insight to anyone interested in urban development.”—Daniel P. Murphy, Magill Book Reviews

"An uncommonly good read. . . . Married to the Mouse offers an exemplary blend of historical research distilled to provide insights into the pervasively important question of how dominant businesses and government officials interact and bargain. . . . Richard Foglesong’s superb book stands as a challenge to legal scholars to dig past the surface of written law, to examine the implemented reality of how dominant businesses and state and local governments interact."—William W. Buzbee, Michigan Law Review

“One of [the book’s] greatest strengths is its rich detail about how a notoriously secretive company goes to great lengths to preserve its image as the home of the Magic Kingdom.”—Alecia Swasy, New York Times

“Even more than an critique of Disney, Foglesong’s book takes a fascinating, important and entertaining look at contemporary problems in urbanology, city planning, and, certainly, business ethics.”—Publishers Weekly

“One of [the] book’s greatest strengths is its rich detail about how a notoriously secretive company goes to great lengths to preserve its image as the home of the Magic Kingdom.”—Alecia Swasy, St. Petersburg Times

“Both an interesting historical insight into the building of Walt Disney World and solid political analysis. It should be required reading for governmental officials considering wooing large business enterprises into their area.”—Mark F. Lewis, Tampa Tribune