Disneyfication – the transformation (as of something real or unsettling) into carefully controlled and safe entertainment or an environment with similar qualities (M-W)
Theming – the use of an overarching theme to create a holistic and integrated spatial organization of a consumer venue (Lucas, Scott. The Themed Space)
The term Disneyfication originated from the environment of Disney theme parks. These parks are highly controlled, made to appear natural, but they are actually mostly artificial. There are robotic animals, electronic nature sounds, smellitzers, fake rain, and life-like nature components (grass, trees, and rain cycle). The thing about all of this is not that Disney is fooling us into “purchasing” this outdoor experience, it is that we don’t care that we are being played. By doing this, they establish nature as a commodity to serve human needs.
To rope us in, Disney incorporates all aspects of entertainment into their parks, including amusement, food, drink, lodging, and merchandise. This represents how commodification and consumerism have crept into all parts of our society. Shopping, in these instances, is seen a play or recreation, rather than essential acts. Other entities besides Disney have started using these techniques to provide a ‘full experience’ for their consumers. When you go to many outdoor stores, you will find much more than products – you will find ‘nature’ displays sometimes even including real animals. Just look at Bass Pro Shops, REI, L.L. Bean, or Cabela’s.
What I find interesting about this concept is that Disney promotes both conservation principles (messages in Wall-E, their website, Disneynature) and mass consumerism. These two principles cannot coexist in an entity’s mission. Every Disney film and show has hundreds of pieces of merchandise than can be purchased and which Disney markets toward children who then beg their parents to buy it for them. The actions of Disney make it clear that they believe human advancement of technology can save the world from the detriment it is facing environmentally.