Investigating Walt Disney World: A Study on Theming and Event Design
The researcher chose to investigate Walt Disney World in Orlando, the research aim focuses on theming and event design and how these two aspects can enhance visitor experiences, and how marketing of their special events can encourage visitation during the shoulder periods of tourism. The study also sets out explore how Walt Disney World is ultimately successful in providing a unique experience by using subthemes of Disney and features of event design to their advantage. In order to achieve this aim, the researcher critically reviewed literature on theming, event design, Disneyization (Bryman, 1999), the Tourist Gaze (1990), marketing and tourism. This study was conducted using a mixed methods approach, the online surveys used both qualitative and quantitative questions so that the researcher had a breadth of data to analyse. The data was analysed using a thematic approach, in which the researcher collated the data and segregated it into different themes. The results clearly illustrate that the numerous sub-themes of Disney resonate with the consumers, that it brought back feelings of nostalgia where people could relive their childhood, hence why the park is perceived to be unique compared to other theme parks. It was also concluded that the architectural design of Walt Disney World allows consumers to be transported into a different era which allowed for feelings of excitement and pleasure. The researcher found that secondary elements such as lighting, sound, special effects and atmosphere had a collective impact on the consumers experience at the theme park. Lastly, the research deduced that consumers would visit Walt Disney World only when it suited them, and that by hosting special events it would not encourage them to visit any more than during the shoulder periods of tourism throughout the rest of the year.