Next Article in Journal
Managing Efficiency in Higher Education: A Case of Ukrainian Universities
Next Article in Special Issue
From the Sleeping Princess to the World-Saving Daughter of the Chief: Examining Young Children’s Perceptions of ‘Old’ versus ‘New’ Disney Princess Characters
Previous Article in Journal
Young People’s Perspectives on and Experiences of Health-Related Social Media, Apps, and Wearable Health Devices
Previous Article in Special Issue
Time to Face the Music: Musical Colonization and Appropriation in Disney’s Moana
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(8), 136;

Disney ‘World’: The Westernization of World Music in EPCOT’s “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”

Musical Theatre Department, William Peace University, Raleigh, NC 27604, USA
Received: 24 July 2018 / Revised: 9 August 2018 / Accepted: 11 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Psychosocial Implications of Disney Movies)
Full-Text   |   PDF [226 KB, uploaded 13 August 2018]


Although Disney’s EPCOT theme park markets itself as a place to experience other cultures and reflect on Earth’s history, the dominance of a Western perspective omits true authenticity, specifically in the music of its nighttime show IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. This 13-minute long presentation offers a visual retelling of humanity’s existence accompanied by an original musical score that guides the narrative. The consecutive music section titles provide insight into critical points within Disney’s story arc: Prologue: Acceleration, Chaos, Space, Life, Adventure, Home, Celebration, and Meaning. While sounds of music from other cultures do present themselves—albeit in stereotypical and clichéd fashions— they are arbitrarily highlighted within a framework of Western musical components. This framing allows Disney composers to control the perception of ‘others’ through music. Furthermore, the final Meaning section is entirely built of Euro-American musical conventions, insinuating that cultures arrive at their most enlightened, evolved selves when they become Westernized. Despite its impressive technological advances and complex musical composition, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is guilty of implementing Western musical frameworks that Disney utilizes in the majority of its films and theme parks. View Full-Text
Keywords: Disney; EPCOT; music; appropriation; world; park; entertainment; sounds; cultures Disney; EPCOT; music; appropriation; world; park; entertainment; sounds; cultures
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Hodge, M. Disney ‘World’: The Westernization of World Music in EPCOT’s “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 136.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Soc. Sci. EISSN 2076-0760 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top