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. Africa in Florida

. Africa in Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

(p.139) 6. Africa in Florida
Africa in the American Imagination
Carol Magee
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter, like the previous one, focuses on particular facilities at the Walt Disney World Resort where there exist certain implications for the perception of Africa in American popular culture. In this chapter, the focus is on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (DAKL), which focuses solely on Africa and Africans. To be specific, DAKL presents an Africa south of the Sahara, a geographic divide that distinguishes between Arab Africa to the north and black Africa to the south. A closer look at DAKL reveals that the experience is conceived as a safari which re-creates the African savanna in Florida. At the lodge, visitors can eat African food, watch African animals roam, and learn about African cultures. The problem that the chapter addresses, however, is similar to the problems in representation that were evident in the previous cases. Like them, the Africa at DAKL is nature and animals, operating as stereotypes and thus producing negative resonances and problematic implications.

Keywords:   Walt Disney World Resort, perception of Africa, American popular culture, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sahara, African savanna, stereotypes

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