NARRATIVE PARADIGM IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM: THE STORY OF ENTERING A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Austin Peay State University
Immersive entertainment is a relatively new storytelling medium that has been gaining academic interest over the last several decades. Theme parks represent the first widespread commercial foray into this burgeoning art form, presenting an implicit narrative in which guests temporarily escape the “real world” and enter a separate plane of reality. However, the theme park medium has historically received little scholarly attention from a narrative perspective. This research proposes Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm, a classic communication research theory, as a baseline framework for the assessment and analysis of the storytelling techniques used in theme parks. Using Walt Disney World and its Magic Kingdom park as subjects for a pilot case study, this research applies the narrative paradigm framework to explore the storytelling techniques used in theme parks. This study is intended to shed some light on the popularity and success of the test subjects, focusing on their ability to present a cohesive narrative that immerses guests in the “story” of leaving their everyday realities behind.
immersive entertainment, theme parks, narrative paradigm