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DisNet at PCA: Day 2

By Bee Eldridge

 

Late to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes Bee...tired?


Day 2 was another glorious day at the PCA!


While our morning gave us time to reflect (and sleep) we had a great working lunch with some of our phenomenal DisNet Conference team!


That's right my dear DisNeteer, if you didn't already know, DisNet has its first annual conference in June of 2023! It's free. It's online. We welcome all who are interested, which includes people who are not presenting and simply want to listen in. You can find the registration information here.


As you can see, we were hard at work, mainly deciphering my handwriting with the phenomenal Dr. Priscilla Hobbs. Dr. Rebecca Rowe is diligently ensuring our organization, while Dr. Antares Leask is the amazing photographer (unpictured). Yet, even while we were hard at work, our CEO, Founder, and fearless leader Dr. Robyn Muir ensured that we still had some fun.


I must confess to you, my dear DisNeteers, my massive coffee cup is unpictured. You can only imagine the size of the three other caffeinated drinks that I needed to wake up and be...well...a functioning human being so early in the morning.


 

Water, Wooder, Wooter, Waughter...What?


Once we had done all that we could for the amazing upcoming DisNet conference, it was time to go to Whataburger.


Now, my dear DisNeteer, I am from the Northeast of the United States. For those of you unfamiliar with US geography, the Northeast includes the following states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are also considered part of the Mid-Atlantic).

Census Regions and Divisions Map of the US
Image from: https://www.mappr.co/political-maps/northeast-usa-map/

Being from these states, there are different food chains and restaurants. The easiest way to think of a state in the United States, is as its own country. They have their own customs, linguistics, and food. However, this part of the country shares some of these cultural aspects and they are all located around one another.


Whataburger is not part of the Northeast.


I, Bee, have never heard of a Whataburger. However, also being from the Northeast, there is an amusing story here.


In the US, depending on where you are from (particularly in the Northeast), the word 'water' is also pronounced differently. I say 'water' like 'wooder' or 'wooter.' Whereas some of my good friends say it as: 'waughter' or 'wata.' There is a point to this story. I thought Whataburger was actually called: Waterburger. Who sells watery burgers? Who WANTS a watery burger? Yuck!


I must shamefully admit that it took me a long time to realize that this place was called 'Whataburger' - as in: what a burger! Even after reading the sign, it did not click. It took reading the menu for me to realize that Whataburger is, in fact, a fast food burger restaurant.

Luckily, they did not serve watery burgers.


With our food in hand, the Conference Team sat and had a delightful lunch of burgers, fries, onion rings, etc. A nice reprieve from the academic atmosphere at the conference hall.


After our delicious lunch, our panels for the day began!

 

An Array of Academics: Disney Parks, History, Gendered Bravery, Dinosaurs, and Moon Knight!


We arrived, ready to learn and see what more could be going on in the Disney Studies field with our Area Chairs Dr. Peter Bryan Cullen and Dr. Sabrina Mittermeier.


Dr. Larissa Krenzer and Allen Babiarz-Lira reveal another amazing academic collaboration as they dive into the opening of Disney World, Disney Parks, and Cast Member culture in their presentation entitled "Going from West to East: Disney's Happiest and Magical Theme Park Openings."


To follow such a fascinating presentation on branding family entertainment and the caste members role in this branding, was Dr. Cindy Mediavilla. Mediavilla was inducted into the California Library Association's Hall of Fame in 2022, and presented on her most recent

research about women in early Disneyland, particularly the challenges of writing Disney history. Her presentation, entitled "The Challenge of Writing Disney History: Researching Disneyland's Early History," truly drew us in as she explained some of the fascinating stories told to her by park-goers and previous Disney employees.



We also had a bonus talk, our presenter from the panel about princesses on Day 1 Carrie Welch discussed: "Bravery, Already in Progress: Disney Princess to Protagonist." We were informed about the bravery of Princesses and the gendering of braveness.


With that, this panel took a quick break. There was a lot of great and interesting information presented to us, and we needed time to digest it all.


Once we returned, Disney Studies commenced with interesting presentations from an array of scholars.


The session started with Nathan Cox's "Screams and Surface Encounters: Animal Bodies in Disney's Dinosaur Attraction." Cox revealed the commodification of animal bodies, and described the use of the bodies to instill fear.



Following this presentation, the panel moved from dinosaurs to dining with the work of Dr. Victoria Lantz and colonized foodways entitled: "Dehistorizing Food Trauma through Imagineering: Colonial Food Habits in Walt Disney World." It was as intellectually stimulating as it was visually delectable.


Unfortunately, Angela Pinholster was not able to present "#MickeyShapedFood: Culinary Representation as Transmedia Storytelling" in which the discussion would have turned to Mickey-shaped food (yum!).


However, we did get a bonus presentation! Shana Sandborn presented their work "Intertextuality, Looking Relations, and Anti-Oreintalist Critique in Marvel Studio's Moon Knight." In this presentation, Sandborn critiqued Moon Knight with an orientalist approach while drawing connections and comparisons between Moon Knight and Indiana Jones.


Day 2 of the conference panels came to an end after a fascinating discussion session. However, that did not mean that DisNet's day was over. For you see, dear DisNeteer, there was more in store for us (dramatic music plays us into the next section).


 

So it begins...


As the day came to an end, we were too excited for the next part of our evening: The Disney Immersive Experience!


Oh, my dear DisNeteer, we had the times of our lives!


Imagine, a group of Disney scholars dressed in their ears, some of them even bounding as Minnie, burst through the doors and entered the lobby. We had Casita on our left and Steamboat Willie on our right. We were able to gather the team for a few pictures, before we all dispersed to take in the amazing things on display (see below)!


As we stared in awe at some of the wonderful and interesting information that awaited us in the lobby, we were given our VIP Badges (yes, we splurged. As Disney scholars, it's our obligation to do so...for the blog).


Badges in hand, we gleefully entered through a magical portal where our wristbands lit up. Disney pixie dust surrounded us. The walls were lined with artifacts from Disney movies. Each one carefully displayed on Belle's bookshelf.


As we hopped, skipped, and jumped our way through the magical immersive realm, we finally sat and waited for the show to begin. (To see Dr. Robyn Muir dancing, see our Instagram!)


Now, my dearest DisNeteer, as we took our seats and the show began, the room grew completely silent. The children's laughter immediately stopped as their eyes were glued to the magical floating book in front of us. Our Disney journey finally began.


The Disney Animation Immersive Experience at Lighthouse Immersive Studios is exactly what we hoped for. We were drawn in with all of our favorite songs and taken on a Disney emotional ride. We, the audience, became the main character fighting through our own story during a magical performance. For more on this experience from a more fan/academic viewpoint, see Rebecca Rowe's blog post "DisNet and Animation Immersion: Disney Synergy Turns Us into Kids."


As we left the room of wonderment, the friendly staff saw us off. We spoke with them, they took our pictures, asked about DisNet, and were absolutely lovely.



 

Denny's is Always Open


Now, at this point, it was late at night. We had forgone eating dinner for the Disney Animation Immersive Experience. It was not a mistake...but we now had a group of starving academics. A hungry academic is no longer an academic. We lose all sense of propriety and semblance of reason. Food is the truest way to an academics hear (we go to events mainly for free food. You want an academic to show up to an event, offer free food. Free food outside a library...you're in business).


In the chaos of the night, we arrived at one of the most quintessential American institutions - Denny's...because, as you should know dear DisNeteer: "Denny's! Always open."

However, just like Santa Clause (1994), once we had been seated, they were out of...can you guess? Probably not, because they had chocolate milk. They were out of onion rings, chicken fingers, and...whole wheat bread. We didn't care, for we were a pack of starving academics - tired and battle worn from the conference.


While we waited for our food, we were entertained by Robyn as she continued to finish her wonderful drawing of Daisy Duck.


We merrily ate our dinners at Denny's (all but Antares who sadly had to take hers to go), and then called it a night.


Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to some of our truly wonderful colleagues until next year's conference. But don't feel too bad, my DisNeteer, as some of them left us for Disneyland! (Yes, we were also insanely jealous.)


Thus ends Day 2, with a few good-byes but lots of joy.



 

We now have an Instagram! While we're off doing some great conference things, and even when the conference comes to a close, we will be posting about all things DisNet!



Or, click this link: @_DisNet


But wait! There's MORE!


If you love all things Disney, if you had a presentation that you would love to see written down (and citable) come out into the world, email Bee! Check out our Want to Write for Disnet post.


(Bee's email is also disnetblog@gmail.com)


 

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