This hub page at the web blog "Passport to Dreams Old & New"
gathers up many of this site's published critical writing on the subject of Disney-derived themed design experiences. These essays account for the bulk of the serious writing on this site - its reason for being - and so what follows is a selection of personal highlights.
It was last updated on July 25, 2015.
What's in a Sign? - July 2015 - how do signs help set expectations inside theme parks? A case study of Magic Kingdom's Adventureland.
Stitch's Great Escape: Ten Years - November 2014 - what does the most widely detested Walt Disney World attraction reveal about itself, about Disney, and about us?
Universal's Magnum Opus: Spider-Man - April 2014 - one of the best rides around that isn't a Disney ride, but just as good.
The Branch Beyond the Window and Other Details - December 2013 - what effect does tiny, nearly subliminal details have on our experience of the parks?
The Tomorrowland Problem - July 2013 - why does Tomorrowland keep fading out? And what is a Tomorrowland, anyway??
Death of a Moonwalker: Captain EO - February 2013 - Captain EO: the best 3D show? Or the worst? Or the best-worst?
Riding the Haunted Screen - January 2013 - covers details of the Haunted Mansion's antecedents in the form of popular
horror films from 1915 to 1965. Begins with an expansive outline of the
development of the genre, before proposing two key films as
The Awkward Transitions of Disneyland! - November 2012 - Close look at the areas where one theme collides with another at Walt's original theme park and how this contributes to the sensation of "charm".
Lightning in a Bottle? Storybook Circus - September 2012 - Thoughts on the Magic Kingdom's newest "Land", analysis of a surprising and unlikely success story, as well as thoughts on areas "for kids" in general.
Go Away Green - July 2012 - How Disney hides (or doesn't hide) its huge warehouses which contain its attractions, called "Show Buildings", in plain sight.
All the Lights of the Kingdom - April 2012 - an exhaustive study of the light fixtures of the Magic Kingdom, and how they contribute to theme, design, and fantasy concerns. Part One and Part Two.
Start to Shriek and Harmonize - October 2011
- on the origin and details of the infamous "pop up ghosts" in the
Haunted Mansion's attic and graveyard scenes. Also on the classic dark
ride origins of the Haunted Mansion in general.
Fire in the Night - August 2011 - why is the original Pirates of the Caribbean so often cited, and
seems to be, the greatest attraction ever built? A far-reaching
The Third Queue - December 2010 - Initial thoughts on the Walt Disney World "Interactive Queues" and on the structure, design, and the role of pre-attraction experience in general.
Nine Shrines of the Magic Kingdom - November 2010 - the top moments of design in WED Enterprises' second theme park.
The Case for the Florida Pirates - June 2010
- On the Florida incarnation of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, a case for what it got
right and how it has been compromised. The "flip side" of "Fire in the Night", above.
History and the Haunted Mansion - May 2010
- essay on the visual and historical influences of the Haunted Mansion,
placing it inside a larger American phenomenon of Spiritualism.
An Aesthetic Profile of Caribbean Plaza - January 2010 - Getting into details on Caribbean Plaza, The Magic Kingdom's most deceptively complex area.
An Aesthetic Profile of Adventureland - November 2009
- How does the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland area subtly visually
prepare for and reinforce the anchoring Jungle Cruise attraction?
A New Approach - May 2009 - two of Imagineering's least loved children of the 90s - The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management and Journey Into Imagination with Figment - as a form of corporate protest.
Eight Great Moments of Design at Walt Disney World - April 2009 - finding eight great designs and extracting lessons from their successes.
From Paris to the Provinces - January 2009 - How one small store at EPCOT Center includes dozens of little details which take us on a cross-country tour.
Futures with No Future - October 2008 - the decay of the Tomorrowland myth.
Phantoms of Influence - May 2008 - the Gaston LeRoux novel The Phantom of the Opera and how it was adapted into the Haunted Mansions sister attraction, Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.
Taking Apart World Showcase - Feburary 2008 - Courtyards, streets, and alleys structure the most fully-formed area of EPCOT Center, and its least changed.
The Long, Lonely March - August 2007
- An essay covering the narrative, tone, structural and artistic
successes of Disney's original fully-themed pre-boarding queue
experience at the Walt Disney World Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Anti Food Court - August 2007 - Approaches to the most brilliantly evocative of the Magic Kingdom's interior spaces, the Columbia Harbour House Restaurant.
Walt Disney's America and Keep the Light On For Me - July 2007 - Disneyland and its synthesis of the "American Myth" into a realized place.
All Hail Toad. - June 2007 - reflecting on ten-plus years of the closure of the Magic Kingdom's fantastic Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Verticality - May 2007 - the Magic Kingdom and her curious obsession with skylights. Fake ones.
Two Shows by Marc Davis - November 2006 - analysis of Marc Davis' two most fully realized projects, The Country Bear Jamboree and America Sings. Part One and Part Two.