Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-6-2017

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Jocelyn Buckner


Lighting design, while popularized by theatre, has emerged beyond the stage into real world environments and settings. Its advancement has led to an evolution of light, allowing for light to appear as a work of art independent from objects and productions despite lacking a tangible existence. As themed entertainment has grown into an entire industry of spectacle and performance, the concept of theme parks developed from one man’s dream to bring his animated films to life in a constructed environment for the promotion of imagination. Lighting design within the Disneyland Resort facilitates the ideologies of Walt Disney, utilizing its foundation in art to assist in communicating themes and images through aesthetic imagery. Throughout the space of Disneyland, lighting breaks through conventional views of art by incorporating aesthetics and agency in its presentation of theme as a means of world building. In addition, lighting evokes a sense of familiarity amongst guests as it brings everyday objects to life through the communication of the brand imagery of Disney. Finally, light up merchandise as a means of art commodification dually allows for capitalist ideologies to exist within the idealized and fabricated environment of Disneyland while simultaneously granting guests an opportunity to brand themselves with dazzling merchandise and to immerse themselves in the greater production of spectacle. Through ethnographic research and the observation of lighting design and participants of various spaces, as well as the application of anthropological theories of art politics and human behavior, I speculate that lighting design within the Disneyland Resort holds artistic, social, and economic importance to the guests within this contained environment and to the Disney company as a whole.


Presented at the Fall 2017 Student Research Day at Chapman University.