chapter  6
Fantasy Parks: Consumption of Virtual Worlds of Amusement
Pages 17

Fantasy is a very human response to real life. We seek alternatives and contrast to the typical environments we inhabit. We immerse ourselves in the implausible and never cease attempting to make the impossible possible. Fantasy transforms the mundane, everyday ritual of living space into a playful terrain that allows for new forms of social interactivity and emotive fulfi llment. One of the most powerful spatial manifestations of this raw need is Disneyland, an ingenious eff ort at organizing fantasy into marketed reality. This empire of escapism has spread globally and now serves as an icon of a utopic leisure landscape. Within the United States, there are now more than 400 ‘Disneyesque’ amusement parks and, if we are to look at Europe, we would fi nd 300 such parks scattered across its terrain. This is a huge moneymaking enterprise, having generated an estimated 4.3 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars) in total revenue in Europe alone and contributing

approximately 8.6 billion euros (10.6 billion dollars) to the European economy in 2008 (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, 2013). Even the emerging markets have jumped on the bandwagon, in spite of their economic slowdown and continuing issues with infrastructure. At least eight theme parks have opened or are scheduled to open in West Africa alone since 2000 (Hinshaw, 2011). As their youth populations grow and demand novel terrains to experience leisure, Malaysia, China, India, and others are well down the line to embracing this new fantasy environment.