The Nightmare of Disney's Imagination Campus.
Influencing American K12 employees with the Disney philosophy.
My exploration of this began with a simple question from a friend, an American Classroom Substack contributor and an eight-time guest on the American Education FM Podcast; Vanessa Hurst. Approximately one year ago, Vanessa texted me and asked; “Have you ever heard of the Disney Celebration School?” Courously, I said; “No. Tell me more.” She then said, “You’ll want to look into this.” Vanessa told me that she knows of K12 administrators in Kentucky who have been influenced and formally trained by this Disney ideology, and we discussed it on a previous podcast episode about one year ago.
First and briefly, Celebration, Florida is a cult-like suburb of the Disney community. This is a town that has seen multiple lawsuits related to failing properties, high taxes, crumbling homes, failing schools, and burst pipe dreams of a promised utopia. The Daily Beast wrote a lengthy article describing Celebration, Florida and the selling of an alleged “dream come true.” Within their article they stated:
The town also attracted skepticism. Celebration came to represent a loaded nostalgia for a very specific kind of America, a place so pure it might have never existed, or if it did, only for a privileged few. The architecture drew cries of “inauthenticity,” a shallow signifier of good design. Others found the place eerily spotless, like a set for The Stepford Wives or Edward Scissorhands. “Creepy” was a common refrain. A Gizmodo article about that creepiness chronicled the media obsession, from which this article is not absolved, in documenting Celebration’s crash courses with crime, human error, and general mediocrity: “Pixie Dust Loses Magic as Foreclosures Slam Utopian Disney Town,” reported Bloomberg. “Murder and suicide in Celebration, the perfect town built by Disney,” said the Telegraph. “The dark heart of Disney's dream town: Celebration has wife-swapping, suicide, vandals ... and now even a brutal murder,” yelped the Daily Mail.
Disney funds at least two magnet schools (one Pre-K through 6th grade, and the other 7th-12th grades) in the Chicago area of Illinois. Frankly, this is a scary “project-based education” that at face value seems to lack any real academic rigor, by allowing students to engage in hands-on activities the majority of the time, while being led by teacher’s and the student’s own opinions of what they would like to do and learn. The history of this Disney II Magnet School is described on their website as follows:
In 2007, due to its strong history of success, the Walt Disney Magnet School was invited to replicate by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After a rigorous and comprehensive application and review process, it was announced that Disney II would open as a new Chicago Public School and as a “replication” of CPS's Walt Disney Magnet School. It is our vision that, like Disney, Disney II will establish a first-rate learning institution that increases student achievement within under-served communities and attracts families throughout Chicago. Every student needs a high-quality school to disseminate knowledge, provide opportunity, focus goodwill, and fertilize the community’s investment in its future. Disney II will serve this need and, like Disney, will realize true equity, bringing the best model for schooling to families and communities throughout Chicago. Through this model, we will deliver arts and technology integration. Disney II will celebrate the diversity of its community and will equitably serve all student populations, regardless of disability, socioeconomic status, and/or cultural background.
In 2013 Disney II Magnet expanded to serve students in Pre-K-12th grade and Disney II Magnet High School was born at our Lawndale Campus. Initially the Lawndale building opened with 238 students in grades 7th & 9th. Today we are a fully functioning high school serving 7th-12th grade students.
Today Disney II is known as an innovative school that focuses on personalized and project based learning. We integrate arts and technology into every grade at Disney II. In addition, our high school was the first non-selective enrollment school to offer the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma.
Schools that are notoriously heavy in “STEM curriculum” and “project-based learning,” tend to be less academically focused while being more interested in making everyone “feel comfortable.” They also inundate their students and teachers with the playing of games and building things, all while perpetuating the dumbing-down of American youth and the adults who influence them. Much like the public school system, these Disney schools and their training centers do not focus on telling students, nor adults, the truth. Instead, they rely on “educators” who are trained in the Disney “innovative methods” to teaching and learning. For example, on the website; (https://www.disneycampus.com) the Disney Imagination Campus uses typical ambiguity to describe their mission in education. Essentially, the Disney Imagination Campus attempts to train teachers, students and “future learners” in business to relay their messages of “project-based learning” to the students who come in contact with their trained attendees. The Disney Imagination Campus’ website states the following:
We aspire to be the leading student enrichment provider for educators who believe that imagination and creativity should be part of every student’s educational experience. It is our vision to inspire the next generation of creative thinkers and doers.
We believe in Imagination-Powered Learning.
Imagination and curiosity are powerful problem-solving tools. At Disney Imagination Campus, our curriculum shows students, teachers, and parents how something we call Imagination Powered Learning can make a lasting impact on how students feel about learning, and about their own potential.
Through a comprehensive collection of workshops across a range of performing arts and academic subjects, we’re committed to helping students learn how to apply their imaginations to solve many of the challenges they may face throughout their lifetime – in wildly creative ways. We believe that new perspectives, creative thinking, fearless exploration and unfettered wonder can lead to amazing things.
The “tenets” of the Disney Imagination Campus are highlighted as well.
They also pride themselves on four “Pillars:”
If this looks like a waste of time and money, you would be correct. It’s an indoctrination program to consume time, money and resources, while keeping the truth about the world we truly live in from ever reaching the minds of minors and those adults who teach and influence them. It’s a way to ensnare an already indoctrinated mind of the Disney propaganda, and keep them in that state of mind.
Much like the Celebration, Florida “community” and the cultish atmosphere that existed their (and perhaps still does to this day if it exists), the Disney Imagination Campus and their donors are producing K12 American school administrators and teachers who have been trained within their system to bring this projected-based philosophy of distraction to the school districts where they seek to gain employment, and have gained employment. Moreover, products of the Disney Imagination Campus are in fact superintendents and in-building administrators of K12 schools, private schools, magnet schools and charter schools throughout America. Just check their CV’s. They proudly keep their associations with Disney intact, as a badge of leadership accomplishment. Teachers have also received “educator and leadership training” within this program.
Just like any effective form of brainwashing (of which the history of Disney was based on), the products of these instructional methods have no idea that are in fact being brainwashed. State Departments of Education are involved as well. These State Departments of Education are willing to take money from any entity, and Disney money is just a big fish to them. The money that has exchanged hands is only influencing local K12 public schools to become more infiltrated with STEM programs and project-based leaning. While the Disney name may be left off of the books in some cases, the instructional influence is still there.
The price to attend these campuses are not readily available on their website. The Disney Imagination Campus wants those who are interested in attending, to fill out a questionnaire with all of their personal contact information so they can personally reach out to you with pricing options. Disney wants to know that they have you in their mouse trap before you show up.
Have you ever heard of that student who was promised school credit and a worth-while experience if they pay boat-loads of money to attend a school-sanctioned trip to a foreign country (i.e., the college foreign trip), only to get back to campus and realize that they’re in fact nowhere closer to graduating, and that the trip was just a semester-long vacation that they paid for that had no impact on their academic success? Welcome to the Disney Imagination Campus and it’s “curriculum.”
The Disney Imagination Campus isn’t a full replacement for a typical sub-par K12 American education. Instead, it acts more as a form of supplemental instruction (i.e., added-on indoctrination) in an effort to further brainwash young impressionable minds and the adults who are already obsessed with Disney. In essence, it’s a propaganda campus with familiar imagery, sounds and smells, to further entrap the American mind—from cradle to grave.
BIO: Dr. Sean M. Brooks, Ph.D. is the author of several books including; The Unmasking of American Schools: The Sanctioned Abuse of Americas Teachers and Students, and he’s the host of the podcast American Education FM.