I CERTAINLY AGREE with Danny Duncan Collum's assessment of Disney as a "faceless transnational conglomerate" that is more concerned with generating profits than it is with promoting family values, as it would like people to believe ("Keeping it ‘Real,'" May-June 2001). However, reading his review of the new "Downtown Disney," it's blatantly obvious that he has very little idea of Southern Californian culture.
Collum's assessment of Downtown Disney as a make-believe city is not inaccurate, but neither is it anything new. Downtown Disney is nothing more than Disney's version of Universal's Citywalk, which has existed for eight years. Universal Studios created Citywalk as a solution to its park's early closing hours. People exit the park and stream right into Citywalk, which stays open late into the night. With its hip shops, popular chain food vendors, huge multiplex movie theater, and other forms of entertainment, Citywalk has proven to be a very successful venture. All Disney did was copy that model and nestle it between the original Disneyland park and the new California Adventure. Since Downtown Disney and Citywalk are both amusement-malls open free to the public, locals readily visit them. If Collum really wants to be appalled by gaudy imitations of real life, he should visit Las Vegas with its replicated Paris Eiffel Tower, compressed New York skyline, simulated Egyptian relics, and artificial perpetual daylight.
Los Angeles, California