Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Luis Vivanco


Disney, authenticity, nature films, Animal Kingdom


This thesis explores the production of authenticity in the nature films released under the Disneynature label and at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. It examines how those producing and consuming representations of nature work to define them as "authentic" and the dilemmas such practices create for Disney’s attempt to balance an environmentally friendly image with maintaining their profits. In conducting this project, I conducted focus group research among university students and science teachers who viewed a Disneynature film, and conducted participant-observation at Animal Kingdom, searching in both instances for what messages audiences received and how they reacted to and engaged with their experiences. Through their production of nature, Disney promotes a passive form of environmentalism, asking for little change on the part of the audience. I found, however, that Disney consumers engage with Disney's ideas about nature, comparing their experiences and ideas with those presented, finding a sense of authenticity when the two coincide.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.