Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Does the popular understanding of Florida match the reality?
The popular understanding of Florida is that it is the land of dreams. Florida became an attractive place for tourists because vacationing in Florida was part of the American Dream. Families would drive down on the highway and vacation at the beaches and visit natural wonders. Since the building of Disney World in 1971 a lot of the region-specific tourism was lost. Disney introduced a controlled, pristine, family-oriented experience for tourists which packaged the American values. Today, the popular understanding of Florida, because of Disney and the other theme parks, is that it is a polished, corporate, packaged place to have a family-oriented vacation that is based on American values. The popular understanding of Florida is divorced from the regional experience. People who think of Central Florida will automatically think of Disney World, for instance, instead of thinking of natural wonders that the region has to offer so it does not quite match the reality of what Florida is. I also know a lot of people who envision Miami as a tropical paradise and are surprised when they visit and see that South Beach or the Keys are touristy and paradise-like but that the rest of Miami is a lot more complex than that.The popular understanding of Florida does not quite match the reality of Florida because its tourist attractions are divorced from the regional experience.