To me, the popular understanding of Florida is that it is all sunshine, happiness and holidays. This is due to the state being a very popular tourist destination for most of the 20th century. Many American families loaded their belongings into their cars, and used the new Interstate system to make their way to Florida.
During the 1950s, Florida was very well known for its natural wonders and family-run roadside attractions. ‘Monkey Jungle’ was a famous and poplar attraction, being the first park where it let its animals roam free. Cypress Gardens was another well-loved destination, with its famous water ski show.
In 1971, Disney World’s ‘Magic Kingdom’ was opened to the public. It quickly became a favorite of American families, bringing an end to the region-specific, roadside attractions. Disney provided a clean, well-organized, corporate experience based on traditional American values. Their every desire was catered for as a package deal by the “Happiest Place of Earth”.
However, the popular understanding of Florida is not necessarily the reality. The people who live in Florida do not spend the day relaxing on the beach or visiting Disney. The view that the rest of America about Florida, they have gained from advertisements and brief one week vacations. Anyone that has lived in the ‘Sunshine state’ will see that life goes on much the same as everywhere else in America. People have to work and go to school, with the beach and hot weather being something that is enjoyed mainly on the weekends.