Over the years Walt Disney Co. has tried to apply global tourism and global consumption patterns to its theme parks. It has attempted to ‘‘Disneyize’’ society and promote the mass consumption of its products. However, mass consumption does not mean a global consumer culture.


The Emergence of a Global Tourist Culture? Disneyland Resorts Spread Over the World

Over the years Walt Disney Co. has tried to apply global tourism and global consumption patterns to its theme parks. It has attempted to ‘‘Disneyize’’ society and promote the mass consumption of its products. However, mass consumption does not mean a global consumer culture.

The spread of Disney resorts throughout the world started fifty years ago with the launch of the concept in California. Since then, four more attraction parks have been built around the world.

The launch of the Hong Kong Park represented an attempt to reach the Chinese market and reinforced the idea that the company could be successful everywhere, international tourists would adapt to the product.

Disneyland has become a ‘‘top of mind awareness’’ attraction park and is now part of the culture of every tourist in the world. Disneyland has penetrated different countries in terms of culture. With the increasing brand consciousness in people’s minds, Disneyland has become a destination by itself. The global culture has led tourists to buy the concept rather than the product itself; tourists became attached to the concept more than to its concrete application. Such behavior was in line with Disney’s initial idea: to sell the same concept everywhere. However, tourists did not react in the same way to the product concept as to the product itself.

International tourists were not completely adapted to the Disneyland product; parks and resorts had to be developed to suit the tourists’ needs. The Disney company made an effort to adapt to tourists’ cultural needs. For example, in Hong Kong the company did not build Western-style attractions because they were not part of the Chinese culture. The existing attractions were also managed differently.

It was believed that tourists who enjoyed Disneyland in California might not enjoy Disneyland in Hong Kong to the same degree; the former would react differently in Hong Kong. For example, Disneyland in Paris was not as appreciated as much as Disneyland in Tokyo. While Disneyland in Paris suffered from a bad image, long waits, and language problems (only French was spoken), Disneyland in Tokyo was perceived as being clean and customer friendly.

Tokyo’s lines were short, and English was spoken. Since tourists demanded more tailor-made experiences, had more diverse needs and tastes, and no longer wanted mass-standardized and rigidly packaged vacations, Disneyland resorts provided them with a broader range of products, each for different customer groups (e.g., hotels of every possible category, restaurants with different types of food, and different attractions adapted to every age).

 Although Disney’s concept can be sold everywhere in the world, the product must be sold in different ways. Although the global tourist culture emerged, every park has had to adapt its product to the specific needs of consumers.

  • Glocal or Hybrid?: Did Disney go through the process of glocalization or hybridization? Explain your answer and support it with examples from the case study. (Ch 1)  (2points) Disney went through the process of globalization. According to this study, Disney began launching their resorts globally 50 years ago, then spread 4 more parks around the world and promoted the “mass consumption of its products.” To add, the launch of the Hong Kong Park reinforced Disney’s idea of being successful anywhere and everywhere. With Disney being global, they were successful at capturing tourists’ attention and ensuring they would be a top pick destination. Disney was able to alleviate tourists’ needs by managing their attractions differently depending on where they were located around the World.
  • Disney tourists are…: Are Disney tourists’ new global consumers/tourists? Why? What do the new consumers/tourists expect? (Ch 1) (2points)

CASE STUDY 5.1 Micro-Cultures of the United States


African-Americans represent 13% of the US population, and their buying power is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2010. Their economic standards and buying power are relatively lower than white Americans.

African-American consumers in the United States are price conscious and shop at neighborhood stores. Despite this, there has been a rapid growth of the black middle and upper classes.

African-Americans are now emerging as an attractive market for expensive products, such cars, large appliances, electronics, telecom, entertainment, travel services, financial services, insurance, and computer-associated hardware and software. They also spend relatively more on clothing than white consumers.

African-Americans are arbiters of popular culture; they influence the purchasing choices of the greater marketplace in high-image categories such as cars and alcoholic beverages, and in youth products, such as fashion and entertainment. African-Americans are trendsetters who enhance brand volume among all consumers.


Spanish-speaking Americans represent the world’s fifth-largest Hispanic nation. Hispanic or Latino Americans are the second largest and fastest-growing US minority. They represent more than 10% of the US population, and their buying power will soon reach $1 trillion. The group is very diverse in terms of history, wealth, and class. Some are wealthy, whereas others are hard-working migrants who have low-paying, low-status jobs. The majority are Roman Catholics who support family values.

The first generation of Hispanics is generally Spanish-speaking and extremely curious and enthusiastic about products and services available in the United States. The second and third generation Hispanics, born and educated in the United States, are bilingual and bicultural. The ability to work and live in English and Spanish gives them a very distinct competitive advantage. Some desire to retain their own language, cultural values, and traditions of Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and Cuba, as a complement to American values.

Hispanic Americans represent a very lucrative and influential market not only for food, beverages, and household appliances, but also for upscale consumer products, such as computers, photography equipment, travel, recreation, and financial services.

Hispanic-Americans are brand- and quality-conscious and are easily reached through a growing network of Spanish language TV, radio, and print media. Hispanics have access to approximately 250 Hispanic television stations across 12 Hispanic television networks, 650 Hispanic radio stations, and 433 Hispanic newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. They are very heavy adapters of new media. Effective Hispanic marketing must focus on emotional connections with consumers to motivate them to purchase.

By the year 2015 the Hispanic population will increase by 75% and will reach 96 million by 2050.


The Asian-American market is uniquely attractive. Asians are experiencing the fastest population growth rate of all racial groups in the United States. They have the highest median household income of all groups, more than $9000 ahead of non-Hispanic White households and far ahead of Hispanic and African-American median incomes.

Asians also have the highest level of education of all groups in the United States, with 44% of Asians holding an undergraduate degree or higher. In addition, they have disproportionately high rates of business ownership. They are heavy consumers of international calling, banking, and financial services. They buy new cars and luxury products such as fine spirits, cosmetics, computer hardware/software, and travel and leisure packaged goods.

According to the US census, the Asian-American population will more than double in size to 23 million by the year 2020. By 2050, Asian-Americans are projected to account for a full 10% of the total US population.

African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans constitute almost one-third of the total US population. They are the fastest-growing populations in the country. They also represent 50% of California’s population.

Source: Gitlin, S. (2000, May–June). The Asian-American market: An updated opportunity for America’s marketers. Archives Multicultural Marketing News; Buford, H. (2007). Simple truths for maximizing your share of the African American market. In L. Skriloff (Ed.), The source book of multicultural experts 2006/07. New York: Multicultural Marketing Resources; Gitlin, S. (2007). The Asian-American market: Heading towards Census 2010. In L. Skriloff (Ed.), The source book of multicultural experts 2006/07. New York: Multicultural Marketing Resources; Lopez Negrete, A. (2007). Is Espanol still enough when marketing to Hispanics? In L. Skriloff (Ed.), The source book of multicultural experts 2006/07. New York: Multicultural Marketing Resources.

  • Micro-cultures within noted levels of Culture : Explain the several levels of cultures portrayed in the case study, and situate the micro-cultures of the USA within these levels. (Ch 5) (3points)
  • Hofstede:Value Dimensions:   Which one of HOFSTEDE’s value dimensions best represents each  micro-culture of the USA? Explain why. How would that influence the way you market Toronto to each of the micro-cultures? Give an example for each. (Ch 6) (8points)

Table of Contents

Case Study 1.1  

Glocal or Hybrid?

Disney tourists are

Case Study 5.1

Micro-cultures within noted levels of Culture

Hofstede: Value Dimensions