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Disney refers to the American filmmaker Walter Elias Disney (1901–1966), the studio he founded, the expanding corporate and entertainment entities that grew from the studio, and the commercial and cultural ethos associated with them. Beginning with the studio’s earliest output in the 1920s, Disney and U.S. childhood have partially defined each other. With children presumed to be in Disney’s audience, Disney’s products have informed and participated in the cultural understanding of childhood through films, television, music, theme parks, and other media. The influence of Disney’s representations of childhood, gender, race, and nationality has been debated in popular and scholarly discourse, and the Disney company itself has responded to these debates in its ongoing production practices and marketing strategies. This entry examines the history of Disney, ...

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