Jean Baudrillard (wikipedia), the French philosopher famous for his theories on Hyperreality and Simulcra, which was the inspiration for the Matrix movies and many fiction writer’s concepts of cyberspace, has died at the age of 77. In Disney circles Baudrillard was known for his 1988 article where he examined Disneyland as an example of the Hyperreal Simulcra.
Disneyland is a perfect model of all the entangled orders of simulation.
To begin with it is a play of illusions and phantasms: pirates, the frontier,
future world, etc. This imaginary world is supposed to be what makes the
operation successful. But, what draws the crowds is undoubtedly much more
the social microcosm, the miniaturized and religious revelling in real
America, in its delights and drawbacks.
This work has been very inspirational to me and others who enjoy Disney themeparks. Baudrillard also wrote a second shorter essay on Disney world in 1996.
See also the NY Times Obit,