EVENT Apr 08
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Call for Chapter Proposals - Playing with Magic: Understanding Disney Games

Categories: Popular Culture, 20th & 21st Century, Film, TV, & Media, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2024-04-08 Abstract Due: 2024-04-08

Call for Chapter Proposals

Playing with Magic: Understanding Disney Games

Edited by Priscilla Hobbs and Jennessa Hester

Play is an essential part of the Disney experience, nurtured through the Mouse's many experiential offerings. Much scholarly research has focused on the playful aspects of Disney media, inclusive of theme parks (Hobbs 2015) and toys (Auster and Mansbach 2012; Wohlwend 2012), and how they serve an important role in human growth and identity development as well as social and mental wellness at all ages. Less attention, however, has been given to Disney games, here referring to the wide array of options from classic board and card games to video games.

Disney has experimented with different kinds of games over the course of its merchandising history (Madej and Lee 2020; McGowan 2018; Summers 2021), with some franchises garnering beloved and nostalgic affiliations spawning their own devoted fandoms and communities (Bowman and McLean 2022; Dusenberry 2013). These games give the Disney fan a space to play alongside, or sometimes as, their favorite Disney characters, many of whom otherwise never interact or have the opportunity to cross their respective franchises (Fleury 2015). To overlook this aspect of Disney play is to overlook the power of such games to shape players’ relationship with the Mouse on a formal, psychological, and cultural level.

This peer-reviewed volume seeks to overcome that gap by engaging in critical analysis of the many aspects of the Disney game experience—such as game development and design, game mechanic, narrative and character manipulation, player response and reception, and corporate brand integration—that shape such titles’ impact on the Mouse itself, its fans, and the world at large. To this end, we are interested in chapters that take historical, formal, cultural, technological, and/or theoretical approaches to Disney games. Subjects of focus could include, among others:

specific video games and franchises, such as:

  • Castle of Illusion
  • Epic Mickey
  • Disney Magical World
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Disney Infinity
  • Disney Speedstorm
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Virtual Magic Kingdom
  • Toontown Online

movie, television, and theme park tie-in games
Pixar games
Disney Princess games
Disney Afternoon games
Disney Channel and Zoog games
Flash games
mobile games
tabletop, board, and card games
theme park games and interactive experiences
games included in Disney comic books, magazines, and other publications
DVD-based games
fan games


We welcome proposals for chapters of 5,000-6,000 words, inclusive of citations, from researchers of all levels and from any humanistic discipline. We are seeking shorter chapters in order to curate a diverse and comprehensive collection of research that can provide a broad foundation for further studies on this topic, as well as be more easily adopted for use in classrooms.

For consideration, please submit initial abstracts of 250-300 words, along with a brief author bio, by April 8, 2024 using the following form: https://forms.gle/FGiMV5ZQpfL9g6uq6

If you have any questions or would like feedback on potential chapter ideas, do not hesitate to reach out to the editors at p.hobbs-penn@snhu.edu and jennessa.hester@ttu.edu.

Expected Timeline

Abstracts Due: April 8, 2024

Authors Notified: May 1, 2024

Chapters Due: September 2024

Works Cited

Auster, Carol J., and Claire S. Mansbach. “The Gender Marketing of Toys: An Analysis of Color and Type of Toy on the Disney Store Website.” Sex Roles, vol. 67, 2012, pp. 375-388.

Bowman, Dean, and James McLean. “Charting the Kingdoms Between: Building Transmedia Universes and Transnational Audiences in the Kingdom Hearts Franchise.” Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, vol. 15, no. 25, 2022, pp. 1-14.

Dusenberry, Lisa K. “Epic Nostalgia: Narrative Play and Transmedia Storytelling in Disney Epic Mickey.” Game On, Hollywood! Essays on the Intersection of Video Games and Cinema, edited by Gretchen Papazian and Joseph Michael Sommers, McFarland and Company, 2013, pp. 183-196.

Fleury, James. “Playing in the Corporate Toybox: The Multiple Levels of Adaptation in Disney Infinity.” South Atlantic Review, vol. 80, no. 3-4, 2015, pp. 118-135.

Hobbs, Priscilla. Walt's Utopia: Disneyland and American Mythmaking. McFarland and Company, 2015.

Madej, Krystina, and Newton Lee. Disney Stories: Getting to Digital. Springer, 2020.

McGowan, David. “Monochrome Mickey: Modern Nostalgia Texts and the Animated Star Image.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, vol. 46, no. 4, 2018, pp. 219-231.

Summers, Tim. “Fantasias on a Theme by Walt Disney: Playful Listening and Video Games.” The Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening, edited by Carlo Cenciarelli, Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 690-711.

Wohlwend, Karen E. “‘Are You Guys Girls?’: Boys, Identity Texts, and Disney Princess Play.” Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, vol. 12, no. 1, 2012, pp. 3-23.



Jennessa Hester & Priscilla Hobbs