A personality cult is a culture or portion of culture based on reverence for a supreme leader, to whom all members of that culture pay homage. The leader has usually performed some heroic deed (Napoleon Bonaparte), killed, repressed, or intimidated millions of people (Comrade Josef Stalin; Kim Il Sung), or just somehow inspired the adoration and thanksgiving of anywhere from hundreds to millions of people (Dr. Edward Harpham, Glorious Commander of Collegium V; Charles Lindbergh).
For the purposes of our discussion, we will consider Disneyland to be analogous to most personality-driven societies (i.e., dictatorships), and Mickey Mouse to a dictator. Rightly considered, Disneyland is a personality cult. There are lines everywhere. Goods usually cost more than they would elsewhere. Many types of goods, even those most necessary to basic survival, are scarce or unavailable. Yet, despite these atrocious conditions, in which people could barely survive for any great length of time, the denizens adore the mythic leader (Mickey Mouse). Everyone wants to meet Mickey Mouse. For most people, this dream will never come true, because Mickey Mouse is a paranoid, insecure tyrant who fears that public exposure will destroy his persona. Senior citizens and pregnant mothers live in fear of Mickey. Mickey Mouse removes many of people's most basic rights: the rights to stand, to flail one's arms and legs, to spit, to litter, and yet the people love him. If a person disobeys Mickey's edicts, he will probably be banished, and he may even die. But Mickey is a crafty publicity wizard. Fireworks and spectacles "ooh" and "ah" the people into numb submission. "Pan et ludis" is the order of the day, and Mickey is revered.
Other Personality Cults
Of course, there are benevolent dictatorships, as in the case of the Collegium V honors program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where Dr. Edward Harpham Augustus has been deified by the omnipotent CV Council. His image, complete with a beaming smile which spreads good cheer, is everywhere. He is often credited with fine weather, or basketball victory, or even the invention of Sliced bread. No matter where they are or what they are doing, thrice a day all students and alumni of UTD face his office in the Multi-Purpose Building and sing "Hail Harpham, Noble Benefactor."