The term "hyperreality" was coined by hardcore semiotician Umberto Eco in 1975, in his essay "Travels in Hyperreality". Eco travels across the US on the ultimate postmodern roadtrip from Disneyland to Disneyworld via Las Vegas. In Eco's terms, his tour is a pilgrimage in search of "hyperreality," or the world of "the Absolute Fake," where imitations are not simply faithful reproductions reality, but attempts to improve on it.

His most insightful contribution to the idea of hyperreality is that behind the simulacra is capitalism. Main Street USA at Disney, whilst representing small town America is merely a facade for a shopping mall. Although many critics find Eco's criticisms of American culture unusually scathing, there are seemingly moments of genuine nostalgia for the hyperreal. When travelling along the Mississippi he comments that "you risk feeling homesick for Disneyland...where the wild animals don't have to be coaxed. Disneyland tells us that technology can give us a better reality than nature can."

Jean Baudrillard inspired by Eco's travelogue embarked upon Simulacra et Simulations, and has showed a continual fascination with Eco's ideas of Disney.