Home » Disney World was our destination. What I found could be the end for a beloved American company

Disney World was our destination. What I found could be the end for a beloved American company

by Ghassan

Massive layoffs at Disney are unsurprising. Its woke business model is unsustainable

(MAINNEWS) – I hold grudges against companies. We don’t wear Nike because they embraced America-hating former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and for a family with two immigrant parents, blessed to be Americans, we cannot abide this. I stopped using Gillette products when their ad tore into boys and men as angry possible rapists. I have a husband, a brother and two sons and will not allow males to be depicted like that for advertisement. And our family canceled a trip to Disney World last year after they inserted themselves into the political debate over Florida’s Parental Rights Law. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Chris Rufo showcased leaked videos from inside the company openly discussing “adding queerness” into children’s programming.

Barring Disney from our lives didn’t feel great. This is a storied American company. Their success is the epitome of the American dream. I wanted a path back to being a Disney family and looked for signs that they had learned their lesson.

Disney was quiet after the leak and went on to replace their CEO. Their pointed silence on political issues led me to believe they were changing, for the better. I was rooting for Disney to turn itself around. So when I was invited to speak at a conference held at Disney World last weekend, we made the call to go as a family and take our kids to the parks.

We arrived at our hotel late and while my husband and I checked in the kids watched a TV in the lobby. “I remember this show from when I was little,” my still little 7-year-old exclaimed. It was “The Three Caballeros,” his favorite.

As I looked up the year the film was made (1944), I discovered that Disney has inserted a disclaimer before the film that notes: “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”

The disclaimer also appears before films like “Aladdin,” “Dumbo” and “Peter Pan.” It’s another attempt by Disney to placate the woke critics. What Disney should learn, quickly, is that those critics can never be placated.

On Wednesday, Disney announced they would be laying off 7,000 employees and going through their third restructuring in five years. This is not a healthy company. The parks, though, remain a bright spot in the Disney portfolio and are some of the few money-producers that Disney has.

It’s not a coincidence that while the failing streaming service tries to be ever more woke, the parks have somewhat resisted it. But not entirely. We learned in the leaked videos that they no longer use “ladies and gentlemen” at the parks lest someone feel they don’t fit into either of those categories.

And like all attempts to be “gender neutral,” women get erased completely. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where little girls get their hair and makeup done to become “Godmothers in training” is now using the more inclusive “Fairy Godmother’s Apprentices.” Can’t let anyone know girls exist!

Magic Kingdom closed the Splash Mountain ride because … well, no one is really sure why. The movie on which it is based is called “Song of the South” and the film is referred to as “controversial” in articles about the ride closing but it’s unclear what that controversy is.

I had never seen the film so I did extensive searching about why it’s verboten and finally found an article that asked “Just How Racist Is Disney’s ‘Song of the South’?” Their conclusion: “It’s pretty bad.”

I was ready to read about all the racist imagery or commentary in the movie but instead found that the problem is the movie was ahistorical. “The problem isn’t necessarily what Song of the South depicts, but what it chooses not to depict. Although Harris’ Uncle Remus stories were set in Georgia after the Civil War, the film adaptation never makes it clear when the story is taking place.” And this is why kids can no longer go on a water ride at an amusement park?

If Disney thinks it has pacified the wokesters, it’s mistaken. Walking around the parks with an eye on what the woke will target next is an exercise in finding “problematic” issues everywhere. Disney World bathroom signage at the parks still has depictions of dresses for girls and pants for boys.

Uh-oh! “[I]t’s a small world” uses the same stereotypical depictions of various cultures that Disney has informed us are unacceptable. The Hall of Presidents has much it “chooses not to depict” about each man. There is no pacifying the rabid left and the sooner Disney learns this, the better.

We had loved the Disney parks on past visits. We loved the rides and the way everything just functioned well. The staff were happy and helpful. While the parks are still successful, what we found on this visit are parks in various states of disrepair.

Many of the rides we went on experienced technical difficulties. It’s not a big deal until you get to the very top of the Expedition Everest ride at Animal Kingdom and the ride grinds to a halt while everyone in the car googles to find out why the area is littered with hair-ties.

And like all attempts to be “gender neutral,” women get erased completely. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where little girls get their hair and makeup done to become “Godmothers in training” is now using the more inclusive “Fairy Godmother’s Apprentices.” Can’t let anyone know girls exist! 

The staff were grumpy, the new Genie+ and Lightning Lane system was especially confusing and wildly expensive. Disney can ride on the success of the parks but for how long? Their stock price is down nearly 25% since a year ago, right around the time they started bending to the woke mob and making changes not in line with their company philosophy.

The day we returned from Disney World, the story broke about the controversy involving Disney’s “Proud Family” cartoon. Clips from the show feature a far left point of view and the pushing of leftist concepts like ending private prisons or paying reparations. It’s a show more interested in woke indoctrination than entertainment. Easy prediction: this show will fail and Disney will lose ever more money trying to be woke.

We don’t want to hate Disney. We don’t want to see them destroyed. But the trust has been broken again and again. Parents feel like they have to closely monitor what Disney produces, lest the company sneak in just this kind of indoctrination to their children.

This is unsustainable. Those of us still hoping Disney can reverse course lose a little of that hope every time the company does something clearly bad for its business. We may think of Disney as “too big to fail” today. But plenty of huge companies collapsed after taking a wrong turn.

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Disney is taking such a turn today. Despite its prevalence, wokeness is deeply unpopular in America. They’re loud but they’re nowhere near the majority. Disney is running out of time to see the light and go back to Walt Disney’s pro-American, pro-child vision that we all had known and loved. Or we’ll be telling stories about a great American company that once existed but they fell for the woke virus and were killed by it.

By Karol Markowicz

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