A Disney theme park superfan wrote a scathing op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel declaring that “wokeness” is ruining the Disney experience.
Jonathan VanBoskerck takes yearly family vacations to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and takes a Disney Cruise every one to two years. The fan claims that Disney’s shifting political priorities have broken the magic of “immersion” at the famous theme park.
According to Orlando Weekly, Disney Park Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced that the company would allow park employees to showcase different hairstyles and tattoos to create a more “inclusive” atmosphere.
“Our new approach provides greater flexibly with respect to form of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos,” D’Amaro said.
In his op-ed, VanBoskerck said that the priority shift takes away from the experience of customers.
“The problem is is, I’m not traveling across the country and paying thousands of dollars to watch someone I do not know express themselves. I am there for the immersion and the fantasy, not the reality of a stranger’s self-expression,” VanBoskerck said. “I do not begrudge these people their individuality and I wish them well in their personal lives, but I do not get to express my individuality at my place of business.”
The Disney megafan also claims that the company has taken a “woke scalpel” to many of its rides and attractions. He was particularly upset when the theme park opted to remove “Trader Sam” from the Jungle Cruise ride in Magic Kingdom. Trader Sam was considered “culturally insensitive” to management.
“The next time I ride Jungle Cruise I will not be thinking about the gloriously entertaining puns of the skippers, I will be thinking about Disney’s political agenda. That’s a mood killer,” VanBoskerck wrote.
Similar moves have been made in the name of diversity and cultural sensitivity. According to NPR, the famous Splash Mountain is undergoing a design change in response to complaints about the ride’s association with the song “Song from the South” from a 1946 film. The ride will be “re-themed” to focus on the 2009 film, “The Princess and the Frog.”
The changes were made after a Change.org petition claimed that the ride was “steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes.”
Recently, a top Disney executive boasted that the company was passing on well-written scripts because the characters were white.
The Daily Wire reported:
Walt Disney Television’s chairman of entertainment Dana Walden admitted this month that ABC passed on several “well-written scripts” because they lacked “diversity.”
Walden even bragged about passing on a script because it centered around a white family, only adding racial diversity through neighbors and other supporting characters.
VanBoskerck concluded his op-ed by claiming that these issues should matter to Floridians and the tourism industry.
“This should matter to the people of Orlando because, if Disney drives away customers like me, Orlando loses money. I can take my tourist dollars elsewhere,” VanBoskerck said. “I would rather keep spending them in Orlando but people like me feel more and more excluded by Disney’s decisions.”
Related: The Definitive Timeline Of Disney’s Path To Wokeness