Disney Fans Voice Concerns About “PC Culture” In The Parks

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Splash Retheme

Credit: Disney

Over the years, all of the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts have changed, adapted, and evolved to fit our modern life. From new advancements in technology and incredibly innovative rides, Disney Imagineering has truly brought Disney Guests and fans alike some unforgettable experiences and magical memories.

Credit: Disney

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In the coming months, Guests can anticipate several new experiences in the Parks, most notable being the new Guardians of the Galaxy as well as the complete transformation of EPCOT. In the Magic Kingdom, Guests are also eagerly awaiting the release of the new TRON roller coaster in Tomorrowland. However, there are things that Disney fans would rather have the Walt Disney Company not change or even touch. Classic rides like the Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan’s Flight come to mind went thinking about iconic attractions that Disney fans do not want to be changed at all. One classic Disneyland attraction has changed significantly, however, and it involved Pirates.

peter pans flight
Credit: Disney

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Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean may be one of the most recognizable attractions not just within the Disney community but in the entire world. It features amazing set pieces, fun animatronics, and some truly catchy music. It is a Disney icon in all senses of the world. But over the years, the ride has been changed several times to make it more friendly and inclusive.

Haunted Mansion at night
Credit: Disney

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The biggest change came a few years ago when the infamous “Bride Auction” scene was changed, adding the new character of Red to the scene and removing references to brides being bought. While the change made the ride a little less dark, lots of Disney fans voiced their concerns about how the attraction has been changed too much.

Recently, a post on Reddit gained traction after a Guest noticed something else missing from the ride. See the full post from u/Rdubya44 below:

The noose outside of town on Pirates was untied so now it’s just a random rope hanging down

The noose outside of town on Pirates was untied so now it’s just a random rope hanging down from Disneyland

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As you can see, there used to be a noose at this particular spot but now it is missing. This sparked a discussion in the comments about Disney being too “woke” and politically correct. User u/Opimi216 commented:

It’s a little bit strange considering the bloody history of pirates. And hanging pirates was a common theme in the Disney movies themselves. It’s a minor change, one most people won’t notice, but still kind of strange

User u/HostileHippie91 said:

The number of steps they’re taking to take a ride about rampaging pirates and make it as inoffensive and safe as possible is annoying

User u/eddie5597 took the opposite stance on this issue:

It’s even worse. This is something Disney changed by themselves. There was no ‘outrage’ or even viral posts about it. Disney just updated one tiny thing most people probably never even noticed.

But as always, these people wanna project their feelings onto others to make themselves feel better. Even worse since they’re also complaining about ‘muh historical accuracy’ when the ride is about pirates that turn into living skeletons. There was very little accuracy in the ride in the first place

User u/theseaofthievesgame commented:

the wokeness is real

User u/Duckman93 asked what the big deal was about the noose after a user claimed it was racist:

Nooses are inherently racist?? They’re just a way of execution like pirates used. PC culture is ridiculous

pirates of the caribbean disneyland paris
Credit: Disney

More on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland:

A Pirate’s Life for You

Strike yer colors! Your adventure begins in a shadowy bayou, where you’ll board a weathered barge. Plunge down a waterfall in the dark and float through the spectral world of Pirates Grotto. Dead men tell no tales—but they guard their treasure for all eternity.

Navigate cannon fire between a fort and a 12-gun galleon. Glide into port and behold brazen buccaneers drunk on pillaged plunder. Skulk past the well-armed lass who commands a colorful auction of villagers’ goods.

Sing along as sea roving scalawags serenade you with their classic shanty, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).” Witness flames engulf the town and pass prisoners trapped in their jail cell, doggedly trying to escape.

Keep a spry eye out for sly Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbeanfilm series, as he schemes to get his hands on the spoils.

If ye be seekin’ adventure, ay—you’ve come to the proper place!

Over 50 Years of Pirates at Disneyland Park

Pirates of the Caribbean is considered one of the most immersive attractions ever created for a theme park.

When Walt Disney originally designed the attraction in the 1950s, he imagined it as a wax museum and a walk-through adventure. However, after the success of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Disney and his team of Imagineers decided that Audio-Animatronics—Walt’s latest animation technology—was the most imaginative way to tell a rousing pirate story.

On March 18, 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disneyland Park. Thanks to the highly detailed scenes, lavish special effects and memorable characters, the attraction earned rave reviews and has remained a beloved classic ever since.

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise Boat
Credit: Disney

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More than a few Guests and Disney fans have started to complain about the Disney Parks becoming overly “sensitive” and making too many drastic changes. A big point of contention recently was the removal of several iconic but problematic scenes in the infamous Jungle Cruise attraction. For those who may not know, The Jungle Cruise featured several offensive and racially-insensitive depictions of people groups.

trader sam magic kingdom jungle cruise wdw
Credit: collinsrace1.wordpress.com

Trader Sam, the audio-animatronic headhunter Guests can see toward the end of the ride was removed turning into an unseen Jungle Navigation Company manager who has converted the river tour company’s thatched-roofed hut for lost and found items into the Trader Sam’s Gift Shop. Imagineering also made a woman of color the central character of the revamped Jungle Cruise rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Alberta Falls is the free-spirited adventuress and descendant of world explorers from India and England who will serve as the fictional heroine of the renovated Jungle Cruise attraction.

Splash Mountain

splash mountain tiana
Credit: Disney

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Perhaps the most infamous example of this can be attributed to Disney’s plans for Splash Mountain. In the summer of 2020, Disney Parks officially announced that Splash Mountain would be getting a complete retheme at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The decision came after a long debate about the Song of the South IP, which the film the attraction was based on. The project was proposed as part of Disney’s efforts to bring more diverse representation to the theme parks and remove offensive themes as the ones talked about above. See more on the official announcement below:

Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our parks.

Splash Mountain Concept Art
Credit: Disney

The voice of Princess Tiana and Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, shared, “It is really exciting to know that Princess Tiana’s presence in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will finally be fully realized! As passionate as I am about what we created, I know the fans are going to be over the moon. The Imagineers are giving us ‘The Princess and the Frog’ Mardi Gras celebration we’ve been waiting for, and I’m here for it!”

The approach to retheming or “plussing” attractions (as Walt Disney referred to it) begins with Imagineers asking the question, how can we build upon or elevate the experience and tell a fresh, relevant story? It’s a continuous process that Imagineers are deeply passionate about. And with this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today. The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.

Charita Carter on Splash Mountain Retheme
Credit: Disney

It has nearly been two years since the announcement and was met with a variety of responses from Disney fans. Some were very excited and happy to see that The Princess and the Frog (2009), not only an excellent film but a film that stars a Black princess, would replace the attraction. While others who found Splash Mountain as classic and iconic went as far as to petition to have the ride remain as-is. Recently, information regarding the retheming was removed from the attraction’s official website, leading some to believe Disney may have scrapped its plans to convert the iconic water-based ride.

Lost Boys Peter Pan
Credit: Disney

Breaking outside of the Parks, Disney+ users have noticed several changes on the streaming service as well regarding racially-insensitive images of depictions. Users will notice warnings pop up before watching Peter Pan, The Aristocrats, The Jungle Book, day and the Tramp, Dumbo and Swiss Family Robinson. The message warns that the movies contain racial stereotypes that “were wrong then and are wrong now,” and that the content perpetuates “negative depictions” of people and cultures. These changes were a part of Disney’s “Stories Matter” initiative, which is meant to improve how the company’s stories represent all people and communities.

disney world haunted mansion exterior
Credit: Disney

The Haunted Mansion

These changes and discussions don’t always revolve around race or culture, however. A big discussion a few years back happened in regards to a specific element on the Haunted Mansion. While in the queue for the ride, Guests walk into “the stretching room” where they see the walls “stretch” as well as a depiction of a hanged body. On a Reddit thread, one Disney fan sparked the conversation of this scene which takes place in the stretching room inside the Haunted Mansion at both Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and in New Orleans Square in Disneyland park:

No seriously. If we’re talking about the most overtly offensive scene in a Park attraction that could pretty easily be changed, it’s this scene in the stretching room. You all know it. The one where the ghost host says “Of course, there’s always my way” and flashes to a hanging body.

Why is this problematic?
A) It trivializes Suicide as a joke.
B) It’s gruesome
C) It features a noose, which ties in to lynching.

I’m not joking here. I do think this should at least be up for consideration, as it would only take a small script rework and a removal of the lighting flash that makes the body visible.

Disney has made no comment on the scene in the Haunted Mansion at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

How do you feel about all of the changes being made to the Disney Parks and Resorts? Let us know in the comments below.

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disneyland Resort, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District. Or what about Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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