Is Disney finally losing its magical touch?
The Walt Disney Company is known for being pioneers at immersion through imagination, and bringing their animated (and non-animated) worlds of wonder into the real world — with the title of The Happiest Place On Earth belonging to the Disney Parks ever since their debut, when Walt Disney decided to go full-scale with his idea for “Mickey Mouse Park”. Now, we have the first Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California, but we also have the Walt Disney World Resort and the Magic Kingdom, with international Parks scattered all around the world like the Disneyland Paris Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, and the Tokyo Disney Resort.
Seemingly, The Walt Disney Company has fallen far from grace of late, and its heyday of churning out phenomenal experiences and sparing no expense may be over. Lately, Disney fans and Park Guests have been complaining — about changes to pricing and ticketing systems, such as the elimination of the old FastPass system.
Now, there exist several paid options for advance bookings and perks such as shorter wait times in lieu of FastPasses and other free methods, namely Genie+ and the Lightning Lane system in Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort in the US, as well as Disney Premier Access at Disneyland Paris Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, and the Tokyo Disney Resort. This shift in the pricing of attractions and experiences has come with much criticism from long-time Disney Park-goers, fans and even casual visitors to the Parks around the globe. And the next thing that fans are upset about? A less-than-spectacular look for an upcoming Park Anniversary that Disney fans expected Disney to pull out all the stops for.
It’s perhaps in line with the recent critique Disney has been receiving lately about being “cheap” (I mean, they’re implementing paid viewing for parades/shows) that the recent announcement from the Tokyo Disney Resort, which houses Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks, is another blow to long time Disney fans. After a pretty spectacular 35th Anniversary Event in 2018, where the fantastically well-received Dreaming Up! Parade was debuted, as well as the unique fireworks spectacular Brand New Dream, and ear-wormy theme song Brand New Day — the announcement for next year’s much-anticipated 40th Anniversary is less than amazing.
The backlash is now mounting, after the Tokyo Disney Resort posted this update for their 40th Anniversary scheduled for next year on their official Twitter page:
The Anniversary Event “Tokyo Disney Resort 40th Anniversary ‘Dream Go Round'” will begin on April 15, 2023.
We will now be unveiling the newly designed costumes of Mickey Mouse and the Disney Friends!
— 東京ディズニーリゾートPR【公式】 (@TDR_PR) November 9, 2022
The primary-color-forward design received some thorough roasting from Disney fans, like with @ducklingtail who likened the star-like hat growing out of Mickey’s head to a vegetable — okra:
I am confronted mainly by Mickey’s okra head lol
— ducky (@ducklingtail) November 9, 2022
Twitter user @jyacooooooo is disappointed in this design, and calls out Disney and their partner in Theme Park collaboration, the Oriental Land Company (OLC), who technically fund the Tokyo Disney Resort while Disney provides the design, Imagineering and handles intellectual property (IP) within the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks:
A costume that really makes you feel [Disney and] the OLC’s lack of motivation
— じゃこ (@jyacooooooo) November 9, 2022
While @heartsdales0616 adds that though they are no longer a Disney fan, they think this is an especially childish design, that doesn’t fit the Disney Park concept of being for all the family:
Honestly, I thought so too. I’m no longer a Disney fan, but the old 15th, Fiesta, D-POP, and Xmas ones were especially gorgeous. This is just some random design aimed at [dumb] kids, isn’t it?
— りーぼーなーぼー (@heartsdales0616) November 9, 2022
Others were just left confused, like @megu168_R, who couldn’t find the (usually very obvious) overarching theme to the Anniversary event costume design (this one is likely “stars”, but to be fair — it’s pretty hard to see from afar):
What even was the theme this time, like it was a balloon for the 30th anniversary, and a ribbon for the 35th
— れぇら (@megu168_R) November 9, 2022
This design is likened to previous (better) ones. The Tokyo Disney Resort’s 40th Anniversary ‘Dream Go Round’ celebration also coincidentally takes place the same year that Disney100 is happening — the centennial celebration of 100 years of of The Walt Disney Company. @nari5391 was reminded how only 5 years ago the Tokyo Disney Park held its own rather impressive 35th Anniversary, insinuating in their response that Disney are getting lazy:
The 35th Anniversary is occasionally present [in the design] lol
— なり (@nari5391) November 9, 2022
And @2812Leon provides a comparison/observation about the 35th and the 40th anniversary costume designs:
It’s looks like they just crammed Mickey’s old outfit into the new one
← 35th Anniversary 40th Anniversary →
— レオン (@2812Leon) November 9, 2022
While @miimi_bungu had some choice opinions about the ugliness of the outfit(s) and some disdain for the local Disney fans who were likely to eat up any new design, regardless:
Mickey’s hat is overwhelmingly lame, but because Maihama’s (local area) Disney fans have been “domesticated”, I can see a future where they’ll comply even while complaining.. 😇
(I can’t put into words how ugly the hat is, and looks like a mess of old ideas… I really can’t…)
— みーみ🐈 🖌文具 #インク沼 (@miimi_bungu) November 9, 2022
@dorami_mama23 on the other hand, had a bit more of a nuanced take:
Mickey’s hat, I wonder if it’s a shooting star? 💫
It looks a little bit like that spring toy you use to play on the stairs 💦
but it’s cute ❤
— ドラみママ (@dorami_mama23) November 9, 2022
And the “spring toy” in question? @psyche0008 gives us an idea:
It’s already been mentioned, but no matter where you look at it, you can only see this, and everyone over 30 has a festive mood in their hearts.
— きっしー🎗気を抜くと体重が減る社畜 (@psyche0008) November 9, 2022
What do you think of this “disappointing” costume design from Disney? Do you think the backlash is warranted? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Located just beside the JR Maihama Station, and connected to Narita Airport and Haneda Airport by convenient transport networks, Tokyo Disney Resort comprises two theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, all connected by the Disney Resort Line monorail. Nearby are official hotels, the Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel and Tokyo Bay Maihama Hotel.