Culturally Insensitive Disneyland Parade Terrifies Guest

in Disneyland Resort

Left: A Disneyland parade performer shows kids decorated coconuts. Right: Moana waves to Guests from her Magic Happens float, which is decorated like a sailboat.

Months ago, a recently-returned Disneyland parade sparked controversy online. The “Magic Happens” parade returned in February for the Disney100 Celebration after it disappeared when the Southern California Disney Park reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though thousands of Guests lined up for the magical parade down Main Street, U.S.A., many on social media quickly focused on Moana. The Disney Princess danced to a remixed melody of songs from her animated film, with movements that many found insensitive toward traditional Polynesian culture.

Moana at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

“The Polynesian culture is being inaccurately portrayed and the dance is way far from the truth and real meaning to it,” one fan wrote at the time. Another called it cultural appropriation.

Discussion about Magic Happens faded as other issues popped up at the Disney Parks, from the closure of Splash Mountain to the devastating fire that destroyed Fantasmic!’s Maleficent animatronic.

This week, TikToker @todisney_andbeyond brought attention back to Magic Happens when she shared a video of one of the Moana (2016) inspired dancers spooking her while she watched the Disneyland parade:


#kakamora almost got me! #moana #disneylandparade #fyp #magichappens #disneylandtiktok #disneyparade

♬ original sound – To Disney & Beyond

The Guest initially screamed when a Disney performer scared her with a Kakamora – the Disney representation of a mischievous, mythical spirit often represented by small statues in Polynesian communities. As the video ended, she laughed off the brief moment of terror.

“Kakamora almost got me!” she wrote, obviously in jest.

Of course, the lightheartedness of this video should not discount the real concerns of Polynesian fans calling on Disneyland Resort to change Moana’s choreography. At this time, entertainment Cast Members still perform the controversial dance.

Should this Disneyland parade change? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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