#BoycottDisney Empties Parks, Ghost Town Following “Woke” Backlash

in Disney Parks, Entertainment

empty disney springs, no crowds

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney is seemingly going through a boycott, and now, the theme parks are getting hit.

Over the past few years, we have seen Disney attempt to be much more diverse and inclusive in all aspects of the company, including casting choices. This, for some, has recently gone too far — and now Disney is seemingly looking to make it right.

Previously, Disney launched the Reimagine Tomorrow initiative, stating that “We haven’t always got it right.” This came after the Cast Member dress code changed when it came to the “Disney Look,” allowing Cast Members to express themselves more while at work. On top of that, we have already heard of the progress coming along on the new Princess and the Frog attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, that is replacing Splash Mountain’s racist undertone scenes due to the Song of the South IP, as well as changing the storyline on both Walt Disney World Resort’s and Disneyland Resort’s Jungle Cruise attraction to ensure cultural appropriation disappears.

Halle Bailey as human Ariel petting a dog in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Following this, we saw Disney begin to change their casting, placing different ethnicities into characters that were previously created as Caucasian. The first casting choice to make headlines was when Disney announced they had finally found who would play the iconic mermaid, Ariel, for the live-action remake The Little Mermaid. The Disney Princess and mermaid, Ariel, is played by actress Halle Bailey, known for her work in ABC’s Grown-ish and as one half of the famous R&B singing duo Chloe and Halle.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' 2023
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

But it wasn’t long before the Internet spoke about the decision on Bailey’s casting. While many fans were highly supportive, others immediately took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their frustrations about the casting of the Disney Princess character. The hashtag #NotMyAriel immediately began to trend.

The Walt Disney Company, Jodi Benson (the original voice for Ariel in the 1989 animated classic), Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the producers and composers for the upcoming live-action remake, and others spoke out defending Disney’s decision and Bailey’s casting of the character.

Then we heard Yara Shahidi, currently known for her role on ABC’s Black-ish, is looking forward to playing the iconic sidekick, Tinker Bell, in the upcoming live-action film, Peter Pan and Wendy.

Most recently, the upcoming Snow White live-action film starring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot has hit some heat. There are two main instances that caused fans to outrage with the upcoming film. Firstly, there will be no dwarfs in the film, but seven magical creatures, which deviates from the iconic story that Walt Disney himself created on screen. The second comes from an interview where Zegler and Gadot say that Snow White will not have a prince charming, and there is no one that needs to save her.

Credit: Disney

At this point, fans accused Disney of creating a totally different film, and creating a pseudo-feminist film that makes Snow White’s ideals and behavior be seen as wrong, creating a corrupt narrative for females who may dream of finding their “prince charming”, or behaving as more of a softer character, than someone who is constantly trying to be the leader, as Zegler said Snow White will now be. With this, fans have been outraged at Disney pushing their “woke” agenda.

Rachel Zegler pretending to be Snow White in front of a poster of the classic animated princess
Credit: Rachel Zegler, Twitter

At the same time #BoycottDisney became quite the popular discussion on Twitter.

The Blare said “Let’s Go” with the #BoycottDisney hashtag showing their stock dropping.

Nick Flor said, “(Disney is probably one of X’s advertisers, so I wonder what will happen if I post this). Let’s boycott Disney because of their insane Woke reboot of Snow White. Instead of pushing family values, which is their traditional brand, they’re pushing the destruction of families and irrational ideologies. BDN. Boycott Disney Now. (let’s see what kind of reach this gets).”

The Tweets continue to load in a fury when “Boycott Disney” is typed into the search bar. Some of which include vulgar and derrogitory comments, but at the root of many lies the choice to chance the plot of Snow White.

Revolver News discussed ongoing boycott, “The Bud Light boycott was notably rowdy, loud, and widely covered in the news. Bud Light’s reputation went down in flames very quickly, and we all watched it unfold. While the situation with Disney may not be as immediately noticeable, it is proving to be just as damaging. Evidence suggests that a “silent” boycott against Disney is indeed taking place, causing a death spiral behind the scenes. Things kick off with Disney biggest loss ever. The Mouse has lost nearly a billion dollars thanks to their last eight woke flops in a row.”

Matt Walsh shared one of the rioted Rachel Zegler interviews stating: “Disney is trying a really interesting marketing strategy where the star of the new Snow White spends a year before the movie’s release publicly talking about how much she despises Snow White.”

Following the extreme backlash, Zegler took to Twitter to try and have Disney fans be more kind towards her. She wrote, “i love you very much. forever and ever. remember to be kind. treat each other with patience and empathy. remember that you are loved unconditionally, no matter your mistakes, no matter your misunderstandings. you deserve it. you deserve love. you deserve to live without fear. x” as well as “i hope the world becomes kinder” on August 11, 2023.

Some of the comments on the Tweets pushed again that Snow White’s narrative should not be changed, “If you really “love” us so much, then listen. There are legitimate concerns brought forward by others. Why aren’t you fighting for a true adaptation of Snow White? It’s okay for girls to want true love.”, while others were much more hateful, calling Zegler “brownish mud”.

Credit: Dave J. Hogan

Now, it seems that the hatred that some are having towards Disney’s choices in recent films has bled over into the theme parks, and #BoycottDisney is becoming true.

Right now, we are currently still in peak season, as many schools have yet to begin again. On top of the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is underway at Walt Disney World, and the International Food and Wine Festival has begun. That being said, it is absolutely dismal at the theme parks right now.

empty disney springs, no crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney Springs is nearly always packed with Guests because it is the only place you can visit at Walt Disney World for free, plus, it has the most amount of shopping and eateries for all Guests. Typically, Disney Springs is so busy you will find yourself driving around in circles to find a spot, but now, there seems to be no one around at all.

empty disney springs, no crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

It seems that there may be a chance that the “woke agenda”, as many are calling it, that Disney has been instilling for quite some time has deterred some Guests from visiting the theme parks.

empty disney springs, no crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

We have continued to see Bob Iger report a loss in Walt Disney World attendance in the Q3 earnings call, so it will be interesting to see if the theme parks can bounce back following this intense backlash.

Are you boycotting Disney?

If you are looking to visit Walt Disney World Resort for a magical vacation, the Walt Disney World Website can be a great tool to begin planning your trip! You can begin exploring their theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. You can also take a look at their water parks where you can splash around in the chill of Disney’s Blizzard Beach (alongside new Frozen characters, Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Kristoff), or hit the waves at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. When you get hungry or want to go shopping, Disney Springs is the place to be, especially with World of Disney there ready to help you pick up some souvenirs! You can also begin looking for your Disney World Resort! If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe monorail Resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a Value Resort where you can hop on the Skyliner like Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it is always fun to begin looking for a room that would best suit you and your party. Plus, it has all the information you need to know on Disney Genie+ so that you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.

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