“Leave It Alone!” Fans Fear Death of the Walt Disney Legacy

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Walt Disney posing in front of 'Sleeping Beauty' concept art.

Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Walt Disney Company is going through a season of change, which has drastically affected its movies, services, and theme parks. Although done with good intentions, many changes have been met with graphic fan backlash.

Credit: Pixar

Despite their best efforts, Disney has indeed made attempts at incorporating more contemporary additions to their catalog of movies and television shows. Although projects like Turning Red (2022) and Elemental (2023) accomplish that with a vocal fan following, many believe Disney has strayed too far from Walt’s original vision.

Related: Bob Iger Confirms Retirement From The Walt Disney Company

That’s not to say Walt Disney’s influence isn’t continuously felt in everything the company does, but many would agree that Disney’s priorities have been skewed over the past few years. The hard truth of the matter is it’s now become impossible to ignore.

Has the Walt Disney Company Lost Its Way?

Walt Disney with Mickey Mouses
Credit: D23

The phrase “go woke, go broke” it’s already something of a stereotype, but to say Disney hasn’t tried to be more politically correct recently would be untrue. As a result, many of Walt Disney’s original concepts and designs have since been altered to better fit a changing social culture.

Related: Adult-Only Spaces Open at Walt Disney World

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with altering something that’s out of date to satisfy a more modern audience. However, there is definitely something wrong when the element that makes it remarkable gets watered down.

Credit: Disney

Disney has just celebrated its 100th anniversary, commemorating the achievements of Walt Disney, his Imagineers, and everything that makes the brand a household name. And yet, Disney is currently in the process of either reworking or refurbishing some of their classic rides, attractions, and films.

Related: Guests Ignore Once in a Lifetime Disney100 Event

It’s not like Disney hasn’t done something like this before, many of their properties have undergone some sort of changes even as far back as the ’80s, but some of their most recent revisions have been met with borderline rage. Take Snow White (1937), the recently announced Bambi remake, and even Pirates of the Caribbean at the Disney Parks is under fire.

Bambi on Blast

Bambi with her friend
Credit: Disney

The fanbase already has a love/hate relationship with the live action remakes, but the recent announcement surrounding Bambi has truly had Disney fans going for their torches and pitchforks. It was revealed that the infamous scene surrounding the death of Bambi’s mother would be heavily altered so as not to offend any “sensitive” parents. Naturally, hardcore fans were anything but happy, and the comments were a war zone.

Related: Disneyland Officially Breaking Walt Disney’s Most Sacred Rule

Although many comments were fueled by rage, others did bring up several logical points to the needless change. A user identified only as “Misty” writes,

“I can’t believe Disney. That scene pretty much sets up the whole movie by explaining why Bambi is alone. As a child this movie was awesome no trauma. It actually made me respect life more.”

Further down in the comments, an anonymous user adds,

“I personally feel it should be left as is. I love Bambi. The harsh reality is, we all die at some point somehow… Hunting is the reason she died. We hunt in order to put food on our table, better than her getting hit by a car. All these offended and hurt feelings is too much anymore.”

Of course, Bambi isn’t the only character on the chopping block these past few weeks. Now, even Walt Disney’s first original fairytale is being ripped apart.

Walt Disney’s First Gets Put to Sleep

Snow White holding bird in 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
Credit: Disney

Rachel Zegler is already burning the live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to the ground, but recent news about the 4K restoration of the original film has drastically upset some fans. While the comments on this announcement were more concerned with the remake, as the release may have been pushed to cover up the controversy, some are genuinely concerned about the film itself.

Related: ‘Snow White’: Walt’s Emotional Storytelling

Users like “Sue” and “Marilyn Fox” share the same fear that Walt Disney’s original contributions are being erased with the passage of time and the shifting of audiences. At first, that might sound a bit farfetched. However, one only has to look towards the Parks to see that it might not be just hearsay.

Guests Sink Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirate animatronics reach for a key held by a dog animatronic on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Credit: Disney

Along with stories and original movie prints being altered, the rides and attractions at the Disney Parks aren’t even safe from the threat of change. As demonstrated with Splash Mountain, all it takes is the right number of offended visitors to run the attraction into the ground.

Related: Disney Could Replace Johnny Depp with Original Jack Sparrow

Similarly, Pirates of the Caribbean has been threatened since the “scandalous” auction scene was removed some years ago. Recently, Inside the Magic covered fan reactions that demanded the ride be further updated or to, as one commenter put it, “not give them any ideas.”

a photo of Cinderella's castle inside of Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Credit: Inside The Magic / Walt Disney World Resort

Many consider the ride to be the pinnacle of Disney Imagineering, and to alter it too much would be detrimental to what makes it so famous. With that in mind, a little TLC could undoubtedly do the ride a world of good.

Related: Walt Disney Ideologies Spark Vocal Debate

Ultimately, it’s a matter of “how much is too much?” Disney should absolutely do their best to give fans the finest quality of movies, rides, and experiences, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of Walt’s legacy. After all, a little goes a long way.

Do you think Walt’s work is at risk? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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