Disney World Accused of Using AI for Theme Park Designs

in Walt Disney World

A woman wearing rose gold Minnie ears - a popular disney souvenir - in Fantasyland.

Credit: Disney

Is Disney using AI to design its park merchandise? TikToker @TheDapperDanielle certainly seems to think so.

In a recent video, the Disney creator shared her concerns that Walt Disney World Resort is using artificial intelligence to generate images for use on products such as t-shirts.

@thedapperdanielle

Mmmmm not the video i wanted to make today. But its gotta be said. 😑 original photo belongs to @That Park Life Pod #disneymerchandise#disneymerch#disneyworld#disneylife#disneypark#magickingdom#fantasylanddisney#fantasyland#ai#badart#disneyai#thedapperdanielle#randomdisneythings#disneyland

♬ original sound – ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ – ˙˚ 𓆩 ✞ 𓆪 ˚˙

After seeing pictures shared on Instagram by friends at the parks, Danielle had a suspicion that it was AI-generated when she noticed that a Fantasyland t-shirt seemed to combine elements from various locations. “It’s no-one’s Fantasyland,” she said. “It’s a combination of multiple Fantasyland references.”

She went on to explain that when you ask AI to generate an image, it takes “multiple pieces” of the things you’re asking for and combine them into the style you want. However, this tends to mess up perspective and anatomy.

Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort after a rainstorm
Credit: Brett Kiger on Flickr

As Danielle pointed out, this can be seen most obviously in the horses on the carousel, where the legs don’t match. One horse also has a random additional horn that none of the other horses have. The castle is also jarring – looking, as Danielle describes, like “an awful version of Cinderella’s Castle” which seems to be inspired by the front, not the back as it should be for this location.

Danielle also found what she believes to be the reference image for the design, claiming that it has simply been traced over for the t-shirt.It’s also lifted other bits and pieces from various Fantasylands around the world.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and King Arthur Carousel at Disneyland Park in the Fantasyland Area
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

This isn’t the first time Disney’s been accused of using AI in recent months. When Wish (2023) hit theaters, some fans suggested that the lyrics sounded like they’d been generated by artificial intelligence. A poster for Loki was also accused of being AI, while the opening credits were confirmed to be so, triggering an outpour of anger on X (formerly Twitter).

Disney has been in hot water over AI this week as the U.S. government has ruled that it can’t simply ignore shareholder opinions when it comes to AI in the future.

Inside the Magic contacted Disney for confirmation as to whether this t-shirt in question was generated by AI, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Do you agree with Disney using AI for its theme parks? Let us know in the comments!

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