Employees at Disney World were invited to a preview of the ‘Happily Ever After’ fireworks show earlier this week, the first since daily displays were paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, where an onlooker captured video of the new greeting. While the traditional pre-show announcement welcomed “ladies and gentleman, boys and girls” and “dreamers of all ages,” 2021’s version now includes only the last line.
While Disney itself has yet to comment on the apparent change, it would be in line with recent attempts to make its parks places “where everyone is welcome,” as the company described in an April press release.
“Inclusion is essential to our culture and leads us forward as we continue to realize our rich legacy of engaging storytelling, exceptional service, and Disney magic,” wrote Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro, adding that “the world is changing, and we will change with it.”
As part of those efforts, the company has also relaxed rules around employees’ appearance at its theme parks, now allowing “gender-inclusive” hairstyles, jewelry and costume choices, as well as removing elements from attractions that were deemed “racially insensitive.”
Some observers have been critical of the company’s inclusion drive, however, with a number of online detractors rejecting the latest move as a cynical attempt to appease the “woke,” while others saw a politicized agenda to force certain conceptions of gender and sexuality upon young children.
Despite the ruffled feathers, the new Disney World greeting also found support from netizens, some mocking the outrage as overwrought and hailing the move as “good business.”
“I’m not mad at this. I think it’s perfect. Dreamers of all ages, who wouldn’t like this?” asked one user.
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