According to Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks will continue to push forward with diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Of course, with 2020 being best known for protests as well as the pandemic, this should come as no surprise. Earlier in the year, Disney announced a retheme of Splash Mountain that will remove references to the controversial Song of the South and replace it with The Princess and the Frog.
There’s also talk of Disney reviewing several “dated” attractions in light of current events, with rumors swirling around a Hamilton-esque retheme of The Hall of Presidents, revisions to The American Adventure and more.
Still, time marches on and conversations and Disney being the “global influencer” that it is, wants to step in to help steer that conversation. (Whether or not anyone actually asked them to on their behalf is up for debate.)
“Events in the U.S. forced us to look across our entire business with an updated lens and frankly we have some work to do both on stage and backstage. And at Disney, a company steeped in traditions and heritage, change isn’t always easy,” D’Amaro said. “When we say, ‘To all who come to this happy place, welcome,’ that means everyone, both cast and guests. And … that’s a tradition that goes back to Walt Disney himself.”
(Side note: As long as they’re not communists. Walt Disney hated communists.)
Here’s more from the IAAPA…
D’Amaro highlighted the continued work on previously announced projects at all Disney locations, including Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort, Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort, and Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea. Some of the big changes are also happening internally. In September this year, the company announced it would be adding a fifth key to its “Four Keys” guiding principles: inclusion. “Events in the U.S. forced us to look across our entire business with an updated lens and frankly we have some work to do both on stage and backstage. And at Disney, a company steeped in traditions and heritage, change isn’t always easy,” D’Amaro said. “When we say, ‘To all who come to this happy place, welcome,’ that means everyone, both cast and guests. And … that’s a tradition that goes back to Walt Disney himself.”
The cultural change at the company has already begun. The company will be deepening its relationship with historically Black colleges and universities to create a stronger pipeline to careers in finance, human resources, legal, communications, production, and technology. “We believe that truly inclusive environment is critical to fostering ideas from all people to help us grow, innovate, and create the best stories possible,” D’Amaro said. More information about Disney’s backstage commitment to inclusivity will be rolling out in the next few months. Guest facing changes, like the reimagining of “Splash Mountain,” have been expedited to ensure that all who visit the company’s parks do feel welcome as well.
“In the world that we find ourselves in today, optimism, innovation, and courage, they will ultimately win the day,” D’Amaro said. “With the emboldened spirit that comes from the challenges of the COVID crisis, with the hope and optimism that our brand captures even in the toughest of times, let’s ask ourselves why not take our guests to the moon or bring the moon to our guests? Why not dream as big as possible? And challenge the very meaning of the word impossible.”
What do you make of D’Amaro’s comments? Is this a sincere step in he right direction for the company, or is it just lipservice to be on point in 2020?