Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has removed the greeting phrase "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls" from its "Happily Ever After" fireworks show. In the place of the traditional greeting, the fireworks show will now greet onlookers with the phrase "Good evening, dreamers of all ages!" The change in greeting is reportedly part of Disney's larger commitment to being more inclusive. Clearly, Disney has been studying the cultural transition where gender identity is concerned and is making this small but important change to make those who are not fixed to one gender identity feel more included.
The change to Disney's "Happily Ever After" fireworks show was noticed by fans who attended the first fireworks display at the park, since the COVID-19 pandemic:
Disney removes ”Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls” from Happily Ever After pre show announcement.
Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls FOREVER! pic.twitter.com/joWLcYBgMf— Showcase of Wishes (@ShowcaseWishes) June 30, 2021
As you can see in the tweet above, some Disney park fans aren't happy with the change, but that's to be expected. There are always some who oppose changes based on inclusivity concerns.
Jungle Cruise is just one of many updates that Disney is making to the more "classic" attractions at its theme parks. Splash Mountain (with its questionable slavery-era themes) was converted into a ride based on the Princess and the Frog movie; the Jungle Cruise ride is also being updated to remove what are now seen as racially insensitive depictions.
The goal is for Disney to retain the nostalgia appeal of its classic theme-park rides, while still acquiescing to the changing views of the times. Granted, this isn't all about social progression - as always there is a clear financial benefit to it. For example, Disney will be releasing a blockbuster movie based on the Jungle Cruise ride, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place). You can bet that Disney wants that film to be released free of any "controversy" sparked by discussion of the racially insensitive theme park ride the film is based on. Being proactive and making changes to the ride heads off potential backlash - even if the ride won't be revamped before the Jungle Cruise movie hits theaters.
Here's the synopsis for Disney's Jungle Cruise movie. It hits theaters on July 30th:
Set during the early 20th century, a riverboat captain named Frank takes a British scientist and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life, which is believed to possess healing powers that could be of great benefit to modern medicine. All the while, the trio must fight against dangerous wild animals, a hot and deadly environment, and a competing German expedition that is determined to find the tree first.