Hungarian Conservative

Disney’s ‘Woke’ Theme Park Ride Threatens Company Profitability

Disney World in Orlando, Florida
The Motley Fool/Creative Commons Licence
The Walt Disney Company has decided to discontinue one of its most popular theme park rides, Splash Mountain, due to progressive activists labelling it as ‘racist’, and replaced it with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure based on a little-known movie about a black princess. Disney has been already losing money on its film releases and most of its profits were generated by the experiences segment of the company, which too could be in jeopardy now.

The American entertainment giant Walt Disney Company has not had much success with its films at the box office lately. Having to face constant backlash from the right-leaning parents of America for pushing woke ideology on their kids, they have had to endure hundred-million-dollar losses with such releases as Lightyear (2022), Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), and the biggest flops of all, Wish (2023).

However, the truth of the business is that films have not been the company’s biggest moneymakers for some time now. While entertainment brought in the biggest share of revenue, $40.6 billion, in 2023, it has not generated the most profit for the company. Rather, it was the experiences segment of the megacorporation, which includes world-famous theme parks such as Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Disneyland Paris in Paris, France, and Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

While the experiences segment ‘only’ brought in $32.5 billion in revenue in 2023, that department’s performance still amounted to 70 per cent of the company’s total operating income.

In such a case,

it seems that involving the seemingly poisonous woke ideology in a theme park attraction is not a great business proposition.

Yet this is what the Disney management just did.

In June 2024, Disney announced that it was closing down its popular Splash Mountain ride, available at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. The reason was that some far-left ideologues found the ride racist and offensive, given that it was based on the 1946 live-action and animated musical Song of the South by Disney. The story takes place in the Reconstruction era after the American Civil War in the Southern, former slave-owning state of Georgia. The controversy was that black characters were depicted as cheerful and carefree, despite the fact the post-Civil War South in many ways was even harsher for African Americans than slavery, since they were no longer viewed as valuable property by the local white supremacist forces and proper civil rights protections were not in place yet.

Still, Splash Mountain was one of the most popular rides in the theme parks for decades before its shut-down came for ideological reasons most patrons were never even aware of.

The popular attraction was replaced by Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is based on the 2009 animated Disney musical The Princess and the Frog. Needless to say at this poin that the main character of the movie is a black girl.

Snow White Is No Longer White in the New Disney Film — Is It Not ‘Cultural Appropriation’?

On top of the usual criticism of caving to the pressure of unpopular woke activists, theme park goers have also been complaining about the new ride frequently breaking down. Multiple social media posts attest to guests having to leave the ride and be escorted out by staff (or ‘cast members’, as Disney theme parks tend to refer to them).

Dr. Grant Seeker on X (formerly Twitter): "Tiana's Bayou Adventure is down and if you go on the railroad you can catch the Tiana animatronic in T mode. No figures moving, just the screens. Spooky stuff. pic.twitter.com/r6ruq5caqB / X"

Tiana's Bayou Adventure is down and if you go on the railroad you can catch the Tiana animatronic in T mode. No figures moving, just the screens. Spooky stuff. pic.twitter.com/r6ruq5caqB

The markets did not react well to yet another woke controversy coming out of Disney. The company’s stock has dropped 5.54 per cent in the last 30 days. While it is up 7 per cent year-to-day, it is still nowhere near its all-time high of $201.91 a share in March 2021, currently sitting at $97.05 a share before market open on 10 July 2024.

There was a major push by conservative investor Nelson Peltz to vote out the progressive activist board members in the company at a shareholders' meeting in April 2024. However, his efforts were in vain, and the same board of directors was reelected. Disney's stock price was at $117.35 the day before the meeting, on an upward trajectory since the market was anticipating a change. However, that change never came, and the company’s valuation has not been able to recover since.


Related articles:

No Country for Woke Men
‘Hungary Has a Robust Immune System Against Woke Ideology, But Should Be on Guard’ — An Interview with Chris Rufo
The Walt Disney Company has decided to discontinue one of its most popular theme park rides, Splash Mountain, due to progressive activists labelling it as ‘racist’, and replaced it with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure based on a little-known movie about a black princess. Disney has been already losing money on its film releases and most of its profits were generated by the experiences segment of the company, which too could be in jeopardy now.

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