Amazing Disney Rumors for March 2021
Last month, I promised you that I would provide an update on Jungle Cruise once I knew more.
Well, the Disney Parks Blog beat me to the punch by providing more details. I’ll explain the why of it and how this decision might impact other rides.
We’ll learn about a new key in the latest batch of Disney Rumors.
Disney Sensitivity and the Five Keys
Last September, The Walt Disney Company confirmed that it had taken a drastic step.
For the first time since the days of Walt Disney, the company had modified its Four Keys.
Specifically, Disney introduced a fifth key, one that had gone unstated but assumed throughout its history.
That new key is Inclusion. It joins the existing keys of Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency.
Unless you’re hyper-familiar with Disney policies or worked there, you may not even know what a key is.
To Disney workers, these keys represent a hierarchy for performing job duties. Think of them as the expectations the company has for its staff.
Cast members should honor the four keys as much as possible, but the hierarchy exists for a reason.
Sometimes, a job duty leads to a choice between the implementation of keys. For example, Disney will NOT provide Courtesy above all other responsibilities.
That key falls second on the chain behind Safety. Workers learn that they should protect guests even if it means becoming less courteous in some situations.
Let’s say that a fire breaks out at Na’Vi River Journey, but a stubborn guest refuses to leave the area.
The cast members on duty must persuade that person to leave the grounds, even if it requires more aggressive professional behavior.
You’ve encountered the four keys literally every time you’ve interacted with Disney employees. You just didn’t know it.
All cast members receive detailed training in these areas. In fact, some of it is available online if you’d like to learn more.
Disney sells training courses online as well. Some companies even pay to learn customer service from Disney, the best in the world at it.
The Fifth Key
You’re obviously wondering why Disney introduced Inclusion as its latest key.
This answer comes from the top. Since Bob Iger earned the title of Disney CEO, he’s worked tirelessly to improve the company’s message.
When Bob Chapek replaced Iger as CEO, he similarly committed to Disney representing itself as the most tolerant and inclusive of all businesses.
Cynics would decry Disney for mistakes it has made in the past.
However, even the harshest critics must admit that Disney’s heart is usually in the right place, especially on social issues.
Given some of the tumultuous events in 2020 and other recent years, Chapek determined that Disney must do more.
The new boss chose to codify Inclusion after years of cast members assuming it as a basic company tenet.
That step may not sound like much, but it’s actually a foundation-shaking decision.
Disney has picked a side in the culture wars by saying that it wants everyone to dream of working for the company.
Iger had taken a decisive step in this direction in 2019 when Disney posted Belong, a sort of mission statement about Inclusion.
You can and should read the link to learn how Disney perceives the significance of this commitment.
Here’s the profound part:
“Our focus and intent encourages people from every nation, race/ethnicity, belief, gender, sexual identity, disability and culture to feel respected and valued for their unique contributions to our businesses. It informs our guiding principles and defines our relationship with guests and consumers, who trust and believe in the Disney brand in ways that are meaningful to them. Simply put, diversity and inclusion reminds us all —from Disney fans to employees — that we belong.”
Disney wants all fans to feel like they’re an accepted part of the community, and that’s a beautiful belief.
Which Brings Us to Jungle Cruise…
Some Disney detectives have found the permits for construction on Jungle Cruise. This paperwork suggests that the project must finish by January.
Now, I need to mention some caveats here. We’re talking about an outsourced document for behind-the-scenes work.
So, Jungle Cruise itself won’t be finished by January. However, Disney has explicitly stated that new changes will begin later in 2021.
What’s the purpose of this update? Chapek will put his money where his mouth is about Inclusion.
Some of the scenes from Jungle Cruise haven’t aged well. Many would deem them culturally insensitive, which isn’t a rarity in our society.
In fact, The Simpsons didn’t even debut until 1989. Yet, it’s recently updated its voice cast to reflect a more appropriate, ethnically diverse perspective.
Imagineers built Jungle Cruise in 1955, an eternity ago. The broad humor on display on the ride has grown questionable, which isn’t surprising.
Historical footnotes like this pop up in many literary classics and other places.
I mean, J.K. Rowling keeps kicking the tolerance hornet’s nest, and few knew who she was until the turn of the millennium.
Her portrayal of gnomes and house elves went adorable to despised in less than 20 years.
The Simpsons absorbed a drubbing for Apu, a previously beloved character. This stuff happens in an evolving progressive society.
Park officials know this and will lead by example with Jungle Cruise. Disney will reconstruct the ride to tell a new, more inclusive story.
Better yet, the Skipper will finally become the focus of the story rather than a narrator. It’s a long-overdue change, independent of your wokeness beliefs.
Jungle Cruise and Another Rumor
Fans of Jungle Cruise can guess which scenes come across as culturally insensitive, which brings us to the next phase of this discussion.
The subject of changing Jungle Cruise arose in the wake of a previous announcement.
Park officials took this approach because Splash Mountain ties back to a regrettable part of Disney history, Song of the South.
Oddly, when Disney announced its reasonable approach to the problem, re-theming Splash Mountain to a more recent film, whataboutism arose.
Critics proclaimed, “If you’re changing Splash Mountain, what about…” with Jungle Cruise as their comparison.
Then, history repeated itself when park officials declared that Jungle Cruise would modernize.
A vocal section of the internet decried the move, saying, “What about Peter Pan’s Flight?”
You can guess where I’m going with this. A YouTube user noticed that Disneyland Paris has modified its official ride video for Peter Pan’s Flight:
This clip has removed potentially offensive segments from the attraction.
Simultaneously, Disney+ has added a Content Advisory disclaimer to the 1953 movie version of Peter Pan.
This statement doesn’t pull any punches, either. It states, “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”
Disney takes its fifth key, Inclusion, quite seriously.
For this reason, you can expect changes to come to Peter Pan’s Flight one day soon.
Similarly, some other Disney attractions may receive an overhaul.
Possibilities include The American Adventure, Country Bear Jamboree, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, It’s a Small World, and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
Finally, if Disney does alter the Hall of Presidents at some point, the Inclusion key represents a primary reason why.
Disney prioritizes Inclusion now, and that’s NOT a rumor.