Disney World Replaces Gendered Introduction to Happily Ever After Fireworks Show amid Inclusivity Pledge
Josh D'Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, previously expressed the goal of having “our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products" at Disney
Walt Disney World has changed the gendered introduction to the Magic Kingdom's Happily Ever After fireworks show, which returned on July 1 after a COVID-related hiatus.
In previous years, an announcer would tell Disney guests, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dreamers of all ages ... in just a few minutes the Magic Kingdom invites you to enjoy our nighttime spectacular Happily Ever After."
The park has since dropped the "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," and simply starts out with, "Good evening, dreamers of all ages," according to a video taken by an individual at the cast member preview on Wednesday.
One fan put together a clip showing the difference between this year's intro and that of last year.
The change had already taken place at Tokyo Disney earlier this year in the English announcements, as the Japanese intro was always gender-neutral, Huffington Post revealed in March.
Walt Disney World's change comes months after Disney Parks made updates to guest experience and work environment policies to be more inclusive.
Josh D'Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, announced in a blog post in April on the company's website that a new initiative will allow employees (which Disney refers to as "cast members") greater flexibility when it comes to costumes, hairstyles and more.
"It's important to me to share how we're creating a place where everyone is welcome and taking action to create meaningful change," D'Amaro wrote. "Our new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos. We're updating them to not only remain relevant in today's workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work."
The blog post went on to share that Disney listened to employee reviews and suggestions by adding a fifth pillar to its "four keys" (safety, courtesy, show and efficiency).
D'Amaro explained that "when we asked our cast how we could better cultivate a culture of belonging, they suggested the addition of a fifth key: the key of Inclusion."
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He expressed that he hopes "our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney. And we want our cast members — and future cast members — to feel a sense of belonging at work."
The post concluded with D'Amaro acknowledging that "the world is changing" and Disney Parks are committed to "change with it."