Under fire for some of their controversial rides and lack of authentic representation in them, Disney theme parks have been making changes in recent years to address inclusion and diversity concerns.
The latest update arrives just in time for the holiday weekend. On Wednesday, Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida hosted a preview of its latest "Happily Ever After" fireworks show with one notable difference: a new greeting for visitors.
For years, they heard, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" before the show began. Now they'll hear, "Good evening, dreamers of all ages."
Insider reported Thursday that Disney employees were invited to a preview of the new show, which was the first "Happily Ever After" performance after the fireworks had been canceled due to the pandemic.
Afterward, an employee shared the news on Twitter with a video comparison of the previous greeting from 2020 and the new 2021 one.
A Disney spokesperson told The Times on Friday: "We don't have an official statement, but the bottom line is the greeting has changed. It's part of a broader effort around diversity and inclusion."
Aside from the new preshow introduction, the show appears to be the same.
"We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney," Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, recently wrote in a blog post. "And we want our cast members — and future cast members — to feel a sense of belonging at work."
While the Magic Kingdom greeting is more inclusive, the word "dreamers" is drumming up controversy of its own, with some Twitter users associating the term with the Dream Act and DACA.
"Waaait a minute.. so they took away all genders and instead welcome Hispanics on DACA? Only welcoming 'dreamers' wow. I feel so not welcome (Loudly crying face)," wrote one user.
Elsewhere on Twitter, the new greeting elicited a range of reactions.
Another user said the change is necessary as "a matter of inclusion. We need to actively INVITE those previously [sidelined] & excluded, into the circle. This will be accomplished over time, until we don't even think of it, it's inevitable, why u cant see the need for this is hard to comprehend."
Several other Twitter users voiced their anger over losing the nostalgic greeting they grew up with.
"People and companies really need to stop changing everything that was originally made, discussed or founded on just because people cry and moan. These things were in place way before the new gen of babies were, there is no way in hell to cater to everyone who whines.....," one user wrote.
The new greeting comes on the heels of significant changes to Disney park rides. In January, the Walt Disney Co.'s Disney Parks, Experiences & Products division announced that it will alter Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride to fix its racist depictions of Indigenous people.
Other updates include transforming Splash Mountain into a new "Princess and the Frog"-themed ride after years of complaints about the racism prevalent in "Song of the South," the 1946 film that informed the ride. The makeover will celebrate the first Black Disney princess.
In 2018, Disney theme parks removed the bridal auction scene that showed pirates selling women into marriage in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride and changed it to buccaneers of diverse genders selling stolen property.
A recently revamped scene of Prince Charming kissing Snow White while she's asleep in Disneyland's Snow White’s Enchanted Wish ride has received complaints over non-consensual kissing.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.