Why Disney Adults Are More Powerful Than You Think

When it comes to The Walt Disney Company, change is inevitable.

Cinderella Castle

And we’ve seen a TON of it recently. No one is more attuned to change at Disney than Disney adults, and they might have more to do with it than any of us originally realized. From reviving long-lost nighttime shows in the parks to bringing a CEO out of retirement and potentially resurrecting an imaginary dragon from the dead, Disney adults are more powerful than you think.

Happily Ever After

When Disney announced that the fireworks show Happily Ever After would be closing, they indicated it would be going away permanently. Disney’s exact words were that the show would “sparkle into Disney history.” The fan-favorite show ended to make way for the new show coming to celebrate the 50th Anniversary — Disney Enchantment. But, when Disney made this announcement fans were not happy.

Crowds AFTER the final performance of ‘Happily Ever After’

Happily Ever After debuted in 2017 and takes guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart, humor, and emotion. The nearly 20-minute long show featured scenes from classic Disney films like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin to modern blockbusters Moana and Zootopia. There was also an EPIC soundtrack featuring an original song sung by Jordan Fisher. But, Happily Ever After was replaced by Enchantment, and the show was gone for good.

Happily Ever After in 2021

Or so we thought. At the 2022 D23 Expo, Disney announced that Happily Ever After would be coming back to Disney World — kind of. They shared the “theme song” would be coming back. And then, out of nowhere — Disney broke the news that actually, the ENTIRE show would be returning to Magic Kingdom on April 3rd, 2023. Disney adults everywhere collectively rejoiced (probably) and we saw just how powerful Disney adults could be.

BOOM!

But, this certainly wasn’t the first time something like this had happened.

Figment’s Return

Journey Into Imagination is located at EPCOT and features everyone’s favorite purple dragon — but that wasn’t always the case. When the attraction opened in 1983, it featured the Dreamfinder and Figment, and that’s how it stayed until 1999 — when Journey into Your Imagination opened. This reimagined attraction saw the departure of Dreamfinder and yes, Figment.

Journey into Imagination with Figment

Though still in the ride, he was featured in a much smaller role alongside the now main character Dr. Nigel Channing. This didn’t sit well with Disney adults at the time, who were upset that Disney would make such drastic changes to an otherwise beloved attraction. The outcry led to Disney eventually shuttering the reimagined ride just a year later in 2000.

Imagination

When Journey into Imagination with Figment opened in 2002, the lovable imaginary dragon was center-stage once again. Imagineers kept Channing as a character, but he and Figment now share the starring role.

Disney’s America

Under CEO Michael Eisner, the Walt Disney Company grew by leaps and bounds. But, not all of Eisner’s dreams became reality. In 1993, Disney announced plans to build a new theme park in Virginia called Disney’s America. The new park would immerse guests in United States history — but it never came to be.

American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT

Both citizen groups and historians quickly objected to the proposed Disney’s America. Locals didn’t want a Disney park in their town, citing concerns over urban sprawl and increased pollution.

Historians worried about how factually accurate the park would be, or if it would be “Disneyfied” to help push the story along and sell merchandise. Not only that, but Disney’s America would have been close to Manassas National Battlefield Park, where two Civil War campaigns were fought.

The American Adventure

In 1994, in response to the backlash, Disney announced that the park would be reimagined into Disney’s American Celebration. This version would be less political and less focused on history, instead being home to attractions like factory tours of Crayola and Apple. Regional cuisines like pizza from Chicago, Cajun food from New Orleans, and barbecue from St. Louis would be featured.

American Adventure

Ultimately, though, the project was officially canceled in late 1994. At one point, Disney sought to revive this idea by purchasing Knott’s Berry Farm in California — though that ultimately failed as well. Disney adults had spoken, and Disney’s America was no more.

Walt Disney Company CEO Changes

When Bob Iger made the sudden announcement that he was stepping down as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Disney adults, investors, and critics alike were shocked. Iger was viewed positively by many, especially die-hard theme park goers. The company flourished under Iger, so when it was revealed that Bob Chapek would be his successor — many Disney adults met the news with skepticism.

©Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

It certainly didn’t help that less than a month after Chapek stepped up as CEO, the global pandemic forced Disney to cease park operations. After that, it was challenge after challenge for Chapek, which only furthered the public’s disdain for the executive. He faced criticism for price increases in the parksAnnual Pass program changes, and even his political decisions regarding Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education (or “Don’t Say Gay” per critics) law.

Bob Chapek

It all came to a head when, in November 2022, Chapek reported some less-than-stellar numbers during the company’s Q4 earnings call. Shortly after, the wheels were in motion for his dismissal. While Disney adults probably weren’t the reason Chapek was fired, they might have had something to do with bringing Iger back.

Sure, the man fit the bill — after all, this ain’t his first rodeo, but it certainly didn’t hurt that he was beloved by so many.

Bob Chapek and Bob Iger©CNBC

Of course, Disney adults weren’t the only driving force behind any of these decisions, but we do know public perception plays a role in how Disney has done business in the past. Change is inevitable, and we can count on Disney adults to be outspoken and let the company know exactly how they’re feeling about it. With Bob Iger only signing on for two years, chances are we’ll be seeing even more change over the next few years.

We’ll be keeping up with it all, so stay tuned to DFB for more.

Not All Disney Adults Are the Same

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The post Why Disney Adults Are More Powerful Than You Think first appeared on the disney food blog.

source https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2023/01/16/why-disney-adults-are-more-powerful-than-you-think/

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