Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Fans Roast Disney's 'Welcome Home' Videos

July 12, 2020, 9:04 PM · As we've been covering all week, the Walt Disney World theme parks are reopening. But some fans are roasting the parks' attempt to promote their return.

It's just too easy, technically, to drop a different soundtrack on a video for some fans to resist the opportunity to go after Disney for reopening while the state of Florida is setting records for the most number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day. I wrote before that Disney should not be blamed for Florida's failure to manage the disease. (And I would 10/10 rather visit Disney than a bar, gym, or movie theater right now.) But Disney World clearly can't escape an association with the horrible news out of its home state.

Fans are editing the "Welcome Home" videos that the Walt Disney World Resort released online to promote the park's reopening. A couple of fans chose to change the commercials into a horror film.

While one decided to reframe the Disney spot with a rival's top IP.

But here is what was perhaps the most direct approach for those who think that parks should not be reopening now.

Someone once said that there's no such thing as bad publicity. But I gotta figure that Universal, SeaWorld and all the other theme parks that have reopened are probably happy to have flown under the radar, relative to what Disney is facing right now.

Replies (21)

July 12, 2020 at 9:32 PM

I get the logistics but seriously, when this state is erupting in cases, reopening is just howling to be a new hot spot....

July 12, 2020 at 10:02 PM

I'll just say this about the modern Walt Disney Company: they do their homework. They did their homework and saw how bad this was going to be and were the first ones to make the decision to shut down. They did their homework and made major modifications to the parks, policies, transportation, break rooms, ticketing and reservation systems, etc and presented those plans to the governor before he really had any idea what was going on.
Knowing this i'd say its a fair bet they did their homework and saw how bad its still going to be for a while, otherwise they would not be open right now. Think about it, if they thought the virus was going to get under control soon they would have just stay closed. I think its a situation of "well...can't stay closed forever...we gotta tread water and if its for six months, a year, two years, that's better than everything completely collapsing and going bust."

Another interesting thing to think about is if masks are going to stay as socially acceptable in the future like they have been for years in Asia. After this I highly doubt any company anywhere will have the fortitude to ban masks from their appearance guidelines like pretty much every company had before the pandemic. Hopefully at some point in the near future we can go back to it not being the norm, but I can totally see employees (specifically older people) making the "you don't care about my safety" argument years into the future if their employer goes back to pre-pandemic normal.

July 12, 2020 at 9:59 PM

Disney got the short end of the stick on this one. Reopening at the worst possible time (no fault of their own). The logistics of this had to be mind boggling compared to Universal, which is essentially one property with all hotels owned by Loews.

July 13, 2020 at 5:58 AM

Yeah, timing couldn't have possibly been worse for Disney.

As far as masks being socially acceptable - I'll say this. They are tolerated here in Florida at best. Despite 15,000 new cases being recorded yesterday, it is not uncommon to see 25%+ of people out and about in a indoor space without a mask. So tourists wanting to go outside of the WDW bubble may find a very different reality.

Personal liberties and all that - Let freeDUMB ring!

July 13, 2020 at 6:49 AM

In Scotland face masks became mandatory in Shops last Friday. I can say I saw compliance go from almost none to almost 100% overnight.

July 13, 2020 at 6:49 AM

The 15K+ cases was the first indication that, as we already knew, people completely ignored the CDC guidelines over the July 4th weekend. For the next few days I wouldn't be surprised to see it edge closer to 20K/day. A scary thought, that's for sure.

But as Robert said, I'd rather be at the parks than in a gym, or somewhere indoor dining any day.

DeSantis is like Nero, playing his fiddle as he watched Rome burn. Once this is all over, all the people who have sacrificed the lives of the people who live in their state, need to be held accountable.

Disney is doing their best. No one can blame them for reopening and seeing how it goes.

DeSantis is the problem, and he's still pushing for all the schools to reopen, and that is the scariest thought of all.

July 13, 2020 at 9:58 AM

So who's forcing anyone to go back to the parks? Disney has taken all reasonable precautions (without wrapping all guests and CMs in plastic) to minimize risk. But let's face it, long before COVID, you were taking a risk of catching something in those jam packed theme parks (I know I came home with a bug several times -- and some of them got me sicker than the Corona virus, which was like a bad cold for me when I caught it in March).

If Disney's safety measures aren't enough for you, then stay home. If other people decide that the small risk of catching something (yes, a small risk, given that everyone has to wear a mask, and pass a temperature check, etc.) is worth it, then that's their decision and should be respected.

There's nothing sinister or evil about Disney reopening. Everyone knows the deal here; if you go anywhere outside of your four walls, you could get sick. If you go to a store, you're probably more at risk than at WDW. In any case, there are no guarantees in life; until a vaccine, are we really going to stay locked up?

How come "fans" didn't roast Universal and Sea World for staying open as infection rates go up in Florida?

July 13, 2020 at 10:19 AM

>>If Disney's safety measures aren't enough for you, then stay home... If you go to a store, you're probably more at risk than at WDW. In any case, there are no guarantees in life; until a vaccine, are we really going to stay locked up?

The problem with this view, as I’ve said before, is that it presumes that you are accepting the risk for you alone.

But you are not.

You are accepting the risk for everyone around you. Not everyone you will encounter in your life has a true choice to be out and about. Employers have to work, the people who are in the store shopping for essentials have to shop, other essential service workers have to provide their sevices. They in turn encounter others some of whom may be high risk.

Increasing your opportunities for exposure does not simply only effect you. It effects your entire community.

Tbh, I find selfish attitudes like that disappointing. And that is what it is - selfishness. “I’m alright, screw the rest of you”.... Blindly forgetting they only have what they have because of the wider community.

Going to a store cannot be avoided.

Going to a theme park is not essential.

July 13, 2020 at 10:38 AM

@Chad H - I'll give a devil's argument retort to your post - not that I necessarily agree with this position, but it's just as valid...

Isn't it equally "selfish" for the very small percentage of people who are risk averse and lobbying for governments to deprive the majority of people the simple pleasures and freedoms to live their life as they see fit?

I think there's a very fine balance that needs to be struck, but living life in quarantine for months (and potentially years) on end is NEVER going to work. There's no doubt that many places around the country are going too fast in attempting to resuscitate their economies, but continuing to keep places like theme parks and other recreational outlets closed until a viable vaccine is available is equally untenable.

July 13, 2020 at 11:33 AM

As I’ve said before, the choice is not economy OR public health. The economy is hamstrung by not taking the required actions to get on the path to elimination. The risk of local lockdowns, travel bans, and need to care for family members limits the ability of the economy to perform, and stops businesses from making key decisions about the future.

Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, sometimes the few are blind that their needs can only be met when the needs of the many are met.

July 13, 2020 at 11:41 AM

Absolutely Chad, but it ultimately comes down to whether individuals feel like they are representative of the "many" or the "few".

July 13, 2020 at 11:45 AM

If Disney, or any other business, was not taking every reasonable precaution, then (in some areas) maybe they should not be allowed to reopen. Disney is taking elaborate precautions, and from everything I've read, the chances of contracting the virus there is low. If we're going to go as far as to say "no one should be allowed to go anywhere unless the risk is zero", then we might as well lock up everyone and throw away the key until further notice.

July 13, 2020 at 12:13 PM

This will go one of three ways:
1. WDW will remain open
2. WDW will decide to close again until the second surge has subsided and cases stabilised
3. WDW will be instructed to close again

July 13, 2020 at 3:05 PM

Here's our roasting of it: --- be safe everyone!

July 13, 2020 at 3:46 PM

"So who's forcing anyone to go back to the parks?"

Disney is forcing their employees to risk their lives so that people can ride roller coasters.

Disneyworld will be closed before the end of the month. Expect reports of sick employees this week or next.

July 13, 2020 at 4:42 PM

@Still a Fan, I think the big problem Disney had was that they waited too late. When Universal and the other parks announced their reopenings, COVID-19 cases were far and few in Florida. Because Disney waited too late, it caused them to open back up through truly unfortunate timing. It's commendable that they tried putting health and safety first as long as they did.

Another thing is that it's so much easier in the national media to write headlines about Disney compared to other parks. When people hear the word "theme park", their mind usually goes straight to something like Disney, being the entertainment giant they are. And because their parks are so popular, they'll gather more clicks than a place like Legoland ever would.

@ProfPlum, I think Option 1 is the only foreseeable one. Disney just sunk a ton of money into installing plexiglass dividers in the parks. They won't close down right after doing that unless the government mandated they do so. And Trump and DeSantis have made it clear they're unlikely to endorse any more shutdowns in the future.

July 13, 2020 at 6:01 PM

Thecolonol wrote this:

"Disney is forcing their employees to risk their lives so that people can ride roller coasters.

Disneyworld will be closed before the end of the month. Expect reports of sick employees this week or next."

My answer: Disney made a deal with their unions, and part of that deal was to reopen at this time, and with all the elaborate safety measures in place. Disney also paid these people for months to sit at home.

In most jobs, you have to accept a certain amount of risk. Just driving to work carries a bit of risk. There are workplace accidents. Where I live, lots of people take public transit (where the mask is still not obligatory) to work. Should employers be censured for that?

You say that they're risking their lives, which is dramatizing quite a bit. With all of Disney's safety protocols in place, CMs have only a small chance of catching it at work -- and if they do catch it, almost everybody survives it -- in fact, 80% don't even have symptoms. But your choice of words implies that this virus is some kind of death sentence.

Granted, if you know you have underlying conditions that put you particularly at risk (diabetes, COPD, etc.) maybe working with the public is not for you at this time.

Every year, the flu kills some people who get it. During flu season every year, Disney and every other business was open as usual, often stuffed with crowds, no one wearing a mask, no particular health safety practices in place, etc.

P.S.: Employers don't force employees to work. They don't have slaves. People can quit and apply elsewhere (but if it's any job where you work with the public, just hope that employer will have good safety measures in place.)

July 13, 2020 at 7:58 PM

As if a little plexiglas or a a couple of weaks downtime pay would make a dent in Disneys finances. They could sit the year out and it would not matter much.

Anyway, if their finances would look like Seaworlds, that should not change the decission either. Opening/closing theme parks really isn´t that big of deal, in practical terms. Just a bit of a marketing mess.

One way to see the Disney (or any theme park) being open is to compare the park with other riskier activities that are both legal and actually done on a large scale in Florida. Another one is to consider how much extra activity in particular by out of state visitors the parks will cause - or won´t cause anymore because we start to see large scale voluntary lockdown like behaviour. Maybe Disneys mistake is hybris regarding their ability to manage away outside influences to their huge controlled Disneyworld environment. That aspiration was always a bit spooky in my eyes, and it won´t work against such a virus, which reveals mercyless any little imperfection or any contact to the less perfect off stage world.

July 14, 2020 at 6:34 AM

>> P.S.: Employers don't force employees to work. They don't have slaves. People can quit and apply elsewhere

However, the way society is structured it is impossible to survive otherwise in most cases.

July 14, 2020 at 10:57 PM

"As if a little plexiglas or a a couple of weaks downtime pay would make a dent in Disneys finances. They could sit the year out and it would not matter much."
Have you been to Disney World recently? There is plexiglass everywhere, and where there isn't their employees are wearing face shields. Also they did pay several weeks of their employees downtime pay, and if "it wouldn't matter much" why did they go out and borrow over $10 billion? Nothing in your statement is based in reality of what is actually happening.

July 15, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Disney was shelling out $500 million per month to pay their employees to sit at home.

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