Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

'Ladies and Gentlemen' Are out and 'Dreamers' in at Disney

July 3, 2021, 4:55 PM · Let's talk about Disney's new intro spiel for its fireworks shows at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Fireworks and other nighttime shows returned Thursday night at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. That provided Disney guests their first opportunity to hear the new spiel before Disney pyro lit up the skies for the first time since the pandemic closed the parks last year. The old spiel started, 'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls..." while the new one begins with "Good evening, dreamers of all ages...."

Disney leans into nostalgia, so any time Disney makes a change, some fans blow back, as they have done with this switch. But Disney's new spiel reflects the parks' recent push to appear more inclusive of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. There was no need for a gendered intro spiel for a fireworks show, so Disney has found a new phrase that eliminates gender definitions.

But the traditional "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" introduction wasn't just about gender. I would argue that gender was an afterthought with this choice of words, which was meant instead to be inclusive of different age groups while making an aspirational statement about social class.

Addressing "ladies and gentlemen" rather than calling for "attention, Disneyland guests," or something like that sets a more sophisticated tone for the announcement and, by extension, the show that follows. This isn't some carnival fair fireworks show you're about to see. This is Disneyland [or Disney World] - a much classier joint than those types of places.

If you're paying top dollar to be someplace, like you are at Disney, it's expected in the American service economy that the place's workers will address you in a way that implies you enjoy some form of elevated social status. As anyone who has watched Downton Abbey can attest, "lady" and "gentleman" carried specific meanings in the English society that heavily influenced American culture. (I know I just referenced a Universal property rather than a Disney one, but it seemed the most appropriate recent example.)

Of course, almost no one who visits Disney these days is technically a "lady" or a "gentleman" under those old rules, but we all aspire to something, don't we?

And Disney's spiel still addresses that. By welcoming "dreamers of all ages," Disney hits upon both the age acceptance and the aspirational tone of the original introduction. And it does so with more honesty. The gender roll call was not necessary. And no one here is listed in Burke's, clad in evening wear as they await the show. Yet the evening fireworks crowd includes a great many dreamers, of all ages, because dreams and imagination are the things that bring many of us to Disney... and keep us coming back.

That's true whether you identify as male, female, or anything else.

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Replies (16)

July 4, 2021 at 5:29 AM

Simplicity can, at times, be genial and Disney addressing the "Ladies & Gentlemen" issue for the handful of miniscule minority groups who have all the say in today's world is both simple and genial.

You may be over analysing the aspirational inference. In America, public convenience are "Restrooms" in the UK they are "Ladies" & "Gentlemen" with no aspirational class overtones. Nobody enters a public toilet labelled "Ladies" or "Gentlemen" expecting an opulent throne, it's just the general term for "females" and "males" which I am 100% sure is what Disney were implying from the outset.

Still, Disney's response is so clever and immediately defuses any potential momentum from gathering in the matter. Chapeau!

July 4, 2021 at 11:58 PM

I'm completely fine with this change, but could it potentially discriminate against insomniacs?

July 5, 2021 at 9:31 AM

Disney has bowed down to Political Correctness. I prefer the traditional ways.

July 5, 2021 at 9:50 AM

Another fantastic update. Nothing of importance was lost.

July 5, 2021 at 12:32 PM

George Brungot: "Disney has bowed down to Political Correctness. I prefer the traditional ways."

Me: Yes. Because Disney has never had a tradition of thoughtful courtesy in the past.

NEXT!

July 5, 2021 at 2:11 PM

@Grant Crawford...........love it!

July 5, 2021 at 3:47 PM

@Grant Crawford - LOL!

July 6, 2021 at 8:17 AM

I think everybody is making WAY more out of this. I think Disney made the change because the new line sounded more Disney like. I think people on both sides are reading something into this that isn’t there

July 6, 2021 at 8:39 AM

Never would have noticed it had you not pointed it out, Robert.

But since you have, your article is nothing more than an attempt to deflect the true purpose of changing the introduction. If you are going to be politically correct, Robert, OWN IT.

July 6, 2021 at 12:54 PM

By all means, let's keep bending over backwards for a micro percentage of the population, and the hectoring mobs of self righteous PC nuts.

July 6, 2021 at 12:57 PM

TwoBits: "Never would have noticed it had you not pointed it out, Robert."

Me: I'm kind of thinking eventually you might have stumbled over it. The story was covered by CBS News, Yahoo News, Deadline, The Hill, the Atlanta Constitution, the Sacramento Bee, the LA Times, the Independent, the Daily Express, People, Kansas City Star, Insider, and a handful of YouTube reports.

TPI covers themed entertainment. It strikes me that the article published at the top of this thread is appropriate because it is absolutely park-related, it's topical and has a sizable footprint in the media.

July 6, 2021 at 1:43 PM

Still a Fan: "By all means, let's keep bending over backwards for a micro percentage of the population, and the hectoring mobs of self righteous PC nuts."

Me: Who was hectoring Disney? Who was demanding they make this change? And how big of a "mob" can it be if it is just a "micro percentage"?

July 6, 2021 at 2:21 PM

Funny how a small change of words is causing a bigger fuss from people who don’t like this move than those who probably wanted the change.

July 6, 2021 at 2:26 PM

@James: Funny how a small change of words is causing a bigger fuss from people who don’t visit theme parks than people who do.

July 7, 2021 at 12:15 PM

I don't get the outrage over this. Nobody was excluded by this, but more were included. People getting angry over this are just selfish and mad because it's not just about them anymore.

ProfPlum said "the handful of miniscule minority groups who have all the say in today's world is both simple and genial." A miniscule of minority groups, by definition, dos not have "all the say." They're just made that those groups are now included.

George Brungot prefers "traditional ways" -- that's one way to say you are against inclusion, I guess.

Still a fan says this micropercentage of the population equals a "mob." When's the last time you saw a mob of people rallying against the phrase "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls?" This was a Disney move, not the result of a riot.

I just don't get how using the phrase "dreamers of all ages" is offensive to these snowflakes.

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