“Wokeness” gets blamed for a lot of things, such as football being bad, movies being bad, and kids today being bad. It’s a real menace to society, infecting every American ideal with the horrific idea that people should be treated with dignity and respect. Now, “wokeness” is coming from that most hallowed of American grounds: Disney World.
In an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel, Las Vegas resident and Florida vacationer Jonathan VanBoskerck goes medieval on Disney for, among other things, allowing its performers to express themselves and updating the 30-year-old ride Splash Mountain, a major attraction based on the infamously racist Song Of The South to a modern property people can actually see, The Princess And The Frog. Let’s be clear, while the casual racism of the Enchanted Tiki Room makes VanBoskerck feel right at home, he fails to recognize that that same racism can ruin another family’s vacation. How dare Disney make its parks more pleasant for more people? It goes against everything Walt Disney stood for!
Now, before anyone reaches for their pitchforks, this is not a racism thing, says VanBoskerck. It’s an immersion thing. When on vacation, VanBoskerck wants to keep the fantasy of Disney alive. So when he sees performers with tattoos or, even worse, a haircut, that illusion is destroyed. He writes:
The problem is, I’m not traveling across the country and paying thousands of dollars to watch someone I do not know express themselves. I am there for the immersion and the fantasy, not the reality of a stranger’s self-expression. I do not begrudge these people their individuality and I wish them well in their personal lives, but I do not get to express my individuality at my place of business.
Of course, as with all straw man arguments, like the one this self-described Christian conservative Republican makes, it always feels like they’re stepping around the thing that’s actually bothering them. When it comes to Splash Mountain, he says he’ll only see politics now, ignoring the fact that many couldn’t unsee the Jim Crow politics of Song Of The South when sitting in the log flume. Stranger still, VanBoskerck’s immersion isn’t broken when he spends $17 on Dole Whip or busts out his Apple iPhone, opens his Disney World app, waits for it to load, attempts to sign up for a fast pass for Galaxy’s Edge, finds out that it’s all booked up, decides to go check out the Hall of Presidents, and listens to the robot former President Trump say, “Make America great again.” Nothing political about any of that. It’s simply the magical world of Disney as Walt dreamed, a land of apps, transactions, and a hall of politicians.
Unsurprisingly, VanBoskerck has become one of Twitter’s main characters, a victim of the mob that he feared would overtake Disney World and would make the place more welcoming to people that don’t look exactly like the “out-of-touch white American dad” he describes. However, the most eloquent response came from the unofficial Disneyland Twitter account, @Disneyland2go. “Poop just came out of my ass of all places,” they responded. If there’s a better reaction to this article, we’d like to hear it.