Disney World is my happy place. Going to Disney is therapy for me. In the Disney bubble, I lose myself in the rides, characters, and the magic of Disney. In the past few years, there has been a shift at Disney World that has me concerned that Disney may be losing its magical touch.
I am not saying it is gone but it is definitely not going in the right direction. This is very hard for me to say as a diehard Disney fan but I need to take off my rose-colored glasses and see what is really going on.
Disney Cuts Entertainment
Let’s talk about what Disney World has taken away in recent years. Disney cut our nighttime parade years ago and there are no plans to return it. Disney also just announced that the Movie It, Shake It parade will be showing one less time during the day.
I also want to mention that while I do like the Happily Ever After fireworks, they aren’t anything as good as Wishes. Happily Ever After relies heavily on the Castle projections and has fewer fireworks.
Streetmosphere entertainment has been severely cut. They have lowered the number of performers and or times that the Citizens of Hollywood are out. I enjoy them a lot because it is improv and every time you see it, it is a different show.
The Royal Majesty Makers in Fantasyland have been cut. Last fall when I had friends visiting, the interaction with them was one of the best moments of their trip. They had a dance-off with my friend’s son.
Also recently being cut is the Muppets Present Great Moments of American History. This show added value to Liberty Square and along with the Disney Junior Muppet Babies show, has introduced a whole new generation to Jim Henson’s beloved Muppets.
Animal Kingdom’s Afro-Pop Burudika Band is also leaving. Every time they perform I see people flock to be around them. Africa will seem silent once they are gone. Last year, Animal Kingdom also lost the dancers from its Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. The nighttime show is honestly not worth going to anymore.
Epcot is losing its Folklorico dancers and the Coco puppet show completely, and the Taiko Drummers and JAMMitors which usually perform 7 days a week have been cut back to only 5 days per week. With all the construction in Epcot right now the extra entertainment is needed.
Disney is Replacing Some Photopass Photographers with Boxes
One of the saddest cuts is the loss of Photopass Photographers. The “box” first appeared at Tinker Bell’s spot. I avoided her spot for a while and then on Dapper Day tried it out. I was not impressed. Smiling at a box was awkward. Tink and I even had to reposition to get the picture correctly.
Disney Facebooks groups are all in an uproar and I am with them. Nothing beats having your picture taken by a Photopass Photographer. They can convince a child to smile, switch positions if your interaction takes place more to the left, and get in close.
I know I have written guest services and so have others and people even started an online petition. Automated canned email responses and crickets. The only way Disney will listen is if we make our voices heard with our pocketbooks. This is not McDonald’s, this is Disney and I want a real photographer, not a machine.
Disney has Turned into a Shopping Experience
To me, Disney World has become a shopping experience. For someone who does Disney on a budget, this is hard. Disney has made trends such as spirit jerseys and Ear colors you “just got to have”. I don’t need any of that.
Galaxy’s Edge. Galaxy’s Edge opened with 1 ride and a lot of places to spend money, and not just a little bit of money. $200 for a lightsaber! While that might be ok for some, that is not for me. There are so many places to shop in Galaxy’s Edge. The ride is ok. Thankfully GE is saved by the Disney Parks Play App and the hope that Rise of the Resistance is going to be amazing.
Should You Still Vacation at Disney World?
Yes! Disney has its’ flaws but it is still magical and a great place to vacation thanks to the great Cast Members. Now if they ever mess with my Dapper Dans or the Trolley Show, ask me again.
Personally I have lowered my Annual Platinum Plus Pass to a Gold one. The less I am in the parks, the less I spend which hurts their bottom line.
If I was vacationing and not a passholder, I would probably speak with my pocketbook and decline Memory Maker. If enough people do that Disney might do the right thing and bring back the Photopass Photographers to the indoor character locations.
I am not sure if the problems are Iger’s or Chapek’s fault. Chapek is rumored to be Iger’s replacement. I hope that is not the case. While Iger has made some great acquisitions during his time as CEO, Disney World has fallen.