In what clearly must be an effort to do damage control over the company’s tepid initial response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Disney said it has removed all gendered greetings from its theme parks and will no longer be addressing guests as “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls.”
The news comes from a leaked presentation video for company executives titled “Imagine Tomorrow.” In the clip, which made its way to Twitter earlier this week, Disney diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware explained the changes.
“Last summer we removed all of the gendered greetings in relationship to our live spiels, so we no longer say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,'” Ware says in the minute-long clip. “We’ve provided training for all of our cast members in relationship to that, so now they know it’s ‘Hello everyone,’ or ‘Hello friends.'”
“We’re in the process of changing over those recorded messages, and so many of you are probably familiar when we brought the fireworks back to the Magic Kingdom,” Ware continued, adding that they have since replaced those messages with the much more inclusive “Dreamers of all ages.”
Ware said that she loves that the changes have opened up creativity so that they can better create magical moments with cast members and guests alike. “And we don’t want to just assume because someone might be, in our interpretation, presenting as female, that they may not want to be called ‘Princess,'” she added.
“So let’s think differently about how do we really engage with our guests in a meaningful and inclusive way that makes it magical and memorable for everyone,” Ware concluded.
It’s certainly a step in the right direction. Disney has justifiably been on the receiving end of a lot of backlash over its response to the Florida bill, which forbids any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity from being discussed in classrooms from kindergarten to third grade, and a vague “age-appropriate” disclaimer for those conversations above the third-grade level.
The ensuing fallout has resulted in the company being at odds with Disney CEO Bob Chapek and has contributed to ongoing frostiness between Chapek and former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who was much clearer in his stance condemning Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.