Disney fan sites have been reporting a drastic change coming from the Disney Company, and fan message boards and news sites have been stumbling over themselves to either confirm or refute the rumors. Research from our own Uncle Walt’s Insider team has suggested that the news is actually real, and now Disney itself is confirming the story. In spite of the mixed reactions — including near-outrage from some quarters — it is actually happening,
A history of excellence
The Walt Disney Company has been producing family-friendly entertainment for nearly a century now, and recently celebrated over 60 years of operating the most-visited theme parks around the world. Disney has always had competitors, however, and the competition has only grown with time. With Dreamworks and Fox Studios churning out kids’ films, and Universal Studios and Six Flags theme parks fighting for crowds, Disney is constantly being called upon to innovate, change, and add to their accomplishments to continue to stay on top of the entertainment industry. Some, however, say that this latest decision goes too far.
Ending months of speculation, a press release from the Disney Company yesterday confirmed the news and provided details of the change. According to the release, the modifications will not happen all at once, but will begin in January of 2018 and continue over the course of several years. Circumstances may force the company to alter the timeline, but for now the company expects the work to be completed by the summer of 2021.
Uncle Walt’s Insider reached out to the company for further comment, and was eventually contacted by Disney press liaison Aisha Powers.
“I apologize for the delay in getting back with you,” Powers began. “Our office has been swamped with requests for comments ever since the news broke. We’ve been fielding calls for months about this, of course, but could only say ‘no comment’ or try to deflect the conversation to talking about Pandora or selfie sticks. But to answer the questions I’m sure you were going to ask — because everyone else is — yes, this is real. No, it is not a hoax. Yes, it is a drastic step, but one that the company believes is necessary and will provide even more opportunity for magical memories for all of our guests and customers.”
(We weren’t going to ask those questions, but they were good ones we should have thought of.)
We were concerned about the timing of the announcement, at the beginning of the holiday season. “Why now?” Powers replied. “Well, the news was going to come out eventually. All of the design plans have been finalized, and the permits will need to be filed soon before the work can start, and those are public. And of course, all of the internal stuff — name changes, character modifications, costuming and talent hiring — that stuff can happen quickly at any time. And with all of the fan sites trying to scoop each other, it just seemed to be better to get ahead of the story and make sure the facts were out there.”
Fan reaction to the announcement runs from love to hate, but no one seems to be neutral. Vanda McNabb, a Port Angeles, Washington, resident and mother of four, says she will never use another Disney product again if she can help it. “What could they be thinking?” McNabb exclaims. “I can’t believe that this is the same company that gave us Cinderella, Bambi, and Cars 2. They had to know there would be a backlash. Walt would hate this idea.”
Hector Jakobsen, however, welcomes the news. A 32-year-old stockbrocker from Philadelphia and former Disney cast member, Jakobsen believes the changes are overdue: “You’ve got Universal out there, and also all of that amazing construction in Dubai, so this just seems like a natural evolution for the company. I can’t believe they didn’t do this years ago. Walt would love this idea.”
We asked Powers her own personal opinion on the coming upheaval. She replied, “As a press liaison for Disney, I can really only give you the company’s position. But if you can assure me this’ll be off the record… I think it stinks.”
Uncle Walt’s Insider will keep you posted on any new developments in this surprising story.
Has Disney gone too far this time? Let us know what you think in the comments!