Even though we were close, it still was an expensive vacation for my family. We would bring our own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and picnic on the steps of Cinderella’s castle. We never could afford souvenirs, but my Dad would always splurge for a piece of fudge from the bakery on Main Street USA on our way home. (Fast forward 30 years and fudge is the only confection I have perfected.)
My happiest childhood memories were on Space Mountain and the People Mover. I can still smell the Pirates of the Caribbean and the song from the Carousel of Progress lives rent-free in my head. Life was good at Disney—it is such a perk of living in Florida that we have this amazing theme park in our backyard.
When my daughter was born, we made the first pilgrimage to the Magic Kingdom before she was 1 year old. Watching her, then my son a few years later, see the same Disney magic through their eyes that I experienced as a child was truly a full circle parenting moment. It was one of those moments that I would have over and over again while we explored Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Pre-pandemic, we would head to Disney World for a long weekend multiple times a year. We stayed at many Disney hotels and attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. For my son’s 10th birthday in September 2020, we headed to a newly reopened Magic Kingdom for a fun birthday weekend. Disney was woven into the tapestry of our family and we were happy.
When Disney started making public comments regarding Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act, it made me cringe. Sure, I had heard rumors about Disney before. There were whispers about their imagery in cartoons, the self-destructive behavior of some of their child stars—even arrests of employees during child pornography stings. (And don’t get me started on the way that parents – especially mothers – are portrayed in Disney movies.) But to hear Disney executives publicly discuss pushing an LBGT+ agenda was too much for this Disney Momma.
As someone who actually read Governor DeSantis’ bill, it prohibits the “instruction” of sexual orientation or gender identity to Kindergarten through third grade students. Seems pretty straightforward to me, yet Disney felt the need to interject itself in the middle of this. Disney, why do you support instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity to 6-year-olds?!? Because of this, my family has canceled Disney+. We have vowed not to spend another dollar at their theme parks. I will not lose my kids to Disney’s woke agenda and attack on traditional family values. As much as I love Buzz and Woody, Sully and Mike Wazowski, Mickey and Minnie – I love my kids more.
I hope and pray that Disney will listen to us parents who want a return to a wholesome, family friendly entertainment. But until then, I’ll see you at Dollywood.