Michael Matteo: The Magic Kingdom … ‘everyone’s mad here’

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

As Disney’s stock drops faster than President Biden’s poll numbers, we are reminded that the place once celebrated for its family-friendliness, wholesome films, innovative and creative ideas as well as nostalgia-producing feelings is not that place anymore.  The “magic” of what was once a positive “Disney experience” has been transformed into a despotic kingdom where the misguided rulers succumbed to a plague known as wokeness.

As a resident of Tampa for almost 30 years, I spent many hours traveling with my family on I-4 to visit the Magic Kingdom and all of its theme parks.  Today that “kingdom” is ruled by agenda-driven, woke, leftists who are unable to realize the difference between entertaining and indoctrinating.  Their reaction to Florida HB 1557, mislabeled the Don’t Say Gay law, and their war of words with Florida’s governor DeSantis, has led to massive cancellations in Disney accounts, a dropoff in park attendance, a significant decline in their stock and resulted in legislation that was passed, which strips them of the right to self-govern. The last issue will have substantial tax consequences for the company and will either force them to raise prices or settle for significantly lower profits, if there are even profits when all the smoke finally clears.

Those who defend Disney are quick to criticize the Florida government for taking away special privileges for the entertainment giant, however, these same defenders are the first ones who demand the taxation of wealthy people because these people have too much money.  They are quick to point out the profits of large companies or CEO’s who they believe don’t pay their “fair share,” and clamor for the government to end favorable tax policies for these corporations.  They are also quick to blame corporate greed for inflation (a definite misunderstanding of monetary policy), yet, they ardently defend Disney, a multi-billion dollar corporation that will now be forced to pay their “fair share” in Florida. 

Perhaps in the “Wonderful World of Disney” the “magic” really is an illusion that their corporate executives expected patrons to honestly believe as readily as they would believe in magic spells that would transform a man into a beast, but most parents are not ready to accept public education that would suggest to impressionable children that they can transform their gender at the age of six.   Disney executives voiced their objection to a law that simply prevents teachers in public schools from discussing sexual topics with children in grades K-3. Their inability to see that it is inappropriate to discuss gender with children who are only a few years from being toilet trained, and compounded this error with leaked videos of their top executives describing how they will promote an LGBQTA… agenda in their movies, much to the displeasure of parents, as well as their involvement in Florida politics, has led to serious financial consequences for Disney that are been both legislative and market-driven.  To quote Alice from Alice in Wonderland, “Everyone’s mad here.”  However, now Disney is “mad” (in the angry connotation of the word) because their tax breaks have disappeared due to an agenda that is not accepted to many of their, now, former customers.  Yet, they are also “mad” in the true meaning of madness as in insanity. 

Disney has become such an American iconic institution throughout the years, that I’m sure it was a difficult decision for many people with wonderful memories of Disney experiences to cancel subscriptions or trips to the theme parks.  The phrase, “I’m going to Disney World,” became a staple comment shouted by many an athlete after winning an MVP award.  However, as the company drifted further and further to the left and embraced wokeness, it became too much for many Disney patrons to bear and they reacted.  Hopefully, this is a wake-up call not just for Disney, but for all companies that embrace woke, extremist views that are so out of touch with the core values of most Americans, especially when it pertains to what their children will be taught or exposed to.  

Disney may operate at a profit because there are those who will continue to spend money at its parks, purchase its cable channels and see its movies. If Disney continues to ignore those who supported it for years, but have now decided that there are better ways to spend their entertainment dollars, Disney might just continue down the path of wokeness, and go “full woke.”  Here are some suggestions for the renaming of some of Disney’s attractions if corporate executives opt for this choice.

Flight of Passage could be changed to Rite of Passage, and will be a gender-inclusive ride where riders can enter the ride as 1 gender and emerge from the ride the gender of their choosing.

EPCOT, which currently stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, can be changed to Experimental Psychologically Changing Operations Today, and every paid admission entitles the ticket holder to hormone therapy.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage could be changed to Grinding Nemo and cater to the elements of the woke movement who believe in deviant sexual practices and pedophilia.

Ant Man and the Wasp could be changed to a show titled: Aunt Man and the WASP, the story of how a drag queen defeats a white, Anglo-Saxon protestant male through the use of “trans-power” a new superhero characteristic.

California Screamin’ the name can be changed, but those entering this attraction will be given a taste of wild fires, riots, homelessness and a state that is always on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids could be changed to Honey, We Shrunk the Profits, and this will just be an attraction of all the things that Disney has done to reduce their profitability as a company.

Countdown to Extinction could also keep its name, but it would be converted into an attraction that focuses on all the scare tactics used by the left to forecast global destruction. Guests who complete this ride are entitled to Prozac because it will send them straight to a safe room.

The World Showcase will be converted into Critical Race Theory Pavilion, and will feature a series of booths for white people who can physically beat themselves up for historical sins that they didn’t commit, but feel guilty about, the Anti-Racism Rotunda which will feature never-ending lectures in white privilege and white guilt.  Each white person will receive a free knapsack, which they can unpack at the conclusion of their experience.

Disney may very well want everyone to embrace the words of the Cheshire cat who said, “I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours.”  The sentiment here sounds noble, but in reality there is only one reality and “magical thinking” cannot change it, regardless of how much a person wants to believe in something.  Disney is finding this out the hard way.


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