Disneyland's Snow White Ride Sparks Furor For Depicting Kiss 'Without Her Consent'
Just over two weeks after a viral comment blew Florida's Walt Disney World for what it calls "wakefulness," its sister park is sparking a similar discourse across the country.
Disneyland, California, welcomed guests again last week after being closed for 13 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many early visitors discovered, Disney had used some of that unexpected downtime to renovate the Snow White's Scary Adventures ride, which was one of the park's opening day attractions in 1955.
The ride has been renamed Snow White's Enchanted Wish and now features improved special effects, new music, and a perpetual ending. Fans praised many of the improvements, but the finale, in which Prince Charming kneels next to Snow White's coffin to kiss true love and resurrect her, as in the 1937 animated film of the Evil Queen's Poisoned Apple, is apparently more divisive.
In an article posted on SFGate on Saturday, editor-in-chief Katie Dowd and writer Julie Tremaine criticized the scene for portraying what they termed a non-consensual kiss.
"A kiss he gives her without her consent while she sleeps, which can't possibly be true love if only one person knows it's happening," wrote Dowd and Tremaine. "Haven't we already agreed that consent was a big problem in early Disney films? That it's not okay to teach children to kiss unless it has been determined that both parties are willing to get involved?"
The writers suggested that Disneyland would have been better served if a less troublesome ending had been created that would preserve "the spirit of the movie and Snow White's place in the Disney canon". They also pointed to the planned overhaul of Splash Mountain in the park, a log gully based on the 1946 “Racist” song of the South, which is seen as an example of an appropriate course of action.
The article received mixed reactions on social media.
However, after Fox News got wind of the article, the network suggested that "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was in danger of being "canceled." According to the Daily Beast, Fox News referred to the attraction at least nine times, and Fox Business Network mentioned it five times on Monday alone. Meanwhile, Fox Business digital website posted an article on Sunday in response to the SFGate piece.
"If you look at an accurate depiction of Snow White, she was poisoned and that kiss saved her life," proclaimed Todd Piro, Fox News host. "So for the two people who wrote this story, if you're sick and someone needs to perform CPR on you, will you get upset about consenting? No, you won't have an option on this matter."
"Little girls can become both princesses and presidents," he continued. "Let's think about it - corporate presidents - but they can have that part of their youth too. And I don't think anyone would look at Snow White's Prince Charming kiss and say, boy, this is a microcosm of college rape culture."
Disney did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment on the controversy.
Interestingly, Snow White's enchanted wish has historically split visitors to Disneyland. Prior to the renovation in 2021, the Evil Queen was the focus of the attraction. They often frightened young children and angered their parents.
The debate over the current incarnation of the theme park follows the Orlando Sentinel and the Tampa Bay Times, which publish a heavily mocked column by a Disney fan accusing the company's Florida theme parks of "ruining the experience" with "wakefulness" .
"The parks are less fun because immersion, and therefore joy, takes a back seat to politics," wrote Jonathan VanBoskerck, referring to the recent updates to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney World and a new relaxed dress code for employees. “The next time I go Jungle Cruise, I won't think about the wonderfully entertaining play on words the skippers have played, but rather about Disney's political agenda. This is a mood killer. "
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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