Disneyland's New, Revamped Snow White Ride Garnering Backlash

Disneyland's theme park ride based around the beloved story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at the center of backlash. After being shuttered for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Anaheim, California theme park reopened Friday with some major changes. After the initial Snow White's Scary Adventure ride was deemed too scary for children, park-goers headed to Fantasyland were treated to the revamped ride named Snow White’s Enchanted Wish. The ride now ends with an iconic moment from the film: a true love's kiss. But for some, the romanticized moment is more than just a little problematic.

In a piece for the SF Gate, the ride is not only praised for adding a new dose of magic, but also slammed for adding "a new problem." That true love's kiss, occurring as Prince Charming finds Snow White asleep under the Evil Queen's spell, brings up the topic of consent, with the outlet's reviewers noting that it is "a kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she's asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it's happening." The reviewers went on to note that over the course of the past year, Disney has taken action to remove other harmful aspects from other rides, with Disney in January announcing it would revamp the famed Jungle cruise ride to address the "negative depictions" of native peoples throughout the attraction. Disney is also set to retheme Splash Mountain for similar reasons.

"Haven't we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn't been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK?" the SF Gate article reads. "It's hard to understand why the Disneyland of 2021 would choose to add a scene with such old fashioned ideas of what a man is allowed to do to a woman, especially given the company's current emphasis on removing problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain. Why not re-imagine an ending in keeping with the spirit of the movie and Snow White's place in the Disney canon, but that avoids this problem?"

At this time, Disney has not responded to the backlash. The theme park announced last year it would be adding “new magic” to the ride, which originally opened in with the park in 1955. In 1983, Disneyland changed the name of the ride to include the word "Scary." Under the new revamp, the Snow White ride uses “state-of-the-art audio and visual technology, including new music, LED black lighting, laser projections and a new animation system” to bring Snow White’s "happily ever after to life.