Brow Beat

Walt Disney World’s Reopening Video Didn’t Go Over So Well

A Disney employee in a 1930s bellboy uniform and surgical mask stands in front of the cobweb-strewn front desk from Walt Disney World's Tower of Terror.
In retrospect, maybe “Haunted Hotel” was the wrong vibe. Walt Disney World Jobs

On Saturday, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, opened to guests for the first time since closing on March 15. To mark the occasion, the official “Disney Parks Jobs” Twitter account posted a short video promoting the park’s reopening. In the video, shots of various park attractions—Cinderella Castle, the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, and so on—are intercut with shots of Disney park employees welcoming guests back to the parks. Those employees, including hotel housekeeping staff, cooks, concierges, and costumed cast members, all wear surgical masks and say “Welcome home!” directly into the camera, except for the First Order stormtrooper at the end, who says, “Welcome, citizens.” The whole thing is set to upbeat orchestral music. The Disney Parks Jobs account soon deleted the tweet, but the video is still up on Instagram:

Neither the dystopian vibes of the promo nor the possible risks of visiting an amusement park during a pandemic were lost on the internet at large, and the video will now live on forever in a million parodies. Some people took advantage of the fact that you can dub anything you’d like over footage of someone wearing a mask, since their lips aren’t visible. This trick came in simple public service varieties like this one:

And more baroque variations like this:

Of course, there wasn’t any need to have the masked figures saying anything at all.

There was also the option of adding a few extra shots to the montage:

The coronavirus was first detected in Florida on March 1. According to the New York Times, on March 15, the day Walt Disney World closed to guests, Florida had 39 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 109. Although no new deaths were reported on March 15, there had been a total of three coronavirus deaths in the state at the time. On Saturday, according to the Orlando Sentinel, there were 10,360 new coronavirus cases and 95 new deaths statewide, bringing the total number of cases to 254,511 and the total number of deaths to 4,197. In Osceola and Orange counties, where Walt Disney World Resort is located, there were 685 new cases and two new deaths on Saturday, for a total of 20,491 cases.

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