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I’m Glad Walt Disney Didn’t Live To See This

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Like most Baby Boomers, I grew up happily fixated on the spellbinding showman Walt Disney from the time I could crawl.

Of course, I loved Mickey Mouse cartoons whenever I’d be planted in front of our black-and-white Zenith television. A few years later, I would laugh and sing along as a member of the Mickey Mouse Club…feeling like Jimmy Dodd and Annette Funicello really were my personal friends because of the ingenious way Walt Disney penetrated theso-called “fourth wall,” a performance convention in which an invisible, imagined wall separates actors from the audience. 


As I entered my pre-teen years, Disney television shows still had their clutches in me…as Guy Williams raced across the TV screen cloaked in a black cape and mask as “Zorro.” (Naturally, my #1 Christmas present one year was an official Zorro sword which had an attachment on the end where you’d affix a stick of chalk so you could scrawl “Z” on your sidewalks.)

Most Americans shared my fascination with Walt Disney as the 1960s unfolded (launch of Disneyland in Anaheim, California) through the 1970s (Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida) and countless quality, family-friendly theatrical films including classics like “Bambi,” “Mary Poppins,” “Cinderella” and “101 Dalmations.”  In an ever-changing world filled with Civil Rights demonstrations, the Vietnam war, political upheavals in both parties and the arrival of the “hippie” drug culture,

the one constant parents and kids could always count on was that the Disney brand would always be safe for the whole family.

But cracks began to appear in the Disney veneer when eagle-eyed parents viewing 1989’s “The Little Mermaid” observed the brief appearance of the word “SEX” in a sandbank under the sea. Naturally, they were mocked as “uptight conservatives” who were “obsessed” over imagery…but nobody ever ferreted out the animation perverts who included that in a kid’s movie. A few years later—in 1994’s “The Lion King”—the character Simba swipes the dust with his paw, and again…the word “SEX” clearly appears in the nighttime sky. (The lame explanation this time was that the animation actually said “SFX” as a subliminal message honoring Disney’s Special Effects department. )


But proving the old adage “You can’t be a little bit pregnant,” the floodgates continued to open: Disney-owned mass media outlets (including  ABC television and ESPN) increasingly loaded up their programming with anti-conservative jibes, including non-stop Trump-bashing from late-night “comedian” Jimmy Kimmel. Programs like “Modern Family” and others not only included—but celebrated weekly—gay and LGBTQ characters. Recently ESPN commentators literally gushed over the “Women's Sports” victories of biological male Lia Thomas.

Disney-owned ABC News is ground zero for anti-Trump “reporting” featuring such left-leaning “journalists” as Jonathan Karl, Martha Raddatz, David Muir and others whose political opinions honeycomb their alleged news updates. But the real capper is former Clinton White House stooge George Stephanopoulos…who reinvented himself as a “newsman” who now hosts both “Good Morning America” and Sunday’s “This Week.”

However as Ronald Reagan would declare, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet: workers at Disney’s 3-D animation division Pixar recently walked off their jobs because a same-sex kiss in the upcoming animated film LIGHTYEAR had been edited out of the movie.  Instead of giving the workers 24 hours to come back and quit whining, Disney CEO Bob Chapek caved and the same-sex kiss will be restored before LIGHTYEAR is released to theaters. According to industry publication The Hollywood Reporter, one of the key activists within Disney’s ranks is Dana Terrace, who in an un-Disney-like statement, said “I’m f**king


tired of making Disney look good.”  Nice, especially since she’s the creator of the animated Disney Channel series “The Owl House” which features multiple LGBTQ characters. Hardly a hostile work environment.

Meantime, Chapek has now inserted The Disney Corporation into the Florida “Parental Rights in Education Bill” controversy…which the Left has misnamed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. This ginned-up tempers to the boiling point so that when my wife Lori and my son Ethan recently ordered an Uber ride from the annual CPAC convention in Orlando…their driver (who identified himself as a public school history teacher!) flew into an irrational verbal tirade against Donald Trump and conservatives, and at one point threatened to pull over on the highway and end their journey right then and there. And THIS guy is a HISTORY TEACHER.

Where will it all end?  Not in the foreseeable future. LA Magazine reports the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences is about to role out new “woke” guidelines for future Oscar submissions. “Here’s how it works: Starting in 2024, producers will be required to submit a summation of the race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status of members of their movie’s cast and crew. If a particular movie does not have enough people of color or disabled people or gays or lesbians working on the set—and what is “enough” will be determined by a knotty tangle of byzantine formularies—then that movie will no longer be eligible for an Oscar.” Nutty? You bet. Happening? Unfortunately.


Which brings us back to today’s Disney reality. From a myopic “woke” CEO down to politically-engaged “cast members,” Disney World—once the “Happiest Place On Earth” and a dream vacation for parents and kids alike—now is a bloated, unmanageable theme park with little or no “magic” left…unless your idea of magic is standing in line for up to two hours for a ride on the Rockin’ Roller Coaster or the Hollywood Tower of Terror..only to find they are “temporarily” out of service about the time it is your turn.  The tab for lunch or dinner for a family of four at any sit-down restaurant will rival your most recent tab at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or The Palm.  Reserving rooms for your family to Disney’s Polynesian Resort will set you back a cool $800 a night. And on and on.

Disney World—once every American family’s dream—has long ago vanished. (I know, I know…write the White House and Joe Biden will tell you the wildly-bloated, “sliding scale” ticket prices are Vladimir Putin’s fault.)

BOTTOM LINE:  A combination of corporate greed and spineless capitulation to idiotic leftist whining (like demanding Disney remove pirates chasing women from its classic Pirates of the Caribbean ride because the tableau allegedly “encouraged rape”) has devolved Disney World from a fun, affordable family theme park into a money pit that will erase any great memories once the credit card bills start rolling in.


Personally, I’m holding onto my fond childhood memories. And I’m very, very happy that Walt Disney himself did not live long enough to see how his once-magnificent empire has been tarnished in 2022.

TOM TRADUP is Vice President/News & Talk Programming for Dallas-based Salem Radio Network. He can be reached at

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