The 13 Biggest Disney Park Controversies


8) Starbucks at Main Street Bakery

In 2012 it was announced that the popular Main Street Bakery would be closing at the Magic Kingdom. It would be replaced by, gasp, Starbucks. The announcement led to thousands of emails and letters to Disney, begging them to reconsider the decision. Others planned to not renew their Annual Passes and to boycott Walt Disney World all together. Disney soon let it be known that Main Street Bakery wouldn’t really be gone, it would just serve Starbucks products. The location reopened in 2013. There are some Starbucks logos, but it still has the Main Street Bakery name and charm. The warm cinnamon rolls that the original was known for are no longer served. They can instead be found at Gaston’s Tavern in New Fantasyland. Main Street Bakery is not the only place where you can get your Starbucks fix at Walt Disney World. There are now locations in all four theme parks, and two at Disney Springs.

7) MagicBands and Private Information

There is no doubt that MagicBands can make your vacation easier. You can use them to enter the parks, for your FastPass+ times, to pay for your meals and purchases, to link your pictures to your account, and more. Disney claims that in the future MagicBands will allow them to give guests a more personalized experience. The question is, how far should they go? Many people do not want their every move tracked when they go to a park, but that is exactly what Disney will be able to do. While the convenience of a MagicBand can be a great thing, knowing that Disney employees will be able to tell which rest room you used and when can be a bit unsettling. Some parents don’t like the fact that their child’s name might now appear at the end of some rides such as It’s a Small World. Still, MagicBands are moving ahead, and Disney promises amazing interactions in the future. The easy solution if you don’t like the technology and its potential is to not use a MagicBand. You can still ask for a Key to the World Card if you would prefer.

6) Avatar Land

In January, 2014, Camp Minnie-Mickey closed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A few days later ground broke on a new land. Originally it was known as Avatar Land, but the final name became Pandora – The World of Avatar. The reason that Avatar Land caused controversy is because some believed that a movie based on made-up creatures has no place in a park that is devoted to live animals. While some argue that DinoLand, U.S.A. isn’t based on live animals, at one time dinosaurs did roam the earth. The fact that Avatar was released in 2009 made it even harder to argue that it would be a good fit for the park. Pandora opened in May, 2017, and was an instant hit. Opening day crowds were so large that the new land ended up being limited to resort guests and those with FastPass+. Avatar Flight of Passage is a huge success, with standby lines that often have a wait time of two hours or more. Talk of the land not being a good match for the park has all but disappeared.

5) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Closed for Winnie the Pooh

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was one of the original rides at Walt Disney World. The attraction was “wildly” popular, in part because it took riders outside of their usual happy experiences. The ride involved a train wreck and a trip through the Disney version of Hell. Everything turned out fine in the end. When it was announced that the ride would close to make way for a new attraction based on Winnie the Pooh, fans jumped into action. There were protests, letter writing campaigns, and even T-shirts. In the end the protests did no good, and the ride closed forever on September 7, 1998. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh opened in the same space on June 4, 1999. There is a nod to the former occupant in the newer attraction; one of the pictures on the wall in Owl’s House is of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl. All is not lost for Mr. Toad fans. They can still enjoy the ride; they’ll just have to head to California in order to do it. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride still takes guests through the netherworld at Disneyland Park. The Many Adventure’s of Winnie the Pooh can be found there as well, so it is possible for the two rides to coexist.

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About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.