The Most Eyebrow-Raising Disney News of the Year: Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up

The year 2022 is quickly coming to a close, and as we take a look back over the last 12 months, we are reminded of all that has transpired this year.

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RELATED: 2022 Has Been a Year of Immense Loss for Disney, and We Don’t Mean Financially

We are reminded of policy changes and ticket price increases at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and at Disney Parks around the globe. We are reminded of significant changes at the corporate level inside The Walt Disney Company, and we remember very clearly who has been intent on keeping Walt a part of Disney–and who could literally not care less about maintaining his legacy.

We remember a court case–a trial that seemed to last forever–one that made its way into headlines at every news outlet, whether online or in print. And then we remember the day justice was finally delivered. We remember the hurricanes, the storms, and other natural disasters that were so significant and far-reaching, that they had an impact on Disney fans, Disney Parks, and operations that relate to the magic we enjoy every time we visit Disney World and Disneyland.

Hurricane Ian aftermath: Images, videos capture catastrophic damage in  Florida | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

We remember (and wish we could forget) some of the worst-ever Guest behavior in the parks, most of which still has us scratching our heads and raising our eyebrows. In fact, when looking back over 2022, there are several things that have kept our eyebrows raised and our heads shaking. And these are just a few of them.

Drunk Couple at Disney Thinks Their Baby is a Flying Elephant

A couple visiting Magic Kingdom with their baby and their friends knocked back a few too many during their time at the park that day. It’s not entirely uncommon to see inebriated Guests in the parks, though that level of inebriation can vary wildly, depending on the day you visit. In this particular scenario, the couple with the baby apparently got so smashed, that they thought their baby was a flying elephant.

Drunk couple at Disney dangle their baby over the side of the ride vehicle  while soaring through the air - Disney Dining

Credit: Disney Parks

After boarding the ride vehicle at the Dumbo attraction at Magic Kingdom and taking flight, the parents (and I use that term loosely) proceeded to dangle the baby over the side of the ride car, so that he could fly with the big-eared pachyderm. We’re not sure why they thought any part of this endeavor was safe or what they hoped was in it for them, but we’re betting they weren’t expecting an all-expenses-paid trip in the back of a police cruiser, which is exactly what their eyebrow-raising antics earned them.

Plans Emerge to Change Disney World’s Name Forever

In July, Twitter user Parkscope Joe tweeted about a podcast he listened to that said plans were in the works to change the name of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The very idea of a name change for the flagship of the Disney Parks was eyebrow-raising enough. But when we learned that the proposal would leave Walt out of the mix altogether, our tempers were raised as well.

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Disney Ignored the Legal Process, but Someone Else Got the Final Say

While we are Disney fans through and through and love the parks more than any place on earth, we don’t always see eye-t0-eye with decisions made by The Walt Disney Company, such as Disney’s decision to completely ignore the United States legal process, outlined by the Constitution–specifically the Fifth Amendment which grants innocence to citizens accused of atrocities until they are proven guilty.

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Such a statute apparently cramped Disney’s style when it came to the beleaguered Johnny Depp as he nearly drowned in false claims and accusations by his vehemently disgruntled ex-wife Amber Heard, who viciously spread lies, rumors, naysaying, and the like, aimed at tearing apart every fiber of Depp’s personal and professional life. Disney scrapped Depp before his trial was on the docket in Virginia, and even when he was proven not guilty, the House of Mouse declined to make any apologies to Depp. Even now, there has still been no olive branch extended, though Disney has no issue with monetizing Depp’s likeness in its theme parks and across a massive line of Pirates of the Caribbean-themed merchandise.

Disney and the State of Florida Battle it Out Like Two Entitled Toddlers

Whether it was their mothers, their fathers, or their grandparents, we’re not sure, but someone sure fell asleep at the wheel when it came to teaching Disney’s former CEO Bob Chapek and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to play nice and work through their differences amicably.

bob chapek ron desantis baby bottles

So many, many things about which to raise our eyebrows in this little catastrophe . . .

In 2022, Chapek, 62, and DeSantis, 44, acted more like preschoolers as they battled it out in the debacle over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which DeSantis signed into law in March. Shortly before the bill passed, Chapek released a statement on behalf of The Walt Disney Company, denouncing the proposed legislation, but many doubted its merit as the statement was only made after some Cast Members got loud on social media about the new bill which, by the way, had exactly zero to do with anything remotely related to The Walt Disney Company or its Cast Members.

The bill passed anyway (imagine that), and Disney fired back another statement, denouncing Florida’s decision to pass such a law and vowing to support efforts to see the law overturned. In true preschool style, DeSantis fired back at Disney with a bill to dissolve Disney World’s special tax district, and the dumpster fire grew from there.

Disney Waits more than 2 1/2 years to give Bob Chapek the boot

Perhaps Disney’s board is populated with people who have difficulty making decisions. Maybe they are plagued with a constant cloud of second-guesses and self-doubt. Maybe they don’t understand that a company has to make money and keep its loyal patrons content to do so in the long run.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek Debuts New Look, Talks Price Increases, Business  Strategy - Inside the Magic

Credit: ITM

RELATED: Chapek’s Out, Iger’s In: Here’s What Went Wrong

Our eyebrows have been raised for a long, long time now because, for whatever the reason, the decision to eject former Disney CEO Bob Chapek from his cushy throne at the House of Mouse took about two-and-a-half years too long. Chapek burst into the role as CEO unexpectedly in February 2020, just in time to be smacked in the face with the impending doom of the looming coronavirus pandemic, and from the get-go, Chapek’s poor decisions and refusal to listen to Disney’s loyal fans and parkgoers left jaws dropped, nerves on edge, and more than a few (million) eyebrows raised.

The whole “bull in the china closet” adage comes to mind.

Bull In A China Shop โ€” Electric Art - Creative Image Production

Credit: Electric Art

Just how long was the Board going to let the bull run loose? Maybe they were looking to downsize their patrons in the first place. If so, their evil plans have succeeded.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!