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Disney Park Accused of Racism, Only Hiring White Performers

tokyo disneyland
Credit: Disney

Whenever a Cast Member begins earning their ears at a Disney Park, they’re introduced to something known as “The Four Keys.” These are supposed to be the main aspects that Cast Members should focus on while working at a Disney theme park, giving employees a broad guide on how to act at all times. The keys are as follows: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency.

Recently, Disney added a fifth key. During Cast Member training, Disney currently claims that this fifth key is the most important key of all (behind Safety, that is). Now, the keys are listed as follows: Safety, Inclusion, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency.

What Makes the Fifth Key So Important?

aladdin ending

Credit: Disney

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Truly, inclusion is the key to equality, and it’s not a new concept over at the Walt Disney Company by any means. After all, the Disney Renaissance is full to the brim of characters of color, giving audiences the chance to see themselves represented on the big screen in lead, positive roles.

For the first time, little girls in America were able to see a Disney Princess that looks like them thanks to films like Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). Not only that, but Disney Parks take great care to cast and hire performers who look like the characters they’re portraying.

Disney Characters In the Parks Always Look Just Like the Characters From the Classic Films…Almost Always…

esmeralda hunchback of notre dame

Credit: Disney

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Not only does it maintain the illusion, but it’s incredibly important for guests and audiences to see themselves reflected in Disney Parks as heroes, princesses, and other protagonists. From Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom to Disneyland Park, each Disney theme park makes casting a priority. But it seems that Disney Parks overseas may not have the same priorities…

As one Disney fan recently pointed out, Tokyo Disneyland has a horrible habit of miscasting characters of color:

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These performers aren’t just pale, they’re stark white compared to the characters they’re meant to be portraying.

Both examples of Pocahontas performers don’t have skin as dark as the Native American Disney Princess. Not to mention, Aladdin and Jasmine are incredibly pale despite being characters from a fictional city in the Middle East. You could even go so far as to say that Aladdin looks more like Prince Eric with his light skin and blue eyes.

The actress portraying Esmeralda also looks incredibly pale compared to the original character of Romani descent from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Lessons from Disney Princesses

Credit: Disney

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So, you may be asking yourself, what’s the reason for this? To which we answer, we wish we knew! With no information to go on, fans have begun accusing the Disney Park of whitewashing these beloved characters in an act of blatant racism.

Although we don’t know the exact reason behind this bold choice, we can assume it may be to make these characters more palatable to audiences, which has an incredibly sinister implication. Whatever the reason, we hope that Tokyo Disneyland responds to the criticism and begins hiring performers of color who will gladly play these roles!

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.