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Disney stops greeting ‘boys and girls’ for gender inclusivity

Disney World will ditch a decades-long tradition of greeting guests as “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” in a major change towards inclusivity.

Walt Disney World has removed its longtime greeting, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” from its Magic Kingdom fireworks show to promote inclusivity.

Instead, visitors to the Florida park will be greeted with a phrase that starts with “Good evening, dreamers of all ages!”

Insider reports that on Wednesday, Disney World employees were invited to a “cast member” preview of the “Happily Ever After” fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. While the fireworks show itself remains virtually the same as previous years, the show’s opening greeting has been updated.

The preview was the first fireworks show hosted at Disney World since nightly shows were halted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jack Wagner, known as “the voice of Disney,” estimated that he uttered the phrase over eight million times during his two-decade tenure as park announcer for Disneyland, Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.

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Twitter user @ShowcaseWishes shared a video comparing the greeting as heard in 2020 to the one played on Wednesday night. The user tweeted “Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls FOREVER!”

Some commenters echoed the original post’s hesitation, calling the decision “completely unnecessary” and “overly sensitive”.

However, most commenters were quite supportive of the change. One user replied, “I love ‘Dreamers of all ages’ because it really makes that super snuggly and more magical. It’s so heartwarming”.

“Hot take: ‘good evening, dreamers of all ages’ works better thematically,” another person said.

A third joked, “Because ‘ladies, gentlemen, boys, girls, and everyone else who identifies otherwise’ can be a bit of a mouthful. Better to be straight to the point.”

Disney has not yet commented on the updated greeting at Disney World.

In March, the same change was made at Tokyo Disney Resort — replacing “Ladies and gentlemen” with “Welcome everyone” in park announcements to promote gender inclusivity, according to Disney fan site WDWNT.com.

The change initially came from the Oriental Land Company, which licenses the Disney brand, its characters and their likenesses for the park. That change only effected English announcements, as Japanese announcements have always used a gender-neutral term.

“We want all guests to have a fun and comfortable experience at Tokyo Disney Resort, and we hope this change will make guests of all gender identities feel more comfortable when they visit our parks,” an Oriental Land Company spokesperson said in March.

“In consideration of these ideals and in light of changing social norms, we decided to make this change.”

The latest greeting change comes after numerous efforts in recent months and years to become more welcoming to visitors.

The company announced in January that it would remove racially insensitive scenes from its Jungle Cruise rides. The updated rides no longer include “negative depictions” of native peoples, according to Disney, and reflect “the diversity of the world around us.”

In June 2020, Disney announced that it would transform Splash Mountain at US theme parks into “Prince and the Frog”-themed rides after backlash. The ride was connected to the racist Song of the South Disney movie from 1946.

Disney Parks around the world have also featured same-sex couples and children with disabilities on the cover of park guide maps. The Walt Disney Company also introduced “inclusion” as its fifth key in cast member training in September 2020.

Additionally, just today, the Florida theme park and resort announced that it will give away free passes to its 50th anniversary celebration. The passes will go to 50 people whose “inspirational acts of kindness, compassion, and creativity best exemplify the values of a Disney Magic Maker,” according to a blog post. Those chosen will also receive a free one-year subscription to Disney+.

Disney will also be donating $US400,000 ($536,000) to non-profits Make-A-Wish, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Nature Conservancy. According to the blog post, these organisations “demonstrated resilience” during the pandemic and “found unique and innovative ways to continue serving their communities when they needed magic most.”

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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