My story begins with my father’s childhood. He was born in 1939 to Italian immigrant parents and was the youngest of 15 children—needless to say, there were no family vacations.
My parents attended the World's Fair in 1964. It was there that my dad first experienced Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World and The Carousel of Progress. He was awestruck. When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, I was 2 years old. We visited that summer and every summer subsequent to that during my childhood. It was nowhere near as expensive as it is today but I have no idea how my family could afford it even still. We stayed at a hotel off Disney property only once and after that we always stayed on the monorail line or at our favorite place, the Fort Wilderness campground, either in our own camper or in one of the cabins. We looked forward to it every year and have many cherished memories of those trips.
Walt Disney World was beautiful, clean and, above all, wholesome and family friendly.
They did not serve alcohol at the Magic Kingdom and you never saw big groups of rowdy teenagers running around unsupervised. My dad loved this. Walt Disney World was as American as apple pie and foot long hot dogs from Casey's Corner. It was my father’s aspiration and happy place.
Even as we grew into adulthood, we continued to travel there on family vacations and, when Disney offered their first time share on property, my dad was one of the first in line to purchase. It was a dream come true for him to pass on our family tradition for the next 50 years…he imagined his grandchildren coming to the parks and experiencing the magic in the happiest place on earth. Unfortunately, he didn't live to see that.
The magical legacy is strong, but the world has changed—and so has Disney World.
I’ve worried about supporting a place that no longer represents my family values. I don’t want to believe it. I have wanted to hold on to a wholesomeness that no longer exists. My family memories have gone up in smoke. Please hold onto the handrails, please stand clear of the doors because the bottom is about to drop out of your family vacation.
Not wanting to let go, we traveled there this year for spring break. My family had a wonderful time but I felt unsettled. I tried to pretend all is well as I woke up at the crack of dawn to plan our days with rope drops, genie plus, lightning lanes, and virtual queues. I orchestrated the trip and intended for it to be epic. I had watched a ton of YouTube videos on the topic and I know all the tricks.
Upon arrival, I went to the hotel lobby to ask a question and was greeted by a tall transwoman wearing a mask. That was the first sign that the Disney World of my memories had changed—dramatically. My kids didn’t notice. I don’t know why I was surprised but I was—and my heart sank a little. Who cares? I told myself, and tried to move past it.
You may be thinking that this Disney World of today is just a representation of our current population. But, my 15 year old daughter identifies as a gay man and when I’m out and about in the world I find myself kind of scanning the area to see if I can spot anyone similar. I almost never do. It’s kind of a game I play. Maybe there’s a ton of kids out there that I haven’t noticed or maybe they are stealth gender ninjas who just want to blend in and be comfortable in their own skin. Over the course of my week at Disney world though, I interacted with at least 4 more Disney employees that were obviously trans identified—and they were all older men dressed as women, including one Disney bus driver in a wig, makeup and prosthetic bra. There was a bearded man in a dress waiting tables at a restaurant. My 10 year old son noticed the bus driver and said women “don’t usually have such hairy arms.” None of these men “passed” as women, hairy arms notwithstanding…
It was disturbing to me to think that these men might be acting out their sexual fetishes at a beloved family resort on Disney transportation, working at attractions, and in the hotel lobbies, all in plain sight in front of hundreds of small children.
My trans identified daughter didn’t appear to notice any of these men and wasn’t with us the night we encountered the bus driver. Afterwards I found myself wondering if he’s been relegated to the late night shift- just to test the waters “uh Phil you’ll be doing the 11-2 shift this week…”. or if they trot him out during the day bold as can be. He’s so stunning and brave after all in his shiny wig in brassy auburn, matching lipstick, and size 14 boots. Maybe his daytime look is a bit more toned down? I’ll probably never know the answer to that. One thing I do know is that actual women mostly never match their lipstick to their hair color or to the top they are wearing. It just isn’t done guys so if you want to do this you need to step up your game. I know I shouldn’t say it but I’m looking at you Mrs. Levine.
When I started writing this my intention was to protest but the more I think about it I’m not sure it’s worth it.
I didn’t want to surrender Disney World to this madness that has destroyed so many families and caused so much pain. I wanted to hold on to that beloved childhood memory. I guess I need to man up.
I fail to see how this can be a sustainable strategy for the Disney company… there simply must be more normies out there who are just afraid to rise up. We could form a coalition—Normies for the Mouse maybe? I guess we would have to be anonymous because everyone will accuse us of being “bigoted transphobes” for simply wanting quality time with our families.
The power of the virtue signal is overwhelming for most people and they want to show support for this “marginalized community” in order to elevate themselves. The strange thing is that for a marginalized community they sure get a ton of airtime and it feels as if society is bending over backwards to ensure their comfort and safety. What about the rest of us? Normies, can you hear me?
Grown men and women should be able to get the healthcare they need and wear what they would like to wear. And guess what? They can! They can’t, however, force other people to perceive them in a certain way. That’s not how it works for any of us.
I was that person in the before times. You will only understand the damage being done when it touches your family and things start to unravel. Everything you thought you knew gets turned inside out and the world starts to look like a French postmodern trans human nightmare involving a social justice chat bot because it is—at least at your dinner table. It’s suffocating and seeks to strangle the life out of you.
You can only see the insidious effects when you are in the thick of it and by then it’s already too late. You can either be ok with being referred to as a person with a vagina or you can quit getting waxed at that place even though you prepaid for it. The list of businesses I can no longer support is getting very, very long. I’ll hold out and hope it matters some day. Surely it matters a great deal to most of us?
When we returned from our trip, Disney sent a survey with questions about our hotel stay, the food, and the experiences. The last question on the survey had nothing to do with our visit at all. It simply asked “does anyone in your travel party identify as LGBTQ+?”
I don’t know why but that question felt ominous and it haunts me. I’d rather not say.