Ameircan political leaders have, with some exceptions, decided that it’s time to reopen the economy, public health be damned. And so it came to pass that Disney World reopened in Orlando the day before Florida added 15,299 new cases of COVID-19, smashing the single-day, single-state record.
In an effort to convince people to gather en masse at an amusement park in the new global epicenter of the pandemic, the Disney social media team produced a video meant to reassure. Instead, it reveals just how dystopian the company’s decision to reopen is, a decision that will almost certainly increase Florida’s already sky-high coronavirus death count.
It’s been deleted from Twitter, but you can still watch this masterpiece of the uncanny on Instagram. It shows a montage of Disney employees from hotel maids to Stormtroopers wearing masks and saying “Welcome back” to the camera. It’s meant to showcase the park’s new safety protocols, but it ends up demonstrating how insane it is to go to a theme park where everyone has to wear a mask all the time.
Folks on Twitter seized on the opportunity to mock the video, creating their own versions with soundtracks that brought the horror of the subtext to the forefront.
Disney World have released an ad showing they're open for business. It's sinister AF. If you're wondering how it plays with the score from The Shining… it's at home… pic.twitter.com/6i5Wwvbj2n
— Charlie Gee (@Charlie_A_Gee) July 9, 2020
oh man that’s good pic.twitter.com/QI2OXPgPUg
— Surgeon General Dr. Mario (@JakeStergos) July 11, 2020
Say less pic.twitter.com/UObHjVQqC8
— Kiyla Monét (@IAMKiylaMonet) July 11, 2020
But while it’s always fun to mock the misfires of corporate PR departments, the video shouldn’t become a distraction from the abhorrent situation.
Working at Disney World is pretty awful in normal times, but the park’s reopening during a pandemic means the only choice workers have is between risking their lives and losing their livelihood. Absent the kind of robust social safety net a humane country with the wealth of the United States would have, things are bleak even, and perhaps especially, at the Most Magical Place on Earth. And no amount of Disney magic can cover up that fact.