The official Disney Parks blog has responded to a rumor reported by a Disney Parks fan site by discrediting and insulting the fan site.
On June 26th, WDW News Today founder Tom Corless reported on a rumor that the Magic Kingdom version of the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction would be replaced with an original live show based on the film Moana. The Enchanted Tiki Room has been rumored to be receiving a Moana-based overlay since the film’s release in 2016, and a cursory Google search for the rumor shows that multiple outlets have reported and discussed the proposed change in the years since it first began circulation. Corless reported that his information came from “sources inside the company,” but strictly labeled the information as a rumor and stated that fans could “expect an announcement to be made regarding this potential change at this year’s D23 Expo”.
Rather than issuing an amicable denial of this rumor, Disney responded to Corless in a blog post on the official Disney Parks Blog written by the Editorial Content Director of Disney Parks Thomas Smith titled A little birdie told us…. In the blog post, Smith not only denies that the Enchanted Tiki Room would be changing, but also takes a shot at WDW News Today by caustically referring to the site as an “unscrupulous” source:
“A little birdie told us there are some rumors flying around about our beloved Tiki birds at Walt Disney World Resort. We’re sorry that our fans are being fed incorrect information by unscrupulous sources. While “toucan” play at that game, we deal in facts here at the Disney Parks Blog. Although we won’t address every rumor, we want to set the record straight: there are no plans for our feathered friends to fly the coop any time soon. We’re constantly evolving our stories, but these birds will continue entertaining our guests at the Magic Kingdom Park just as they have done since 1971.”
Naturally, this response did not sit well with Corless, who updated his readers to Disney’s denial while also noting that “this post from the Parks Blog is the most unprofessional statement the company has released in its history”:
“While we at WDWNT do not take kindly to being called an “unscrupulous source” by the Disney Parks Blog (which regularly tells people incorrect “facts” about where new specialty food and beverage items are located and released), when dealing with rumors, nothing is absolute and everything is subject to change. Also, after we prematurely announced a fairly large percentage of Disney’s “big reveals” for the 2017 D23 Expo, I don’t think such a statement holds any validity.
First off, as we mentioned, the Moana rumors indicate an OVERLAY of the existing Tiki Room, not the removal of any of the birds. I am still unsure that the wording Disney used today actually denies any updates to the show, but I won’t get into semantics with them. Adding Moana characters or music from the film would be “evolving the story” though, so we’ll see what happens.
Do note that while Disney decided to address the rumor about the Enchanted Tiki Room within hours, it has yet to release a statement in the course of a week-and-a-half regarding the Country Bear Jamboree. So while plans have seemingly changed as far as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room in Walt Disney World, Disney’s silence leads us to believe that they are moving full steam ahead with plans on replacing the beloved Country Bears with the planned Toy Story marionette show (unless Thomas Smith has another piece he’d like to rush out).
Also, I would like to add that this post from the Parks Blog is the most unprofessional statement the company has released in its history, in my personal opinion. We have had open communication channels with the Disney Parks PR teams for over a decade and we would have been happy to run an update with an official statement.”
Corless was not the only one to respond to Disney’s denial. Clownfish TV also responded.
Despite the assertion by Disney that fans were being “fed incorrect information,” fan blogs and WDW News Today have correctly reported on rumored changes before. Rumors that the ‘Push the Trash Can’ character would be retired were highly circulated among sources such as Inside the Magic, Theme Park Tourist, and even The Orlando Sentinel before Disney denied his removal, only for the character to be officially retired three-days after this denial. WDW News Today has also correctly predicted changes to the Disney parks such as the replacement of the Universe of Energy attraction with a Guardians of a Galaxy themed coaster, and the retirement of the IllumiNations and The Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable.
What do you make of Disney’s response? Do you think it was appropriate or unprofessional?