Disney 'Welcome home' promo draws snarky responses

Walt Disney World has reopened its doors in Orlando, Florida, at the same time unveiling a welcome back video to its fans. In a video uploaded on its Facebook and Instagram pages, Disney told fans "Welcome home", while featuring employees in masks preparing for the theme park's reopening. Uploaded two days ago, the video on Facebook has garnered 1,500 positive reactions consisting of like, love, and care, as well as 28 comments at the time of writing. The post has also garnered 33,504 views on Instagram. 

The video comes as Disney pushed ahead with its reopening in Orlando amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its phased reopening with significant reduction in capacity. Despite visitors being required to wear masks and adhere to safety measures while visiting the resort in Orlando, the number of COVID-19 cases were certainly a cause for concern among consumers. As a result, Disney's latest "Welcome home" video was still met with snarky responses online even though some netizens welcomed the move.

Its resort in Orlando reopened on 11 July after being closed for nearly four months. According to BBC, Florida has reported over a quarter of a million COVID-19 cases, along with 4,197 deaths. The Disney resort is based in Florida's Orange County, which has 16,630 cases and is among the highest numbers in Florida, BBC reported.

Disney said in a press release that it is reopening its theme parks with a deliberate, responsible approach drawing on experience from Hong Kong Disneyland, which reopened its doors on 18 June. However, Hong Kong Disneyland is reportedly closing its doors again in compliance with a government-directed order to dial back public activities, according to The New York Times. This comes as Hong Kong experienced an increase in COVID-19 infections. The news article added that while the theme park will be temporarily closed, its resort hotels at the Lantau Island will still be open.

Many netizens voiced out their concerns of safety and urged Disney not to reopen their parks. Some of them also accused Disney of being money-minded and not caring about its guests. One netizen said: "When you have to murder your customers and employees because of capitalism", while another questioned if Disney is so "desperate for money" that they are willing to endanger their employees.

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Similarly on Twitter, netizens are voicing out their unhappiness that the amusement park is opening its doors so soon. One netizen even posted a remake of the ad that Disney World posted, with the caption: "They finally got the Disney World ad right". The new ad is layered with ominous music in the background with the staff members saying "Stay home", "It's not safe", and "Do not come here". The new video garnered 22,400 retweets and comments, as well as 56,700 likes on Twitter.

This is not the first time Disney got embroiled with Twitter netizens. Earlier in April, its streaming service Disney Plus called for fans on Twitter to reply with their favourite memories from the film series Star Wars on 4 May. However, its follow-up tweet stated that use of the #MayThe4th hashtag implied acceptance of Disney's terms of use. Twitter users were upset, and several legal and marketing experts even voiced out that Disney was being ridiculous to push that a hashtag could give away content rights or that Disney had ownership of the hashtag in the first place.

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