Disney’s Magic Is Dying Out

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A Doctor Strange cosplayer walks past the Marvel Studios portion of the D23 Expo on Sept. 10, 2022.

Chase Golem, Life Editor

Disney’s D23 Expo wrapped up on Sept. 11 after three days of new announcements for their networks and even Disney parks as the Walt Disney Company reaches 100 years of existence. The new arrivals to Disney, however, seem to be pushing the franchises a bit too far and Disney seems out of ideas. 

From Sept. 9-11, Disney announced new movies and TV shows across their plethora of networks across the world, with a heavy emphasis on Disney+. While exiting to hear the new shows and movies, it’s the same things repeated that Disney already has. There is nothing “new,” just remakes of already hit movies. 

Disney announced that classics like “The Little Mermaid” would be remade into live-action and “The Lion King,” “Peter Pan,” “Enchanted” and “Hocus Pocus 2” would have a sequel; “Mufasa: The Lion King,” “Peter Pan and Wendy,” “Disenchanted” and “Hocus Pocus 2” respectively.  

It’s nice to see a refresh of things every once and a while, but I don’t see a point in the new ones. Who is really wanting an extension to “The Lion King” that wasn’t originally planned from the original film?  

The “The Little Mermaid” remake’s casting has drawn some unwarranted controversy online. Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, is black – which some people online don’t agree with. Whether or not Ariel is white or black shouldn’t be the question, but rather if Bailey can pull off the role of Ariel well or not – not race. 

Disney also announced a new addition to the Descendants franchise. I don’t see how they are going to pull off a “Descendants 4” at all. The story book closed peacefully in 2019 after three movies, and it’s time to leave it be. 

Cameron Boyce, who played Cruella’s son Carlos, passed away in 2019 – just after “Descendants 3” had finished filming. Disney Channel will use China Ann McClain, who plays Ursula’s daughter Uma, as a focus for the sequel. Having seen the previous three movies, I don’t see how they are going to do it successfully. They might be able to pull it off, but my expectations so far are low. 

Even with all the “new” content, people don’t even seem that interested in Disney anymore. According to Statistica, the average number of Disney Channel viewers went from 1.96 million in 2014 to a staggering 230,000 in 2021.  

Other than the movies and TV announced, Disney also announced some other additions to the company’s parks, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line.  

Disneyland will have additions to Avengers Campus, changing the current Pacific Wharf to San Fransokyo, which is based off of “Big Hero 6,” and some new restaurants and a Pixar-themed hotel.  

I’m excited to see what they do with these, especially San Fransokyo. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Disneyland, but I think it’s a nice refresh to add new attractions to keep people coming back.  

Disney Cruise Line will also have an addition to their already expansive line, the Disney Treasure. They just announced a new cruise ship though, the Disney Wish that had a maiden voyage a few months ago. Not sure why they wanted a new one, but my guess is that Disney Cruise Line has a heavy influx after COVID.  

Even with all the new additions to Disney parks, it seems that Disney is focusing more on the franchise aspect of their attractions. Pacific Wharf had no tie to a Disney movie or franchise, and that’s now being replaced with something that is. Disney is losing their own creativity that Walt Disney imagined, all replaced with Disney’s new content. 

Disney isn’t making anything new, all the new shows aren’t like the shows we’re used to. To Disney, however, they don’t seem to care unless their profit is growing – even with their shrinking magic.