Friday, March 18, 2016

Disneyland Rides/Attractions Gender/Race Demographics Part 2/4

Enchanted Tiki Room- "Male" - Females: Yes, a bunch of female cockatoos sing together halfway through the attraction. I do commend them for placing a name card in front of each female bird, that way they appear to be individuals rather than one entity (since they all look and sing the same). Despite this, the only characters that have any real personality are the four main macaws who are all males. The female cockatoos are also very feminized with the feather decor, jewelry and pink lighting during their set. When it comes to race, the attraction includes many stereotypes. The four macaws that act like the hosts in the attraction are José (Mexican), Michael (Irish), Pierre (French), Fritz (German), and all of them have very heavy accents corresponding with their country of origin. These parrots are very stereotyped in how they talk and how they were named. Interestingly, only the Irish bird was actually voiced by a person of that same nationality (Wally Boag), everyone one else was voiced by an American. Polynesian culture is used as decor for the attraction and in it's queue area there are some figures of Hawaiian god and goddesses (females:3 males:5). It's a bit strange that the decor and name of the attraction implies Polynesian and Hawaiian culture, but then the main characters are 3 Europeans and 1 Latin American.

Fantasmic! - "Male" - Females: Wendy (who's a damsel in distress), Tinker Belle, Ursula, The Evil Queen, Maleficent, Snow White, Belle and Ariel; The female villains are the ones that end up contributing to the plot (all of the female villains are the main antagonists in the show), while the princesses sort of just dance as they are carried around by small floats accompanied by their princes. Marionettes (dressed as can-can dancers) and a sexy female fish appear in the Pinocchio sequence. There are also several female character in the finale (dancing and whooshing streamers around). However, I still consider this ride a male because visitors are mainly coming to see Mickey and the fireworks and because the majority of the characters in the performance are males. All the human actors are white, as well.
Fantasy Faire -"Female"
- Females: Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, Rapunzel, Belle, Elsa and Anna, this attraction has a Royal Hall where the princesses dance, sing, and retell their film's story lines to the audience also there's a bunch of areas for photo-ops with the princesses. Also the Royal Hall performances are hosted by Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones, a comedic duo that play all the other roles needed in the show, so actually even in this attraction male characters outnumber females (since there's the duo and the princes). There are no princesses of color in this attraction, based off of Disney's description. (Tiana and Naveen have a temporary stand alone meet-and-greet in New Orleans Square as do Jasmine and Aladdin near Aladdin's Oasis (a restaurant))

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- "Male"-Females: Two, Darla (minor appearance) and Dory. They main plot of the attraction is all sea creature from the movie looking for Nemo and Squirt.
The only human face shown on the ride (there is another scuba driver but he has a mask) is Darla, an Australian white girl.

Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition- Unisex

Gadget’s Go Coaster - "Female" - Female:
Gadget Hackwrench from the 1989 animated TV series Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, is whom the ride is named afterward. "Gadget herself is depicted on top of a small weather-vane on a building towards Chip and Dale's Tree House." (wikipedia)

Goofy’s Playhouse - "Male"

Haunted Mansion
-"Female" - Females: two females; Madame Leota and Constance Hatchaway I considering the Haunted Mansion a 'female' ride because even though females are not the main attraction and male characters still outnumber them, female characters do play an important part in the ride. In fact the only characters on the ride that have real names (not vague ones like 'Hitchhiking Ghosts') are two females, and both are very powerful. Madame Leota (appearing twice) is the spirit of a psychic in a floating crystal ball. She conducts "otherworldly séance in an attempt to summon spirits and assist them in materializing"(wikipedia). In 2006, Disney renovated the Mansion. During this time they gave the existing ghost bride on the ride a new name, look and backstory. The story goes that Constance Hatchaway (also appearing twice on the ride) in the late 19th century married and murdered [the ride implies with a hatchet] at least five wealthy men and inherited their fortunes.

Hyperspace Mountain (Space Mountain)- Unisex -The ride is now themed after the Stars Wars franchise.

Indiana Jones Adventure-"Male"- Females: none The story takes place in India. Only Indiana Jones appears on the ride. However during the queue the visitors watch a lot of film footage to help establish the ride's story. Indians can be seen in the background as lackeys and while there is an supporting Egyptian character, an excavator, Sallah, he is played by a Welsh actor both in the movie and in the voice overs/queue footage.

(screenshot of film footage showcased during the Indy ride's queue)

“it’s a small world”-"Female" - Females: plenty, however I could do a closer inspection of how they are portrayed and exactly what the ratio is between male and females. Anyways, in 2009 Disney inserted their own (and Pixar's) characters into the ride, many of which were females (Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Alice, Jasmine, Mulan (in her warrior suit!!!! which is super rare to see) Ariel, Dory, Lilo and Jessie). On the one hand its good to see so many females on one ride but I feel like there is a catch to put Disney characters on "it's a small world". These characters undermine the theme of the ride, which is to celebrate children all over the world coming together to live in peace and harmony. Having the Disney characters on the ride does two things 1) Unites children using their knowledge of Disney characters, which brings commercialism and materialism into the ride 2) The ride becomes a game, a competition to see how many Disney characters visitors can find, which distracts them from actually focusing on the main intent of the ride.
      However when it comes to how well the ride ends up portraying different cultures, that's a whole other can of worms (that's probably a whole other post in itself). For now I'll say that the ride is pretty guilty of stereotyping many cultures, and definitely implies that US is the best.
      I'll just give one example regarding ethnicity depiction on the ride: the section representing Brazil, which I feel the most comfortable talking about, since I'm Brazilian. Despite over 50% of Brazil's population identifying as either African or mixed, there are no people of color in the Brazilian section (all the dolls sort of have a light tan skin color). The dolls' attire are also very dated and are exactly like the stereotyped images of Brazilians portrayed in the Disney films Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). So in this case it looked like Disney referenced themselves when it came to depicting Brazilians instead of actually looking at the country itself, which actually sort of makes sense since Mary Blair the designer of the ride was also one of the artist Disney took to South American in the 1940s.

The Brazilian section is on the right.
Saludos Amigos (1942)
Jungle Cruise- Unisex - Female: in the ride there are none, but your skipper could be a woman; Even though this ride has humans in it, I'm considering this ride Unisex because the appeal of this ride is more about going on a boat, hearing the cheesy comedy of the skipper and enjoying the overall experience. However despite this ride lack of gender depiction, it certainly has no lack of race depiction. The Jungle Cruise is a reliving of the allure of the exotic during the nineteenth century when European explorers would travel to the 'unknown lands' such as Africa or the Far East. There are stereotyped images of African tribes (head hunters, cannibals, aggressive) and English explorers with Africans as guides. By having European exploring equipment throughout the queue, the visitor is being set up to go on the ride and view the indigenous people and animals through a White/European (mostly male) gaze.

Here's another blog post I found that focuses on the racial depictions in the Jungle Cruise:

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