Spotlight: The Golden Mickey’s Show on the Disney Wonder

Musings, Spotlight
golden mickey

“Lights, cameras, acceptance speeches!”  On our first night aboard the Disney Wonder, we caught the Golden Mickey’s show.  In my previous post, I mentioned how I cried my eyes out during the “heroism” part of the show, which showcased Tarzan, Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mulan.  Now you would guess that I would have cried hardest for the Mulan number.  But it was actually quite the opposite.

The sequence consisted of a “karate-style” dance to Be A Man, which is fine.  That’s how the scene is in the movie.  But there weren’t even any Asian dancers in the mix. 😑  Granted, we were sitting in one of the back rows, but I’m pretty sure Mulan and Li Shang were white performers.  And let’s get real for a second.  If this were a Princess and the Frog segment, and Tiana came out as a white person, that wouldn’t fly.  And not even as a white person wearing blackface, just literally as a white actor playing Tiana.  But when it comes to white people portraying Asians or Asian Americans, it’s much more acceptable. Just look at all these movies that have committed whitewashing.  And studios don’t seem to see anything wrong with that.  And that’s frustrating.

GM mulan

Photo of Mulan sequence above found on google images.

Now those who are familiar with the Asian or Asian American experience, probably know that more often than not, Asians love to emulate white/western culture.  Bigger eyes, lighter skin and hair, pointier noses.  And Asian Americans specifically tried to be more “white” to better assimilate into American culture.  So this craving to distance the group from “Asian-ness,” from being seen as foreigners, would seem to be the culprit for letting a white actress play Mulan like it was no big deal.  But of course, as with any issue related to race or intersecting identities, there is so much more to this than just wanting to be “less Asian.”  But I won’t hold you captive here.

My end game again is this — Tiana, Disney’s first black princess, is now part of many different Disney attractions and shows.  But Disney knows not to hire a white woman to play Tiana.  They would never imagine to do that (I would hope at least).  But for some reason, it’s ok to have a non-Asian play Mulan in a live show.  Do Disney and other entertainment powerhouses get away with it because Asians are the model minorities who won’t make a big fuss over it?  Maybe they figure there isn’t as much backlash to be had because many Asians have wanted to attain a certain level of “whiteness” for so long now that it’s almost second nature?

And for some reason, the only way to get something like this to change is to make a fuss over it.  To be vocal about it.  But why do we always need to rally?  It’s tiring!  I’m tired of having to point out the obvious.  But I guess what’s obvious to me, isn’t always obvious to others.  Oh how I long for the day when the people running these entertainment companies finally realize that accurate, yet diverse, portrayals and representations of POC are necessary.  Anything other than that is unacceptable.

*end rant*

ABW

Note: These comments are my own opinions and this is just what I’ve observed and encountered in my life.  Also, I understand that Disney has made huge strides, specifically in recent animated films, to be inclusive of different ethnic groups.  In this post, I am speaking specifically about the one show I watched while aboard the Disney Wonder.  This could very well have been a one time occurrence, but white actors were still used to portray Asian characters, so my opinions are based on that incident. 

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Disney Cruise: Aboard the Disney Wonder!

Disney Style, Travel

IMG_3094Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to sea we go!  A few weeks ago, I went on a Disney cruise with a group of friends and we were probably the only group of young adults without children.  I say young group of adults because there were actually older (probably retired) couples that were vacationing without children too.  AKA my life in 30ish years.

“Alisa, aren’t Disney cruises only fun for families and kids?”  On the contrary!  Yes, Disney cruises are aimed towards families, but as we learned, it is first and foremost a cruise.  Which means you still get great food and dining experiences, fun cocktails and drinks, and “adult only” areas.  All of these things just happen to have a little Disney magic sprinkled in.

So how’s a group of young adults supposed to enjoy a Disney cruise?  Well, let’s start with FOOD!

Each night we dined at a different “restaurant.”  The first night we ate at The Animator’s Palate, which honors the history of Disney animation.  You’ll find animation sketches everywhere and what once started as a still black and white drawing will then turn into a full-on colored animation by the end of the night!  Throughout the night, we were excited to keep tabs on the new changes we saw throughout the restaurant.  And to join in on the magic, we all Disney Bounded as Disney animated characters.  Erika and Vince of Village Haus were clever enough to bring a black and white outfit and then a colorful outfit to change into at the end of dinner!  So clever those two.  And spoiler alert (seriously, if you don’t want to know skip ahead now!): Sorcerer Mickey comes out in full force at the end and it was the best part of the dinner.

For our second night, we dined at Tiana’s Place, which obviously serves up tasty southern inspired dishes.  And we all decided to Disney Bound characters from The Princess and the Frog.  I probably ordered 5 courses that night, which was not ideal for my all white Mama Odie Disney Bound outfit.  And if you get a chance, take a lap around the room to see all the small details.  On one wall, there were cabinets filled with photos of Tiana’s parents, her dad’s recipe box, and various frog paraphernalia.  But again, the best part of the night was at the end of the dinner when Tiana and Louis led a fun-filled jazzy dance party!

golden mickey

Before or after dinner (depending on your scheduled seating time), be sure to catch at least one of the Broadway-style shows!  The first night was “The Golden Mickeys Live Show” in which Golden Mickeys are awarded to different Disney movies.  I assumed the usual characters would make an appearance — princesses, fab 5, maybe even Stitch and other critter characters if Disney was feeling adventurous.  But Disney threw me a massive curveball.  There was one portion of the show that featured Tarzan, Mulan, and are you ready for this…Hunchback of Notre freakin’ Dame!!  I may have cried a little while surrounded by small children that were constantly their parents who that character was that was walking funny.

And I cried not so much because they were some of my favorite movies growing up, but because it was just so great to see them represented in a show!  Quasimodo is NEVER in a show!  Just to see them get their moment in the spotlight and get recognition was somewhat emotional for me.  “Alisa, these aren’t even real people, they’re freaking animated characters.”  I knooowww, but they get validation and credit for being worthy Disney characters for once! 😭  But my tears dried up halfway through the Mulan segment.  Hopefully, more on that in a later post.

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Aside from great dining and entertainment, the Disney Wonder is full of prime instagram spots.  So for all those social media butterflies out there, you’ll love bopping around the boat getting all those cute photos.  For our group of social media enthusiasts, we were on a mission to take the most #basic Disney cruise photos.  And with the help of Taylor Jackson, we got some amazing shots and quite possibly the best basic Disney cruise photo ever.  Check out Taylor’s vlog to see how he captured these amazing photos!

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^The winner of the most basic Disney cruise photo.

Eating + entertainment + cute photo ops = fun for young adults on a Disney cruise!  And of course add a few drinks into the mix for an extra fun time. 😏🍹  But in general, you can always have a good time anywhere and anytime as long as you’re in good company!  And honestly, I think this trip was SO MUCH FUN because of the incredible people I got to experience it with.  Did I mention that I also cried during the last night of our cruise at dinner because I was so thankful for great time we had together and to just be there in that moment with all of them?  Oh, I didn’t? 😅  Well, now you know how grateful I was to be on this fun trip with these extraordinary people. 🤗  Go check them out! –> Leslie, Erika, Lindsay, VinceTaylor

ABW