Preserving the Disney Parks Characters.

So if you’re in the Disney fandom on Tumblr, you’re probably aware of the recent “Peter Pandom” boom. If you’re not, allow me to explain.

Recently (like, over the last week or so), there has been a total crazy obsession with the face character Peter Pan from the Disney Parks. I noticed it on my own Tumblr page, as I gained about 20 new followers and my Peter-related posts blew up. The Peter Pandom has been born.

But there’s an issue with this fandom that extends far beyond the people who say “I want to f*ck the Peter Pan face character” (I don’t even want to touch that comment because it’s so sickening). The issue of character integrity is comprimised throughout the fandom.

For those of you who are unaware, there is only ONE of each character in the Disney parks. There are many “friends” of each character, but there is one Peter Pan. There is one Ariel. There is one Cinderella. There is one Snow White. There is one Mickey Mouse, and there is one Minnie Mouse. The list goes on.

These characters are not actors playing characters. The characters you meet ARE the characters. If you’ve ever interacted with a Disney parks character, you know this. It’s the reason why, when I met Peter Pan, he was batting the leaves on the trees and was jumping from topic to topic. It’s the reason why he didn’t know what the picture was on the front of my Neverland passport — a picture of Classic Peter from JM Barrie’s novel. It’s the reason why he was nervous around the little girl behind me, who was dressed as a pirate. He was Peter Pan.

One of the blogs I follow posted a Buzzfeed article this morning, entitled 14 Reasons The Peter Pans At Disneyland Are The Most Adorable Thing Ever. And I’m going to give you a few reasons why this article got it completely wrong.

1. “The Peter Pans.”
No. Just no. There is one Peter Pan. Not multiple “Peter Pans.”

2. The use of the word “they” throughout the article.
(This kind of goes along with #1, but whatever.)
The reasons the author list pretty much all start with “They.” “They” do this. “They” do that. “They” are so cute. No, Buzzfeed, HE does this. He does that. He is so cute.

3. The first reason on Buzzfeed’s list: “They stay in character in really cute ways.”
Again, HE. Not THEY. But besides that… he is Peter Pan, he’s not going to act any other way. He’s not going to be out of character.

One of the other big problems, which thankfully the article doesn’t use, is the use of nicknames to differentiate the “Peters.” Right now, Peter Pan is labeled primarily as Acorn Pan and Huggy Pan in Disneyland. There was also Spieling Peter.

Readers, I understand the whole “friends of the characters” idea. And you should too. This is real life, and real life isn’t pixie dusted. But Disney’s vision is character integrity, and the use of nicknames to differentiate the friends of Peter, and also that Buzzfeed article, violate that character integrity.

I found this awesome story on Tumblr, and I figured I’d sum up my post by sharing it with you:

Traditions – Character Integrity.
So we all know that there’s only one Mickey Mouse. That’s a given. Now sometimes, there will be guests that ask a character attendant how many Mickey’s there are. In that situation, some people give up after they hear “There’s only one Mickey Mouse, and he’s 83 years old!” Others, not so easily.

One story I heard in Traditions today involved one such guest. Jennafer (yes, with an ‘a’) told us the story of when she was training a character attendant who was approached by a curious guest. It went something like this:

“So, how many Mickey’s are there?”

“There’s just one sir, and he’s been around since 1928!”

“No, how many Mickey’s are there really?”

“There’s really just one, sir!”

“That’s not possible. We opened Animal Kingdom today and saw him, we saw him in the parade, we saw him in the Dream Along With Mickey Show, he caught us outside Splash Mountain, and now he’s here! That’s at least 5 Mickeys and I wanted to ask you how many there are!”

“Well sir, I’m glad you found us, because I was talking to Mickey and he said he saw you this morning at Animal Kingdom, he waved at you during the parade, could see you from the stage show and remembered seeing you outside of Splash, so he wanted me to ask you how many of YOU there are!”

One of the best stories I’d ever heard. That’s what it’s about, people.

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3 thoughts on “Preserving the Disney Parks Characters.

  1. Bailey DeLane Ramirez says:

    Hi! I have actually seen and run into various Ariels, Cinderellas, Captain Hooks. I have always had something with Acorn Peter. He knew me. He knew my name. We had ice cream together because it was a dream. I heard he left and ive been crying weeks on end. There are other Peters like Huggy Pan and Acorn around Disneyland. Even in the parades. Ive seen plenty of different Peters. But none of them will ever be Acorn and none of them will ever have a special place in my heart like Acorn does. Email me

    • Bailey — I hope this post did not take away from your experience. When I wrote it, I was responding to a large volume of people on Tumblr who were ruining the magic within the parks in front of guests. It got out of hand. I met Acorn Peter over the summer and he was absolutely wonderful. I’m glad you’ve had such a great experience meeting him. 🙂

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