The lovable bear from the Hundred Acre Woods could be saying goodbye to Shanghai Disney due to political disputes, according to Josh Young from Theme Park University.
The current Chinese President, Xi Jinping, had been compared to Winnie the Pooh in an attempt to mock him. The saying “chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” didn’t help when the association from Pooh transferred to Jinping after a photo of Barack Obama and Jinping was compared to one of Pooh and Tigger. Although it seems like an innocent joke, communist China has censored any mention of Pooh from social media due to it being used to make fun of Jinping.
With Shanghai Disneyland having two attractions dedicated to Winnie the Pooh, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Pooh’s Hunny Pot Spin could be rethemed or removed completely in order to comply with the strict censorship in the country. This censorship would also remove character meet and greets as well as merchandise from the Hundred Acre Woods.
The Chinese government and Shanghai Shendi, the company that owns Shanghai Disneyland, has apparently already been working on making attempts to remove Pooh for awhile and it is possible that they will be successful. Although it’s uncertain how much Winnie the Pooh will be removed, you can expect to see less of him in the park in the future.
China has already been censoring other forms of media featuring Pooh and friends. Christopher Robin was banned from cinemas in China. China does have a limit on how many films can be released there from foreign countries, but a film based around Winnie the Pooh would have certainly been banned regardless.
Winnie the Pooh was also censored from the latest Kingdom Hearts game. Now when Sora returns to the Hundred Acre Woods, a world in which the main character has visited in many other versions of the game, Pooh will simply be portrayed as a white orb, as shown above. The characters can still interact with Pooh as if he was there, but the bear will not visually be present.