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Walt Disney World Cast Members Now Using ‘Friend’ & Other Gender Neutral Terms to Promote Inclusivity

Walt Disney World Cast Members are now addressing guests as “friend,” rather than sir or ma’am in the latest effort to promote inclusivity.

The neutral “friend” moniker allows Cast Members to address individuals without assuming their gender identity. Similar changes have been made around the resort, such as the switch from “ladies and gentlemen” to “dreamers of all ages” in the pre-fireworks announcements. Some Cast Members had already elected to use “friend” when they address guests, but it has become commonplace over the last few weeks.

In 2021, Disney announced the addition of “Inclusion” as a 5th key, which serve as the guiding principles for company culture. Since then, similar changes, small and large, have been made across the corporation, and the parks have been no exception.

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The efforts span a range of demographics, making efforts to provide better representation and inclusion for active military and veterans, the Deaf community, the disabled community, and people of every race, religion, and more.

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  1. How is it inclusive to exclude the vast majority of people who identify as a man or a woman? Virtue signaling run amok yet again.

    1. I most definitely agree. It’s mostly because everyone wants to be politically correct, which is really getting out of hand.

      1. Ah, Dustin. If by politically correct, you mean inclusive, then yes, we should all want to do that.
        Also, this isn’t virtue signalling.

    2. How is it exclusive to say “friend” or “dreamers of all ages”? Are you afraid that enemies and insomniacs will feel left out? I happen to identify as male, but I certainly don’t feel excluded by these new terms. When they used to say “Ladies and gentlemen,” however, that was a different story – I couldn’t relate to either term.

    3. It’s gonna be so interesting to watch Disney (and the culture as a whole) quietly walk back some of these things when they realize how much it’s actually impacting the bottom line and customer satisfaction.

    4. How on EARTH does using terminology that basically means “everyone” NOT include people who identify as men and women?

      Whereas only saying “ladies and gentlemen” totally excludes everyone else.

      Virtue signaling my butt. What a ridiculous thing to say.

      1. I TAKES YEARS TO BECOME MY FRIEND BECAUSE I DON’T indiscrimnately THROW THE TERM AROUND TO JUST ANYONE. THEY CALL ME FRIEND, THEY WILL BE CORRECTED. SEEMS CHAPEK IS THROWING CAST MEMBERS IN THE LINE OF FIRE OVER WOKENESS. THIS WILL NOT END WELL.

    5. I don’t think this is virtue signalling, since what they’re doing will actually make a difference and help people. It would be virtue signalling if Disney themselves were advertising this change.

  2. On our last trip my little girl asked why no one called her Princess. It was really sad. I’m sorry but “friend” just doesn’t feel the same.

    1. You do realize, I hope, that it’s okay to tell someone what you prefer to be called, just as you would if they called you by the wrong name. I’m surprised you didn’t step in and steer the narrative on behalf of your daughter, which is even sadder. If I were your child, I’d be asking “Why didn’t you tell them I’m a princess? You had one job!”

    2. No one is going to stop you from calling your little girl “princess”. I call my little girl “princess” too. I’ve also called little boys with long hair “princess”, so now I have “friend” in my tool belt so that I don’t embarrass anyone. Sounds like a win-win to me.

    1. If someone calls you something you don’t prefer, you can control that narrative yourself by correcting the cast member. It’s called having a civil adult conversation. Your idea is not without merit, though, as long as it adheres to park guidelines and doesn’t offend anyone.

    2. Yes. They sell buttons with preferred pronouns.

      If you’ve not worked in a public facing job, you may not have had a moment where you’ve embarrassed yourself and the person to whom you are speaking by using the wrong honorific. It is awkward at best. Sometimes it can turn an interaction down right hostile. Try mistakenly saying “Excuse me, m’am” when coming up behind a long haired biker dude, and see how well that interaction goes.

      It’s been twenty years since I’ve worked retail, but I can remember having conversations in the stockroom about how great it would be to have a gender neutral option instead of ma’am or sir.

      1. I’m so glad that people who disagree with this are opting out of going to disney. It will end up being an even better experience for the resy of us.

  3. This is the last straw for our family. After visiting Disney quarterly for the last 8 years, sadly we have taken our last trip for a while. This unnecessary wokeness discriminates against the vast majority of guests looking to get away from precisely this in what used to be a truly magical place that would treat everyone equally. It’s human biology. The vocal minority has ruined the experience. Where does it end? The folks who now identify as birds?

    1. The fact that this is the last straw for you really shows how fragile you are. Also, woke isn’t a bad thing.

  4. Whether or not the discussion on gender is stupid. The exclusivity is awesome. What if space aliens visited and we still used such words toward them? They could be a self-replicating life form or something that required a marathon of partners for an accumulation of genetic material. I mean that is sci-fi, but using such words is inviting without stepping on toes, if we had to conform to pronouns it would be more frustrating.

  5. This offends me but since i am not a small percent of the population they would not care about me. With all of the decisions going on, I cannot keep spending thousands of dollars a year on park trips. I have been going to the parks since i was 2 (1982). I have so many memories from early trips with my grandparents, to my honeymoon, to trips now with my kids. I am very sad to say that our next trip will probably be our last. It will be ours kids last time as kids there. Man I hate this! We will say goodbye to Splash Mountain and the parks. Hopefully more people will do the same and the loss of revenue will cause them to rethink some of the woke pandering for the sake of being a great far left liberal. You can be polite and inclusive without going all the way to the left. Not everyone should change how things have been done for a small fraction.

  6. The woke nonsense that doomed Lightyear will doom everything else that comes from Disney. Chapek is a complete tool.

  7. Seems perfectly reasonable. Not making any guest feel excluded, and not forcing cast members to figure out what gendered language a person wants to hear, is the smart thing to do. As a “sir,” I have no objection being called “friend.” I actually kind of like it.

  8. Why do you all worry so much about this. Fairy Godmother in Training, friend. Who cares? This is silly outrage.

  9. To all the commenters above, please stop coming to Disney. Please stop reading Disney blogs. Please stop buying Disney merch. You seem to hate Disney so much but you never stop coming. Your hate is unwelcome here. It will be a better place for the rest of us when you stop coming.

    1. Well said. I really hope they go make a park of their own where they can exclude people all day long. Let the rest of us enjoy Disney.

  10. I completely agree with John. Why are we bowing to such a small percentage of individuals. Let them be who they are but don’t push the majority out because that is what Disney is doing. So sad 😞.

  11. Need to call me mam. That’s respect and it is princess and prince and when my granddaughter is there she should be called a princesses

  12. I will always remember being called Princess by every single cast member I interacted with when I went to the parks as a child and teen. I will thoroughly miss that small detail and can only say that Disney is starting their decline for the family aspect.

  13. I’m sorry but I find “friend” very very very very very very condescending! I’ve been talk down to enough! If I get called “friend” when I go in November, I swear to all that is holy I’m going to shout “I’m not your friend!” at the cast member. Maybe throw in “I don’t IDENTIFY as your friend” and/or “Don’t you dare talk down to me like that!”

    1. Yikes. The cast member you are going to yell at did not make this policy change. This was made in a room with a long table and people sitting around it. Not the front line cast member who is just starting their career.

  14. friend? not until chapek is gone and we are once again treated like you are supposed to treat “friends”. in a way it makes perfect sense, chapek does not treat any of us like we are “guests” anymore.

  15. What happen to what the majority of people who want to be called sir or man
    My wife and I were season pass holders, not after what Disney stands for.

    1. Disney stands for inclusivity. You and your family clearly stand for homophobia and anti trans. You’re not wanted at disney.

  16. y’all make me laugh. you’re upset because cast members are calling everyone … friends?? and are the “snowflakes” please go touch grass and find something actually pressing to be upset over.

    1. i believe quakers refer to calling everyone friend. so do you like disney promoting a certain religious group? bet that one made you go “huh”?

      1. I would actually love that, Michael. If Disney promoted a whole bunch of religious groups instead of focusing primarily on the ones that celebrate Christmas, then I would take even more delight in watching butt-hurt Christian snowflakes rant and rave in these comment threads every time someone dares utter an inclusive phrase like “happy holidays.” Have a magical day, friend!

  17. It’s gonna be so interesting to watch Disney (and the culture as a whole) quietly walk back some of these things when they realize how much it’s actually impacting the bottom line and customer satisfaction.

    1. A dream is a wish your heart makes. So keep dreaming. Business wise, excluding people is never good for the bottom line.

  18. Looks like 80 – 90 percent of the comments here support Sir / Madam / Prince / Princess. It goes beyond thinking that “Friend’ in not OK, It’s insulting to all of us who believe in the natural order of things……

    We are who we are and no amount of want will ever change that. Once people learn to accept that the world will be a better place for all. After all, this is the whole message of “It’s A Small World”. Disney should look back at their roots and see that they have lost their way.

    And to say that we hate Disney is so incorrect and such an absurd statement. I am sure many of these folks like myself have been to Disney many times and would still be going. I personally have been 20 plus times as well as purchased Walk Around the World Bricks and Leave A Legacy for my family. But sooner or later you have to make a stand for what is morally right. Their constant submission to the woke crowd has ruined what was enjoyable about Disney.

    I started out to say so much more but realized it would never get approved because it would be deemed too political. I fear it may still not be approved but I have to say what I believe is right as does everyone else.

    1. I fully agree with you Leo I put in a post or two on this but they never got printed. Most folks know what has to happen to put Disney on the track that Walt, Roy, Lillian “Walt’s wife & all the original Imaginers who help had created PERIOD !!

  19. If a CM refers to me as a “friend” I will not respond. I am not their friend. We don’t know each other. However, I am a man, so if I hear “sir” then I will turn around and respond. You do not achieve inclusion by excluding what is already there.

    1. It’s literally not excluding anyone. Your son isn’t an actual Prince and your daughter isn’t an actual princess yet they’ll still respond to Prince and Princess????

    2. Who cares? LOL. You are not hurting anyone by not engaging. They don’t really want to talk to you anyway. LOL.

  20. This comment section is a hideous state of affairs. Let me address some things:

    – Disney do a lot of things people don’t like. Disney do a lot of things people love. You’re ever so fragile if thus is the thing that stops you from going to Disney.
    – If you don’t like it, don’t go to Disney??? It’s not that hard. We’d all rather you didn’t go if you’ll end up making a scene infront of children and cast members because someone dared call you friend.
    – If you think this is virtue signalling, you don’t actually know what virtue signalling is.
    – Woke = not a bad thing.
    – This is inclusive, and in no way exclusive.
    – Your son or daughter responds to Prince and Princess even though they are neither of those things. You’re refusing to acknowledge the term friend because you’re not their friend? Makes no sense at all.
    – finally. If a kid dresses as a princess, I’m sure a cast member will a knowledge them as a princess. Because that’s literally how they’re dressed. And if they’re acknowledged as a friend, the child or adult is free to say, actually I’m a princess. Not that difficult.

    1. You need to learn proper grammar and spelling; otherwise you look uneducated and stupid.

      Also, please explain virtue signaling (that’s the correct spelling) so we all can listen and learn from the enlightened genius.

  21. I still prefer to say, “Sir” and “Ma’am,” because that is how I was raised- I was brought up with manners and my family is country and Southern. I also understand that read the room and know your audience. “Friends” is fine, but I don’t prefer it. I would rather use, “everyone.”

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