A Disney Park Guest recently bemoaned multiple instances of religious displays at a Disney Park, expressing surprise that Disney would allow it.
Walt Disney intended the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort to be an experience that people from all over the world of all faiths could enjoy. For this reason, the Disney Parks make an effort for celebrations and traditions from all over the world to be celebrated. In fact, Christmas celebrations at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure remain mostly secular, with a few exceptions, such as the beloved Candlelight Processional. The Central Florida Walt Disney World Resort and its four Theme Parks are much the same. Think about EPCOT’s celebrations.
However, it’s difficult to entirely avoid interactions with religion in Disneyland Resort, and this is because Guests often come face to face with religious proselytizers. In the past, Guests have encountered Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian proselytizers. Disney Park fans discussed this and their encounters with these groups recently.
u/advil0 took to Reddit to share their frustrations at the scene,
What’s up with the religious table stands in downtown Disney today?
Saw one that had a “Bible pop quiz” and another for Jehovahs Witnesses, seems odd that Disney would allow this
While many Guests in the comments stated they’d seen groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses doing this for years, it came to light this was due to the protection of free speech due to the 1980s Supreme Court case (Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins) which determined that discriminately preventing public campaigning or proselytizing at private shopping centers is a violation of free speech in the state of California.
u/HKittyH3 explained that Downtown Disney is considered a public place since it doesn’t require an admission ticket, and the reason this can’t happen in the Disney Park is that buying a ticket for admission also includes an agreement to Park policies. “They can’t do it inside the park, because there are conditions when you purchase a ticket that you agree to regarding behavior. Since admission isn’t required to enter DTD they have to allow everyone equal access, and cannot disallow protected speech.”
Reddit user u/ComfortableMess3145 chimed in, “When we were staying back in September, a sky writer was writing about how we need to allow Jesus into our hearts or something like that. It annoyed me because I’m there to just forget the real world exists, I don’t need some jerk preaching to me.” Some, like u/whiskey_north even called it a “buzz kill.”
However, not all Guests felt this way, and some expressed an appreciation for the protection of free speech. “I used the be a JW so seeing them doesn’t bring the fondest memories, but I appreciate the fact that people can peacefully share their ideas in a public space,” u/Millennial_Man added.
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