Plows, who’s originally from New Zealand, cares so much because Disney is a huge part of her life; she and her wife held an “Up”-themed wedding and named their dog Loki after the character from Disney’s Marvel franchise.
It took only one trip to the park at age 7 to convince her that one day she’d be “the manager of Disneyland.” As an adult, she chose to move to Los Angeles in no small part because of its proximity to Disneyland.
When she was struggling to adjust to life in L.A., Plows’ therapist recommended getting an annual pass; every time Plows would go to a session after a weekend at the park, the therapist noticed she seemed more at ease, almost buoyed by the experience until the next visit to Anaheim.
“I think going to the park resets my nervous system. It’s a safe space,” Plows said. “You go there and you can hold hands with your partner. I’m someone who’s kind of afraid to do that in the real world because I never know what people are thinking.”
“You never know if you’re going to be judged or a victim of a hate crime in some way,” Plows said. “At Disneyland, you feel like everyone who’s there is in a safe environment and everyone is loving toward their neighbor.”
When Plows found out about Disney’s donation to “Don’t Say Gay” bill proponents, she was so disappointed she unsubscribed from Disney+, the company’s streaming service, and canceled her subscription to ESPN, which the company owns.
She and her wife were waiting until the COVID-19 situation improved before getting passes again, but she also put those plans on hold; divesting in Disney even on a personal level could pack a punch, she thought.
“Gay people are everywhere at Disneyland ― and not just on Gay Days,” Plows said, referring to the multi-day unofficial “holiday” at the parks when LGBTQ+ Disney fans meet up.
“And these are gay people with, quite frankly, a lot of disposable income that we spend at Disney,” she said. “We’re one of the most loyal customer fan bases, so this recent controversy was a big misstep.”
A week later, Plows said she was relieved by Chapek’s change of course and announcement that the company would stop donations to political campaigns in the state of Florida. Moving forward, she’d prefer they stop contributing to either Republican or Democratic legislators if could avoid controversies like this again.
But this recent political debacle ― along with less-than-satisfactory conditions at the park since the pandemic ― has him debating renewing his Magic Key this year. (The Magic Key is Disneyland’s new reservation-based annual pass program in Anaheim. Since the program was introduced in August 2021, many Magic Key holders have complained that they’ve been blocked out in favor of daily-pass buyers.)