A new exhibit at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in Orlando has been closed after complaints of how Disney was attempting to encourage good health habits.
The ‘Habit Heroes’ attraction had a soft launch last month, and was to officially open to the public on March 5. It is cobranded by Disney and the health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield.
According to critics, the attraction attempted to encourage healthy eating habits by humiliating ‘fat’ kids. Late last month, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance issued a statement saying:
“It appears that Disney now believes that using the tool of
shame, favored so much by today’s healthcare corporations, is the best way to
communicate with children.”
“Disney, in partnering with Blue Cross/Blue Shield to create the new Epcot
attraction and on-line game, Habit Heroes, has taken the side of the bullies. The attraction and game feature negative stereotypical characters such as “The Glutton, Overeating and eating too fast”; “Snacker, Too much fatty, processed food”; “Lead Bottom, Not enough exercise”; “Stinkbomb, Bad hygiene”; “The Fungus, Eating rotten or expired food”; “Stress Case, Stressing Out”; “The Prescriptor, Ignoring doctor’s advice” and “Cereal Killer, No time for breakfast”. The use of these stereotypes, traditionally used to torment overweight kids, will potentially reinforce and strengthen a cycle of bullying, depression, dis-ease, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts.”
The group petitioned Disney to change the attraction
Disney responded that they had heard the feedback and would delay the opening to ‘retool’ the Habit Heroes attraction.
Along with the attraction, Disney also had a Habit Heroes website at http://www.habitheroes. The site is currently ‘down for maintenance.’