The Magic Kingdom is doing its best to maintain as much of its magic as possible. In the face of the continued spread of the Zika virus, particularly in Miami and nearby areas of Florida, Walt Disney World has begun displaying signs around its Orlando park aimed at educating guests in mosquito prevention–the virus’s principle vehicle. Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Florida are executing similar preventative measures, offering complimentary mosquito repellant to any guest that requests it. The word Zika itself, however, is interestingly absent from Disney’s signage.
According to Gizmodo, none of the educational signs placed throughout these parks make direct reference to the virus, which has been shown to cause severe birth defects when contracted by pregnant women, despite being the very impetus for the displays. This omission is understandable from a marketing perspective: no theme park, especially one that maintains a make-believe construct such as Disney World wishes to promote any association with a potentially debilitating illness.
Tourism represents an enormous chunk of the Sunshine State’s economy, and Florida Governor Rick Scott is reportedly in talks with many of the area’s theme parks about how best to handle the Zika situation. One of Governor Scott’s representatives told The Orlando Sentential that he had “held multiple conference calls with Visit Florida and tourism leaders to make them aware of things they can do.”
Despite the word’s absence from signage and statements released by the parks, Disney did address the disease by name on its website’s FAQ section, offering CDC-approved tips to help diminish the virus’s spread.