Disney World’s ‘Welcome Back’ Video Drew Comparisons To Horror Movies As The Park Officially Reopened

Disney World in Orlando opened up on Saturday, one of two Disney parks that saw paying customers for the first time in nearly four months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For those desperate to distract themselves from the daily realities of rising case counts and death tolls, it was welcome news. But many saw the parks reopening in Florida amid skyrocketing infections across the South as an unsettling dismissal of medical and safety advice.

As CNN reported, the sights and sounds from inside the park were certainly different as safety measures like plexiglass, social distancing measures and mask use try to combat rising COVID-19 cases in the region where the self-described “happiest place on Earth” resides. Videos showed the usually packed park with sparse groups of people in masks, and reports of short ride waits were everywhere. Many tweeted videos of masked employees waving to guests as they shuffle through a very different park than existed before coronavirus.

A recording also reminded people to wear masks, and video of it echoing through a mostly empty park quickly went viral.

The New York Times has a good on-the-scene report as well, highlighting the efforts the park has made to control reporting on the reopening from inside the park, the reaction from union employees who are returning to work as well as enthusiasm from its patrons.

“We will take any amount of normalcy and any amount of joy that we can get,” Jose Villanueva said as he rested in the shade in Tomorrowland with his wife, Kacie. “I know that some people are upset about having to wear a mask or there being no fireworks. For us, we feel lucky to be here. This was the first thing that made us feel like we could leave our house and still feel safe.”


“It’s Disney,” Ms. Villanueva said. The couple made the trek to Florida from their home in Laurinburg, N.C.

But what got most of the attention online as Disney reopened was a video of employees welcoming guests back to the park for the first time in nearly four months. First shared on the @DisneyParksJobs account, it showed various employees readying the park and welcoming people back while wearing masks.

The video was discussed so widely on Twitter that it was deleted, though as of this posting it was still available on Instagram. Many described it as unsettling and it quickly became a meme of sorts, with people adding effects to the video to make it more like a horror film trailer.

Adding “Mad World” and some black and white filters really drives the point home.

The music from pretty much any horror movie works here.

Even Midsommar, which does fit thematically in a way.

The A24 vibe was certainly picked up by a lot of people.

Here’s The Shining, if you need it.

And Saw.

Others simply changed the video to say “stay home” instead of “welcome back.”

Inside the park, though, there were plenty of happy people who traveled a long way to get their Disney fix. Not everyone, however, was convinced that was the best idea right now.