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The Incredibles The Incredibles

As the Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Florida, begin their phased reopening this weekend, a superhero family will be used prominently to remind visitors of the park’s pandemic-era rules.

The set of graphics (below) features the Parrs family and their colleagues from Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles. The characters ask visitors to check their temperature, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently, and wear a mask. Ironically, none of the characters are wearing masks covering their mouth and nose, which is a current requirement for visiting the park.

Disney has indicated that it’ll be expanding this campaign with additional graphics. The campaign will eventually be deployed at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Disneyland Paris.

The bigger question that remains though is whether the Disney World Resort should be opening at a time when coronavirus infections are out of control throughout the state of Florida and tens of thousands of people in the state are testing positive for the virus every week. Many U.S. governors badly miscalculated the trajectory of the virus by re-opening their states too quickly in May and June, and residents of those states are now paying a heavy price. In Florida, over 50 intensive care units reached capacity yesterday, and dozens of other hospitals in the state are reporting ICU bed availability of 10% or less.

If the Disney World reopening ends up contributing to the spread of coronavirus, there will be many questions afterward about why the company chose to reopen its theme parks at the height of a pandemic. And quirky promotional campaigns like this one that use Disney characters to trivialize the severity of real-life pandemic could diminish the likeability of the characters. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but let’s just hope the Parrs don’t become the embodiment of that quote from another superhero franchise: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

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Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.