Habit Heroes Closes Amid Controversy

You may recall a story we brought you in February highlighting Epcot's newest exhibit, Habit Heroes. Turns out, a whole lot of people had a whole lot to say about the attraction, and not all of it was high praise.

Habit Heroes was designed to give guests an interactive experience that focused on healthy habits and choices for a healthier lifestyle. In it, guests could help heroes Callie Stenics and Will Power battle such villains as Snacker and Lead Bottom. Sounds good, right?

Apparently, not everyone sees the exhibit in a positive light. The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance had a less-than-favorable response to the Epcot-based attraction. A statement from the association said, "Disney, a traditional hallmark of childhood happiness and joy, has fallen under the shadow of negativity and discrimination." The statement went on to say the exhibit utilized "shame" to speak to guests, especially children. Also according to the association, "Disney in partnering with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, has taken the side of the bullies."

Habit Heroes also drew the ire of a Canadian bariatric surgeon. In his blog, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff wrote this response to the Innoventions exhibit: ""A little Dance, Dance Revolution and some broccoli spears ought to clear everything up, right? Here's to Disney's reinforcing society's most hateful negative obesity stereotyping."

Insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield, who partnered with Disney for the exhibit, had this to say about the attacks on Habit Heroes:

Our goal is to ensure that the attraction conveys a positive message about healthy lifestyles in a fun and empowering way. To work on further improving and refining the experience, the attraction is closed for the time being. We look forward to officially opening it soon.

Disney has also added the exhibit was in what is deemed a "soft opening," a period in which guest feedback can be gathered and incorporated into the attraction before an official opening.

In addition, the exhibit's website has also been closed for maintenance.

At this time, there is no official word on if or when an official opening of Habit Heroes will occur. We'll keep you posted on any further developments with the exhibit.

Story Source

Loye wrote on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 15:16:

Loye's picture

We experienced the exhibit during the soft opening. I saw nothing offensive about the attraction, and I'm about 70 pounds overweight! While I believe rational people agree that discrimimation for any reason, (overweight, race, religion, etc.) is wrong, I didn't feel that I was being "made fun of" at all. It was fun, actually. The message I got was: move more, eat healthy. That was it.

Everyone looks for an opportunity to jump on Disney. As far as children go, YOU are the parent. YOU have the greatest influence in their lives. If you choose to whine, they will learn to whine. If you choose to try to improve your health, they will want to improve their health.

I can't wait for the exhibit to open again!

crazycatperson wrote on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 19:31:

crazycatperson's picture

I guess the message should be that eating right and exercising are important to improve or maintain good health regardless of what you look like or how much you weigh. There are plenty of overweight people who eat the right foods, don't overeat, and exercise regularly, and there are also plenty of skinny couch potatoes who eat crap. As long as the exhibit focuses on good health, I can't imagine many overweight people will find it offensive.

nikamel wrote on Sat, 03/03/2012 - 00:27:

I am also about 70lbs over weight and this does not offend me at all. Healthy eating and physical activity is taught in schools and should be a part of everyone's life. Really if you are feeling shamed about how you look then it is time to do something about it. I have by healthy eating and exercise...hmmm wait isn't that what the attraction is telling me to do. Oh and as for the bariatric surgeon...isn't making people skinny by artificial means what he is paid to do? Imagine how much business he would loose if he actually supported healthy choices.

Daryl D. wrote on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 18:45:

Daryl D.'s picture

What's next??? Is P.E.T.A. gonna show up and say WDW is enslaving Mickey Mouse and the gang and exploiting them for profit???
I will say this though, every time i've visited WDW i've actually LOST weight....it must be all the healthy food alternatives and the walking???
I'm fat and was by no means offended.....hey folks, let's not forget this is the "happiest place on earth"

ako wrote on Sun, 03/25/2012 - 11:30:

ako's picture

I don't think I could ever get sick of Disney and the parks themselves mesylf, but the one thing I think I could get sick of is the crowds. Until we had annual passes a year ago and finally got to take our time wandering the parks I realized how stressful going to the parks can be for some families. We knew we were coming back and didn't try to cram everything into 4-5 days or a long weekend of non-stop park open to park close days. To many people, that's their vision of visiting Disney: the stress, the cramming, the crowds interfering with plans, and the aftermath of a tired family that may need another vacation after coming home from this one. When you have the luxury of returning on a regular basis, the stress is gone, the parks, to me at least, get to be so much more enjoyable.The crowds can be annoying though. The seas of people can be stressful, and as a former customer service rep. I know that people just plain suck sometimes and there's nothing that can be done about it. The crowds are all I could ever get sick of, and honestly, after a while we learned how to avoid them pretty well. Anyways, I can see why people always seem to say that, but I'll never be sick of the parks either!

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