Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of Roy Disney. Walter and Roy started the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. The multi-million-dollar company wants to make the world a better place. But Abigail wants the employees working at the Disney Theme Parks to have a better life.
In a TED talk, Abigail uses the Disney character of Jiminy Cricket as an analogy to show how the company lost its conscience. She recounts how rank and file employees could “expect to own a home, raise a family, access decent health care, and retire with some security.”
Then, after 1971, she says that Economist Milton Friedman “showed Jiminy Cricket the door with the idea of Shareholder Primacy, a mindset that jumped the rails.”
She thought long and hard about the ordinary people who work at Disney. “How are they getting by?” she thought. One day she met with a focus group to learn more about the life of Disney employees.
Like other humongous companies, Disney attracts dedicated employees who love their job. By and large, though, most employees are unable to meet basic human needs. So Abigail, a documentary filmmaker, is voicing her opinion much to the dismay of her family.
Fairy tales are not real but they are used to teach lessons. Jiminy Cricket is used to teach children about conscience. With her documentary, Abigail implies that The American Dream is just another fairy tale.
Who is Abigail Disney, and what does she want to change at Disney Theme Parks?
How did Abigail use the Disney character of Jiminy Cricket in her TED talk?
What did employees at Disney Theme Parks used to be able to expect in terms of their lives and careers?
Who founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, and when did they start the company?
What is the meaning of the word “conscience,” and how does it relate to Abigail’s talk?
What is the meaning of the phrase “rank and file employees,” and how is it used in the story?
What is the meaning of the phrase “retirement security,” and why is it important for workers?
What is the meaning of the word “analogy,” and how did Abigail use it in her talk?
Have you ever been to a Disney Theme Park? If so, which one, and what did you think of it?
Do you agree with Abigail Disney’s views on improving working conditions for theme park employees? Why or why not?
Who is your favorite Disney character, and why do you like them?
Have you ever given a TED talk or seen one? What did you think of Abigail’s talk?
If you had the power to change one thing about your workplace, what would it be?
What are some ways you think companies can improve their employees’ quality of life?
Have you ever been part of a labor union or seen one in action? What was your experience like?
If you could work for any company in the world, which one would it be, and why?
What do you think the phrase “retirement security” means, and why is it important?
Do you think companies have a responsibility to be socially conscious and make the world a better place? Why or why not?
What is your favorite Disney movie, and why do you like it?
Have you ever met anyone famous or come from a famous family, like Abigail Disney? If so, what was it like?