Global politics and visiting Disney theme parks (careful now)

I don’t know if you American types have heard about the goings-on in Hong Kong, but basically China is being beastly to the former UK colony and people are quite cross.

Does this sort of thing factor into your holiday destination decisions? There are Disney themed parks in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. By visiting them you support the Chinese government. Would that be on your mind, or is it irrelevant?

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This is something that, for me, came up, just a couple years ago when Tron opened. I’m a big fan of the movie & the coaster looks amazing. I had resided myself that I would never get to ride it because I wouldn’t go to China due to it’s human rights violation issues.

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A few years ago I was offered a job in China. (I was head-hunted for the role. I didn’t apply.) There were a number of reasons I turned it down, but the political regime was certainly one of them.

I don’t think I could in conscience visit either the Beijing or Hong Kong parks. Besides, isn’t the Tokyo one the best one outside the US anyway?

I’ve said to myself that I’d boycott the US parks if one side won the election this year rather than the other side. But I wouldn’t. The argument to do so is too weak. And the parks are too good.

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I agree with that. I’ve seen video and photos from Shanghai Disney and it looks amazing, but I would never visit it because of the political environment in China.
I would love to visit Tokyo Disney some day.

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I never have, and probably never would, consider a trip to China or Hong Kong, mainly due to cost of getting there and back. If I was on the fence about it though, the human rights and political concerns would probably steer me away.

Unfortunately, we support their government in some way with every purchase of a crap product due to it being the cheapest. I try to be principled and buy American when I can, but I’ll be the first to admit I cave on that more than I like and end up with something inferior that’s not helping my own economy because the price tag wins out over other factors.

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Basically ditto to everything @Tall_Paul1 said. I’d like to say that I wouldn’t go because I’m standing on my principles, but it’s not even on the table for discussion because of the expense.

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This is a very difficult question and something I’ve thought about quite a bit.

There are a number of countries I don’t have interest in due to human rights issues, authoritarianism etc. I realize this might be a can of worms, but in the past few years I’ve had to ponder whether I want to travel to the US in the current political climate. In my view the US is in a crisis and that has deepend significantly with the pandemic and the way it has been handled. I’ve justified going there because it’s like a second home country (even though I no longer have family there, I used to) and also because, all politics aside, I know there are so many good people there. But then again, there are good, hard working, humane people in any country whether it’s China, Russia, Qatar or where ever, so it’s not black and white and certainly not easy to draw a line. And of course, it’s not like my choices make any actual difference, it’s just a matter of principle and moral.

Probably not wise to think aloud about this, I have zero interest in arguing politics online because it doesn’t lead anywhere :zipper_mouth_face:

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There are destinations I will not cruise to for this reason.

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A cousin is militant in her desire to protect human rights, avoid sweatshop merchandise, and save the environment. However, her adopted son is from China, so they’ve traveled back to China several times on his account.
And, yes, every trip they’ve been happy to meet wonderful people.

My personal biggest difficulty would be the length of that flight . . .

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Interesting question, so I’ll bite. The knee-jerk reaction is, “I would never…” But reality is so much more nuanced, since a country is like a person, neither all good nor all bad. The totalitarian Chinese gov’t is egregious in their mistreatment of minority factions and suppression of free society efforts, among many other shortcomings. However, China is much more: rich history and culture, spectacular natural wonders, people who thrive in spite of the limitations placed on them as well as a great many who suffer.

If one is privileged enough to experience China in person, is refusing to do so on principle punishing the gov’t more than the people? If travel, and thus the decision not to travel, is off the table; what can one do otherwise to help? (rhetorical)

Of course this discussion pertains to Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland so it’s less about cultural and nature education and more the fun and intrigue of seeing a transplanted US institution with cultural overlay. Does that make it less “worthy” of travel there? What about doing both? (rhetorical) Gray area abounds.

Though not China I’ve traveled to several countries with equally or only slightly less problematic gov’ts, originally because of work or family but with a tourism bent applied. The guilt is real, but the gains in empathy and obtaining outside perspective have outweighed the cons for me so far. I don’t know if I would visit China purely for tourism, but I would consider it.

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I have thought about this, but as with many of the others a trip to China or Hong Kong is pretty much off the table for other reasons too. However, I would consider these types of issues when deciding what country to visit. At the moment I would be far more likely to visit the Disneys in France and Japan.

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I think that travel to far flung places can encourage people to recognize that we’re all just people. (I hope that I’m not being naive here.) The more we see each other as essentially the same and the less we demonize each other, the better off we are all. For the average person, I think that benefit generally outweighs the cost of a repressive government benefitting from travel dollars.

For someone in a high profile position (major politician, celebrity, etc.), their actions carry more impact, so I would think they would weigh the political implications of their travel more carefully.

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I agree. I learned so much backpacking across Europe when I was younger. You do realize that we are all essentially the same, with minor differences. You can’t learn about people and cultures in a book. You need to experience it. That said, there are countries that I wouldn’t travel to because of political or cultural reasons. Some countries aren’t really safe unless you are with a local or a group of some sort. I’d love to visit China, but I don’t know that I want to travel there with the current government in power. Plus, if the focus is on visiting other Disney parks I’d prefer to visit Tokyo since it appears to be one of the best parks.

Not really. Because, frankly, I don’t foresee myself traveling outside the United States (other than to Canada, which is a 40 minute drive away). The fact is, there is so much left of our beautiful country that I haven’t seen still (despite having been to over 30 of the states), and many of those places that I have seen I have a desire to return to.

So, as much as I might think there are cool things about other parts of the world, including Disney parks…I expect that I’ll be quite satisfied in “my own backyard” for the remainder of my lifetime.

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Another :heart: from me. You’re on a roll, @ryan1.

I like the idea of seeing certain things around the world, but then I look at the US map and see so much here I still want to see.

ETA I do hope to continue cruising. But that generally feels like my own backyard bc we drive to the ports. And I still will avoid certain itineraries.

In theory yes, these sort of thing factors into my travel decisions.

But when I had the opportunity to attend a conference (all expenses paid, but more of a perk then a job necessity) in a country I swore I would never visit for political reasons… It took me 2 seconds to say yes.

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I’ve been to Hong Kong several times, and I’ve also been to mainland China (although not to Shanghai). If I could afford to go to either, the politics would not stop me. I’d be more likely to go to Shanghai than Hong Kong as I’ve never been there, and SDL looks like it has a lot more to offer than HKDL. But I would probably go to Tokyo before either. I’ve been to TDL 25 years ago, but there is now so much more to see (can you say Disney Seas?). And truth be told, I would probably go to Paris before any of the Asian locations.

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As soon as I saw the title of this thread … I knew you were back. Or never left? :slight_smile:

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I don’t have any experience with the Hong Kong issue but more closer to home, I know I will never, ever visit sea world because of the whales in captivity there.

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I’m with you 100% there.

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