I have long contended that Disney is a cult, much to the consternation of my husband’s family, who are all fully indoctrinated members. I’ve spent well over a decade observing their obsessions like Jane Goodall studying apes, trying to understand how a giant anthropomorphic mouse can wield so much power over exceptionally intelligent human beings, and though I’ve come up with plenty of theories, I still do not have concrete answers. Cult members are possessed by something they call “The Magic of Disney” that has compelled them to pledge unwavering fealty—and a large chunk of their disposable income—to a $122 billion corporation.
Within the Cult of Disney are sub-cults: factions that worship very specific elements of the Disney experience, like the famous Dole Whip served in its theme parks. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these cults, and this past week I’ve learned of another one to add to my informal anthropological research: the soba noodles served at ’Ohana, a restaurant inside Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort.
It seems that Disney’s powers are so extreme that even a simple dish of soba noodles in pineapple teriyaki sauce can be used as a form of mind control, because when the noodles disappeared from the recently reopened restaurant’s menu, the internet completely lost its collective shit.
Within hours of Disney posting the restaurant’s limited post-pandemic menu, #Ohana was trending on Twitter. The Disney blogosphere went into hyperdrive. Petitions were circulated. Angry op-eds were written. Over noodles. NOODLES. Apparently these noodles are so popular, they even have fan-made t-shirts!
Fortunately, before the world was burned to ashes, Disney Parks announced via TikTok that the noodles were back on the menu. It remains unknown if Disney made this decision because of public pressure or for alternate reasons posited by people on the internet.
So what’s even in these noodles that makes them so damn special? According to a recipe found on a Disney fansite, the famous ’Ohana soba noodles are mixed with shredded cabbage and bok choy, then tossed in a sauce made of sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and pineapple juice. I have to admit is sounds good, but still, was all the outrage quite necessary here? If that’s not proof there’s something more sinister at play at The House of Mouse, I don’t know what is.