Skip to content

Abigail Disney Documentary ‘The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales’ Premieres at Sundance

Abigail Disney - Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Michael Angelo.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Michael Angelo

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, debuted her new documentary she co-directs with Kathleen Hughes, “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

She says the film came about after an employee at Disneyland sent her a message about working conditions at the park in 2018. She started investigating on her own, talking to more cast members, and the idea for the film was born.

Abigail Disney - The American Dream
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Narrated by Disney, as well as featuring her onscreen most of the time, “American Dream and Other Fairy Tales” finds her fondly recalling memories such as visiting the park with her grandfather who picked up a piece of garbage, telling her “nobody’s too good to pick up a piece of garbage.”

She also delves into more recent changes from Michael Eisner to Bob Iger to now-CEO Bob Chapek with less fondness.

I haven’t seen the documentary, but in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote it, Disney says, “Bob Chapek was the guy who presided over all of the changes at Disneyland and Disney World that we’re talking about in this film — dynamic scheduling, a euphemism for jerking them around so they can’t get a second job and they never make 40 hours a week and they don’t qualify for health care. Taking a department of 250, shaving it to 200 and expecting them all to do the same work in the same amount of time. There are a thousand ways they’ve been cutting costs, and much of it came from Bob Chapek and under his command.”

Abigail Disney - The American Dream - Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Michael Angelo

Reviews from critics who have seen it are mixed, with some saying she doesn’t dig deep enough, like Deadline which says, the film “proves to be less an exercise for social and economic justice and more a vanity exercise with talking heads.”

But when it becomes more available to watch, I’d be interested in seeing her take on The Walt Disney Company then and now.

Will you watch it when it becomes available to the public? Let us know in the comments.