Earlier this year, Disney Princess fans were caught off guard when popular characters Mulan and Pocahontas debuted new looks at Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, respectively. And while fans were mostly ambivalent about Mulan’s new look (which was “inspired” by her matchmaker outfit, but doesn’t really resemble anything specifically seen in the film) many were very upset by Pocahontas’ new outfit, which swapped her iconic blue necklace (which the film says is a gift from her mother) for a plain white seashell necklace that was "inspired" by the hand-made look of traditional Native American jewelry. 

However, though these previous changes were met with some annoyance from character fans, Disney quietly made another character change last week that set off the biggest firestorm of controversy yet...

Introducing the newly redesigned Princess Jasmine

Image: Laura W.

During the inaugural Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party last week, fans were able to meet a brand new, redesigned Princess Jasmine in Adventureland. This princess' new look swaps her trademark billowy blue pants and crop top with a full-body dress that features a high neck, long sleeves, and goes all the way down to the floor. The dress also includes a jeweled bust accent, a gold belt and glittering embroidery throughout. In addition to the costume overhaul, Jasmine’s hair also seems to have gotten a bit of a redesign, as she now has small flyaway bangs. 

Obviously, this new look is unlike any that we have ever seen before at Disney parks or in any of the Aladdin films. So why would Disney make one of its most popular characters less recognizable? 

Character integrity vs. cultural norms

Image: Steven & Courtney Johnson & Horwitz Follow, Flickr (license)

Though Disney doesn’t make official comments on character redesigns, attendants and Cast Members have been telling curious guests that ask about Jasmine’s new look that this redesign was created to help the character look more like the culture she represents. However, the glaring issue with this is of course, that Princess Jasmine doesn’t officially represent any specific culture, since she is from Agrabah, a fictional land. And though the lines between fact and fiction have been blurred quite a bit recently (Anna and Elsa are clearly from Arendelle, but somehow represent Norway at Epcot), the fact remains that until the land of Agrabah is real, there’s no official dress that is associated with this fictional land. Now while Pocahontas and Mulan come from a very real place, Jasmine does not, which is why this redesign is even more perplexing.



I don't personally feel that modesty would be very important, because these movies are made for kids, but the agrabah is meant to be Indian, and so I do like that they are fixing cultural appropriation. About the modesty thing, there are kids wearing two piece swim suits, so...

I don't think there will be any more costume changes. The final three costume changes are just finishing what WDI started when they changed the costumes of the first five princesses. And all these redesigns are done to match the 2013 overhaul of the whole lineup. For instance, Pocahontas's new outfit matches exactly her 2013 drawing redesign, and Mulan's dress is the same except it's pink instead of green. Anyways, even though it makes the princesses unrecognizable, I find Mulan more "true Chinese" and less Korean looking in her last dress. And though Jasmine's new outfit is really hideous, I'm glad they actually spent the money to redesigning these princesses; that means they're planning to make them still have regular meet-n-greets. After all Pocahontas pretty much vanished till this redesign.

I am a woman and I'm very happy to see this change. I teach my daughter to dress modestly so I'm glad to see that Jasmine's midriff will be covered. I'm sure it's much more comfortable for the CMs as well. And by the way, I'd like to see all characters fully clothed, including Tarzan. A "no cleavage" rule would be great too. I believe in keeping all fruit in the loom.

Leave the Princesses alone and give the poor cast members some new updated costumes. Our first trip was in 2004, most recent this year. Minimal, if any change, in some of the costumes, especially for the food service cast members in resorts.

FYI - if it has not already been mentioned in the comments these princess redesigns have been going on slowly for the last 2 years. Cinderella was one of the first to get a new look back in 2014 I believe. Belle, Aurora, Snow White and Ariel have been updated already. It seems that Pocahontas and Mulan were updated this year, with Jasmin being the most recent. Maybe they saved her for last because her change was so drastic!

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