A few months ago, we let you know about Habit Heroes, a new attraction in Epcot’s Innoventions that drew intense criticism for its portrayal of those who are overweight as “villains” that must be defeated. In response to the controversy, Disney quickly closed the attraction. This week, Habit Heroes reopened, and Disney has completely revamped the attraction to make it friendlier to all guests.
To update Habit Heroes, Disney Imagineers gathered input from national experts in weight, nutrition, and children’s health, including specialists from Stanford and Cornell University. In Habit Heroes 2, a host takes groups of 12 through the attraction’s different rooms, which each contain different tasks for the group to complete. Using interactive technology, guests fight to defeat bad habits both individually and as a team.
Unlike in the previous version of Habit Heroes, the bad habits that must be defeated no longer appear as overweight humans, but rather as cartoon symbols. For example, The Sappers are depicted as life-like boulders that weigh you down and take away energy, and Scorchers are animated flames that cause dehydration. To combat these bad habits, guests fight back with water, activity, and fruits and vegetables.
Also gone are the original Habit Heroes stars, buff characters like “Will Power” and “Callie Stenics” that fought against the overweight villains in the original attraction. The overweight adolescent who starred in the first version, slowly transforming into a skinnier and fitter teen as the attraction continued, also does not appear in the new version. Instead, guests are introduced to a new character, Director Jin, and her agents Quench, Dynamo, and Fuel.
While the first Habit Heroes specifically emphasized childhood obesity, the new attraction instead makes it clear that everyone is responsible for making healthy choices. These changes have led the updated attraction to be met with a much more positive response than the original. Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, who initially criticized the attraction, says:
“We really thank Disney and Epcot for listening to our concerns. We appreciate that they heard us and took the necessary steps to tailor the message for every person, not one segment of the population.”
The revamped Habit Heroes attraction will be open each day in Epcot’s Innoventions in Walt Disney World.