Why Does North Korea Hate Disney World

Economic Reasons

North Korea has always had a strained relationship with the United States and western culture in general. But when it comes to Disney World specifically, it seems to be more about the money than anything else. Disney World is one of the most recognized and profitable entertainment brands in the world, and North Korea is resentful of the success. According to a study conducted in 2020 by the United Nations, the average household income in North Korea is one of the lowest in the world. This is a direct result of the intense isolationist and repressive policies of the country’s government, which have driven the economy into a state of stagnation and poverty.
When the people of North Korea see the lush and vibrant landscape of Disney World, it only serves to remind them of their own destitution. As a result, they have grown to resent the success of Disney World, and by extension, their wealthier western counterparts.
In addition, North Korean officials have been known to be highly suspicious of Disney World, as it is completely outside their control. Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, also reportedly has a deep-seated fear of anything related to western culture or technology. This fear of outside influence has made Disney World into a pariah in North Korean culture, and has resulted in the continuous animosity towards The Walt Disney Company and its products.

Political Reasons

North Korea has long viewed the United States and the West as an existential threat to their regime. As a result, the country’s leaders have taken a very hard stance against western ideals, particularly those associated with large corporate-controlled entities like Disney World. To North Korean officials, the fact that Disney World is owned by a vast international conglomerate makes it even more threatening. Furthermore, it is seen as a symbol of America’s global dominance, which many in North Korea view as a direct attack on their own sovereignty.
The presence of Disney World in neighboring South Korea only serves to further fuel North Korea’s resentment. Not only can South Korean citizens freely visit and enjoy their own Disney resorts, but they also have direct access to a wealth of imported western goods and services. This only serves to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world, and North Korean leaders view any connection with the “capitalist“ world as a direct threat to their regime.

Cultural Reasons

In addition to the political and economic motivations behind North Korea’s animosity towards Disney World, there are also cultural reasons. North Korean culture is deeply rooted in traditional beliefs and values, which have been largely ignored in the modern world. This is in stark contrast to the values espoused by mainstream western culture, which are greatly represented at Disney World.
The traditional values held by North Korean citizens are based on collectivism, loyalty to the state, and absolute devotion to the leaders of the government. These values directly conflict with the individualistic, democratic values of western culture, which is one of the main sources of tension between North Korea and Disney World.
In addition, Disney World is home to a variety of characters, stories, and themes that have been banned by the North Korean government. Since Disney World was built on the foundations of western culture, this allows the government to place further restrictions on its citizens in the form of censorship and propaganda.

Media Reasons

The North Korean government is keenly aware of the immense influence of the western media, particularly the Walt Disney Company. Over the years, The Walt Disney Company has used its vast marketing and media empire to spread western values to all corners of the globe. This has resulted in a growing cultural divide between North Korea and the rest of the world, with North Koreans growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of access they have to the same merchandise, films, and services as the rest of the world.
Furthermore, Disney World is a frequent target of North Korean propaganda. The government has used the presence of Disney World in Seoul, as well as its immense global reach, as an example of America’s growing influence in the region. This has placed additional strain on North Korea’s international relations, and has resulted in a further deterioration of the country’s relationship with the United States.

Military Reasons

The North Korean government has traditionally espoused a military-first policy, which has resulted in a series of aggressive military activities by the country in recent years. This includes multiple missile tests, which have been directed towards both South Korea and the United States. These tests have caused a tremendous amount of tension among the world’s superpowers, and have exacerbated the already strained relations between North Korea and the West.
The presence of Disney World in both South Korea and the United States only serves to further complicate matters. The North Korean government has openly denounced the construction of Disney World Parks in both countries, viewing them as symbols of American imperialism and excessive capitalism. Furthermore, the specter of a potential retaliatory military action by the United States has lead many North Korean citizens to view Disney World as a symbol of western aggression.

Sentimental Reasons

Despite the political, economic, and military divisions between North Korea and the West, there are still many North Koreans who have a deep appreciation for Disney World. Many North Korean citizens have grown up on Disney films, television shows, and merchandise. They have developed a strong emotional connection to the characters and stories of these films, which has led to a genuine fondness for Disney products, despite their resentment for the company as a whole.
This complicated relationship with Disney products affects the way North Koreans view Disney World. On one hand, it serves as a reminder of the country’s isolation from the rest of the world, but on the other hand, it provides a sense of comfort and familiarity. This confusion of emotions is the root cause of the ongoing animosity between North Korea and Disney World, and will likely continue to be a source of tension between the two countries for many years to come.

Political Ideology

Political ideology is another major factor in the conflict between North Korea and Disney World. North Korea’s distrust of western ideals has been a source of tension between the two countries for years. Leaders in North Korea view Disney World as a Trojan horse for capitalism and imperialism, and have grown increasingly hostile towards the presence of a massive western entertainment giant in the region.
Additionally, North Korea’s government is guided by a principle of absolute loyalty to the state, and its methods of governance are often seen as repressive and authoritarian. Disney World, on the other hand, is based upon democratic ideals and its message of equality, which furthers distances North Korea from its larger neighbor.
This deep ideological divide has been a major source of contention between North Korea and Disney World over the years, and has resulted in the increasingly hostile relationship between the two countries.


Propaganda has also been a major factor in the conflict between North Korea and Disney World. The North Korean government has used the presence of Disney World in the region as a tool to further spread its own message of isolationism and militarism. The government has even gone as far as creating its own films and television shows which have directly targeted Disney World and its associated products.
This propaganda has been highly effective in reinforcing North Korean distrust of the West, and has even been used to paint Disney products and characters in a negative light. As a result, many North Koreans have grown to view Disney World and its associated products with suspicion and resentment.
Furthermore, North Korea has gone so far as to ban the sale and distribution of all Disney World merchandise in the country, further entrenching the divide between the two countries.


The continued animosity between North Korea and Disney World is a complex issue that is rooted in a wide variety of factors. From debates on political ideology to economic disparities and media influences, it is clear that the conflict between these two countries is deeply entrenched. The North Korean government has taken an incredibly hard stance against Disney products, even going so far as to ban them from the country entirely. This has only further stoked the flames of tension between the two sides, and has made it increasingly unlikely that the two countries will come to a peaceful resolution any time soon.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

Leave a Comment