As I said in the episode, a lot of the problems I have with these Disney world stories aren't really the fault of Nomura or of Kingdom Hearts. They are a by-product of some combination of the following:
- The original Grimm Brothers' source material
- The time period in which these movies were written/animated
- Walt Disney being a huge jerk in real life
I point them mostly to show how much different old Disney was to the more modern movies from the same company. Since Kingdom Hearts is, on a fundamental level, a love-letter to the many classic movies almost all of us grew up on, it's unfair to criticize it for drawing on that same source material.
That said, it is also important to highlight some of the choices that were made outside of the influence of the source material. The big one is that Aqua is almost always the one closing up the story of any given Disney world. Not only does that mean she is always a major actor in the events leading to the story's conclusion, but it means she's often a big reason why the Prince of a given story is able to find their true love. Considering that the women in these original stories were often demure, and lacking in any real agency, it's nice that they (deliberately or otherwise) have a female character make the choice to be a driving force in the plot. While it doesn't make up for Kairi, it goes a long way.
As of this update, we're done with the old-school Disney films. All the worlds from here on out will be drawing from the same pool of 90s-2000 era movies that the rest of the franchise uses. There's a lot of content out there that compares old Disney with new Disney, but it's still worth taking a look back to see how far we've come as a society every now and then.