Disneyland has given certainly one of its most beloved sights a delicate, however inclusive, replace greater than 56 years after its park debut.
Final week, two dolls in wheelchairs have been added to the Anaheim, California, resort’s “It’s a Small World” boat journey as a part of an annual refurbishment. One of many dolls is featured in a scene representing South America, whereas the opposite seems through the attraction’s grand finale.
The 2 dolls are amongst greater than 300 audio-animatronics figures, designed to signify kids in conventional costumes from cultures all over the world, that seem contained in the journey. Their set up coincided with a particular holiday-themed overlay that may proceed by the top of Disneyland’s Christmas celebrations in January 2023.
Disney officers have mentioned that plans for the brand new dolls have been first proposed greater than six months in the past as a part of the resort’s total effort to replicate a extra “accurate representation of diversity around the world.”
The dolls can at the moment solely be seen in Disneyland’s model of “It’s a Small World,” however are anticipated to be added to the attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Paris subsequent yr.
Kim Irvine, Walt Disney Imagineering’s govt inventive director for Disneyland, advised HuffPost she felt “fortunate” to have helped add “new magic” to the journey by spearheading the replace.
“I am passionate about creating a deeper connection to our parks by honoring the diversity among us through our attractions,” she mentioned in an electronic mail, “and am thrilled with this addition that builds on the legacy of representation in ‘It’s a Small World.’”
Echoing these sentiments was Erin Quintanilla, supervisor of Disneyland’s accessibility crew, who mentioned she was consulted early within the planning course of to make sure that the brand new dolls “authentically represent those of us who live life on wheels.”
“From the bend in the child’s knee, to the push rim on the back of the wheels, each component truly represents how a child independently uses a wheelchair,” she advised HuffPost. “It’s also critical that the dolls move just like everyone else in order to be fully inclusive.”
“It’s a Small World” was certainly one of 4 Disney sights that have been initially developed for the 1964 New York World’s Truthful. It was relocated to Disneyland in 1966, with an almost similar model opening in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971.
The attraction is maybe finest recognized for its ubiquitous theme track, which was written by the Sherman Brothers, the Oscar-winning duo who composed the music for “Mary Poppins,” amongst different traditional movies. Artist and animator Mary Blair, who labored on “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella,” was answerable for the whimsical design of each the dolls and the units.
Since their debut final week, the brand new dolls have already drawn reward from incapacity inclusion advocates.
“Disney clearly sees the benefits of attracting a wider audience that is inclusive to everyone,” Jill Houghton, the president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Incapacity:IN, advised CNN final week. “We need to see more of this in pop culture, theme parks and entertainment if we want to be truly representative of the largest minority group in the world.”
She went on to notice, “The dolls are participating inclusively alongside their non-disabled peers, which is something we want to see more of, instead of being depicted as limited or incapable because of a disability.”