Disneyland provides dolls in wheelchairs to ‘It is a Small World’ experience
Anaheim, California (CNN) — For the primary time in Disneyland’s 67-year historical past, there at the moment are characters in wheelchairs represented on an attraction.
On Friday morning, two dolls in wheelchairs had been unveiled on the theme park’s “It is a Small World” experience, a undertaking that took greater than half a yr and concerned each Disney creatives and the park’s accessibility group.
The change was a part of an ongoing effort of trying on the resort “with a magnifying glass” for alternatives for inclusion, mentioned Kim Irvine, government artistic director of Walt Disney Imagineering for Disneyland Resort.
Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Incapacity:IN, a nonprofit that works on enterprise incapacity inclusion, known as the brand new dolls “a unbelievable addition.”
“The dolls are collaborating inclusively alongside their non-disabled friends, which is one thing we need to see extra of, as a substitute of being depicted as restricted or incapable due to a incapacity,” Houghton mentioned in an announcement to CNN.
She famous that the Individuals with Disabilities Act was handed in 1990, “however nothing on this legislation compels companies to extend illustration.
“Disney clearly sees the advantages of attracting a wider viewers that’s inclusive to everybody. We have to see extra of this in popular culture, theme parks and leisure if we need to be really consultant of the most important minority group on the earth,” Houghton mentioned.
The “It is a Small World” attraction, designed by Disney artist Mary Blair, opened in 1966 in Anaheim, California, after it was introduced on the 1964-65 World’s Truthful in New York.
The identical experience was added to different Disney parks all over the world, the place friends board a ship and sail by means of a number of international locations, that includes greater than 300 Audio-Animatronics figures representing kids from all over the world.
Irvine mentioned the brand new additions match into the spirit of the unique attraction.
“What a beautiful story that Walt and Mary Blair, and the unique Imagineers, put collectively concerning the kids of the world and our unity all below one vibrant solar — and the way we actually ought to rejoice collectively in that.”
The dolls that at the moment are in wheelchairs had been initially standing. Irvine mentioned the identical characters with the identical clothes had been recreated in a seated place, in wheelchairs designed to match the Mary Blair model.
One doll is positioned within the experience’s South America scene, and the opposite seems within the last scene the place dolls from many international locations sing collectively.
Including ‘significant issues’
The attraction at Disneyland reopened on Friday after a short closure for the addition of those dolls and the set up of vacation décor for the “It is a Small World Vacation” version of the experience that can run by means of early January.
Whereas the vacation décor is seasonal, the dolls in wheelchairs are a everlasting addition.
Dolls with wheelchairs are additionally anticipated to be added to “It is a Small World” in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris someday subsequent yr.
However as a result of every resort’s model of the experience has a unique format and totally different units, these new dolls and wheelchairs shall be designed with the particular model of the experience in thoughts.
“I believe that’s positively one thing that the unique Imagineers would embrace and suppose was fantastic that we had been taking a look at issues like this,” Irvine mentioned.
“We’re all the time seeking to improve our points of interest with not simply enjoyable issues, however significant issues as effectively. And holding well timed with what’s occurring on the earth, and particularly, you realize, making issues new.
“I do know we by no means need our points of interest to change into so predictable that you could possibly experience them together with your eyes closed and know what is going on on in there. We wish to always be shocking you with new issues and vital issues, particularly related issues.”
The brand new dolls had been the results of a greater than six-month collaboration.
Disneyland Resort/Christian Thom
Erin Quintanilla, supervisor of accessibility for the Disneyland Resort, mentioned this was a historic second.
“I really feel seen. I really feel represented. It is a monumental second to have my group be in an attraction and represented,” mentioned Quintanilla, who makes use of a wheelchair. “I teared up once I noticed them within the attraction.”
Quintanilla mentioned her group had been approached by Disneyland creatives who needed so as to add these dolls. Her accessibility group made certain the look was genuine, all the way down to the angle of the dolls’ ft on the wheelchair footplates.
“We needed to ensure that it was an individual in a wheelchair who was independently shifting by means of life. So we did not need the wheelchair to really feel like a hospital model wheelchair. You will discover within the design, it is superbly created to align with a Mary Blair model,” mentioned Quintanilla.
“However there are particulars of the wheelchair like having a push rim in order that the doll would be capable of transfer by means of the story in a method that I transfer by means of the world. So it is fairly particular to have these particulars be correct,” Quintanilla mentioned.
Different adjustments from Disney
New dolls haven’t been added to the Disneyland model of this experience since 2009.
At the moment, a “Spirit of America” room was added, together with three Native American dolls and characters from the film “Toy Story.”
Extra dolls of particular Disney characters had been added all through the attraction.
As a part of general efforts to enhance inclusion and variety in its theme parks, Disney lately introduced altering the Splash Mountain attraction, which relies on characters from “Tune of the South,” right into a theme impressed by “The Princess and the Frog,” that includes Disney’s first Black princess.
High picture: Disneyland has added dolls who use wheelchairs to the “It is a Small World” experience.