Disneyland is adding dolls in wheelchairs to its It’s A Small World attraction.
By Britta DeVore | Released
Disneyland has found itself at the center of several controversies over the past year, with prices ever soaring and employees claiming they are so underpaid they are turning to sex work (which is nothing wrong!) to survive. Well, now the Juggernaut amusement park is in the headlines again, but this time for a good reason. In a video you can see above, the theme park has taken the step to become more inclusive by adding dolls in wheelchairs to the popular It’s a Small World ride.
CNN first broke the news that two of the dolls featured in Disneyland’s beloved ride have been given wheelchairs, with one appearing in the South America sequence while the other is featured in the final scene where the dolls come out all countries and continents are fully exhibited. The decision was passed down by the park’s creative minds, better known as Imagineers, who first approached Erin Quintanilla, Accessibility Manager at Disneyland Resort, with their idea. This is the first time such a display has taken place in the ride’s 51 years of operation.
The change was close to Quintanilla’s heart as she uses a wheelchair and spoke about how amazing it feels to be “seen” and “represented” by Disneyland’s decision. She added that when she first discovered the dolls, she was “torn.” With the help of Quintanilla and her team, the Imagineers were able to make the puppets to accurately depict wheelchair users, down to the precise angle at which the puppets’ feet rest on the footplates.
The decision to make the monumental change to It’s a Small World is just the latest in Disney’s new introduction to inclusivity at its attractions. Kim Irvine, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering for Disneyland Resort, said that she and her team are pushing to continually “improve” the park’s existing rides while bringing exciting and fresh ideas with their new attractions. She added that she thinks it’s important to “keep up to date with what’s happening in the world” and strive to make the park a destination where everyone feels welcome.
For those who may not know and have the pleasure of not having the ride’s iconic but annoying song in their head for the rest of the day, It’s a Small World is a classic ride at Disney parks that has been a staple since it opened in 1971. In Disneyland’s Fantasyland area, visitors board boats that take them around the world and showcase different cultures while over 300 animatronic dolls sing the ride’s theme song.
Equal parts wholesome, spooky, and informative, the ride was a must-do for visitors to the park.
Keeping up with the times, Disneyland has continued to deliver when it comes to introducing attractions that its visitor base desires. From the Avengers Campus, which features adventures themed around Marvel characters, including Black Panther‘s M’Baku and Captain Marvel to the incredibly popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the park continually proves that it has something for everyone. And as Disney brings more characters to reflect the world at large, Disney will only continue to grow its attendance.