Disney World Updates Another Classic Attraction in Inclusivity Push

Disney Parks are working to bring more "inclusion" into the rides and attractions that they offer around the globe. The company recently announced that Splash Mountain would be permanently closed to create a new The Princess and the Frog-themed ride. Also, Jungle Cruise has been reimagined at both Disney World and Disneyland. Now as of March 1, 2023, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, added a new doll to its "it's a small world" attraction featuring a boy in a wheelchair playing the flute. The doll debuted at Magic Kingdom in Florida this week after two other wheelchair-using dolls joined Disneyland in California's "it's a small world." As part of its announcement of the new doll, Disney said, "We remain committed to our ongoing work to champion inclusivity and are excited for what the future brings as we continue to reflect the beauty of our individual experiences. It doesn't matter who you are. If you are a guest in our park or a cast member, we celebrate you — your background, your culture, your identity — and we welcome you every day."

"When you go on this ride, it's supposed to represent the children of the world. There's a whole subset of kids that could never see themselves because (the dolls) are standing there, they're dancing, they're moving," said Melissa Temple, who founded Disabled DISventures to share tips with fellow travelers who are disabled, told USA Today. "Now they have one in a wheelchair, and they can see themselves and be like, 'Hey yeah, that is me.' "This is the first time someone like me is represented in an attraction at the Disneyland Resort." Disney accessibility manager Erin Quintanilla told the Disney Parks Blog when the Disneyland dolls debuted over the holidays. Disney World had mannequins with wheelchairs and cochlear implants in their merchandise displays in the past.

A co-chair of The Walt Disney Company's ENABLED Business Employee Resource Group, Quintanilla worked on the dolls with Disney Imagineers and Resort Enhancement, Animation, and Wardrobe from start to finish. "I was able to help consult on the design of the wheelchairs so that the dolls authentically represented those of us who live life on wheels," she said. "It's also critical that the dolls move just like everyone else in order to be fully inclusive." Walt Disney company places a high priority on inclusion as one of its Five Keys. Guests with disabilities regularly praise Disney parks' accessibility measures. Disneyland Paris is also planning to introduce a wheelchair-using doll in the near future.