Disneyland is adding dolls in wheelchairs to its It’s A Small World attraction.
By Britta DeVore | Published
Disneyland has been at the center of several controversies over the past year with prices rising and employees claiming they are so underpaid that they turn to sex work (there’s nothing wrong with that!) to survive. Well, now the juggernaut theme park is back in the headlines, but this time for good reason. In a video, which you can see above, the theme park took the step to become more inclusive by adding dolls in wheelchairs to its beloved “It’s a Small World” attraction.
CNN was the first to break the news that two of the dolls seen on Disneyland’s beloved ride were given wheelchairs, one of which appears in the South American sequence while the other appears in the final scene where dolls from every country and every continent can be seen in full. The decision was made by the park’s creatives, known as Imagineers, who first approached Erin Quintanilla, the Disneyland Resort’s accessibility manager, with their idea. In the ride’s 51 years of operation, this is the first time such representation has taken place.
The change was close to Quintanilla’s heart as she used a wheelchair and spoke about how great it felt to be “seen” and “represented” by Disneyland’s decision. She added that when she first saw the dolls, she “torn up.” With the help of Quintanilla and her team, the Imagineers were able to create the dolls to accurately portray wheelchair users, detailing the angle at which the doll’s feet rested on the footplates.
The decision to make the monumental change to “It’s a Small World” is just the latest in Disney’s new rollout of inclusivity for its attractions. Kim Irvine, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering for Disneyland Resort, said she and her team are committed to continually “improving” the pre-existing rides at the park while bringing exciting and fresh ideas to their new rides. She added that she sees the importance of “keeping up to date with what’s happening in the world” and striving 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 stuck in their heads for the rest of the day now, “It’s a Small World” is a classic ride at the Disney parks that has been a staple since it first opened in 1971. Found in Disneyland’s Fantasyland area, visitors board boats that take them around the world, showcasing different cultures as more than 300 animatronic puppets perform the theme song of the sing ride.
Equal parts sane, creepy and informative, the ride was a must-stop for the park’s visitors.
Moving with the times, Disneyland has continued to deliver when it comes to bringing in attractions that its visitors want. From Avengers Campus with adventures around Marvel characters including Black PantherFrom M’Baku and Captain Marvel to the wildly popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the park proves time and time again that it has something for everyone. And by having more characters reflect the world at large, Disney will only continue to increase their attendance.