Disneyland continues to focus on diversity and inclusion with a small, yet subtle update in this year’s It’s a Small World Holiday attraction.
It’s a Small World Holiday
The It’s a Small World attraction was one of four Disney attractions that was produced for the 1964 Worlds Fair. The attraction then moved to Disneyland in 1966.
It is that time of the year when the Disneyland Resort transforms into a winter wonderland full of Christmas and holiday magic. It also means that another fan favorite holiday overlay is now available for all guests to enjoy. It’s a Small World Holiday includes over 300 animatronics representing singing children from nations all around the world.
Every holiday season, the holiday overlay is filled with decorations and two holiday carols, “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls”. The songs are interwoven with the original song for the attraction, “It’s a Small World” as guests set sail.
In addition to upholding its yearly holiday themed décor and soundtrack, two new dolls have been placed in the Latin American section and the finale. Both of the animatronic characters are featured in wheelchairs.
Disney’s Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
Imagineers worked with a special unit on park accessibility for over six months to design and produce the two new characters. Furthermore, they will remain in place when the attraction will go back to its non-holiday overlay. It is the first time in the park’s history to include characters in wheelchairs. Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris versions of the ride will also see similar dolls added in the next year.
Erin Quintanilla, manager of accessibility for Disneyland and a wheelchair user herself exclaimed, “I feel seen. I feel represented. It’s a monumental moment to have my community be in an attraction and represented. I teared up when I saw them in the attraction.”
Disneyland’s efforts to portray a more accurate representation of diversity around the world, “authentically represent those individuals who live life on wheels,” according to Quintanilla. Since their debut last week at the opening of the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort, the new inclusive dolls have already received praise from many disability inclusion advocates.
The It’s a Small World Holiday will continue through the end of Disneyland’s Christmas celebrations on January 8, 2023.