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Disney Imagineering reimagines this land to be more inclusive

Disney Imagineering reimagines this land to be more inclusive

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See all the ways Disney Imagineering thoughtfully reimagined this land with new interactive spaces and play areas.

Thoughtful Reimagining

Credit: Monica

It’s easy to see how children of all ages are enjoying the newly reopened Mickey’s Toontown, but what might not be as apparent is that Disney Imagineers got input from cast members with disabilities to thoughtfully reimagine the land with new interactive spaces and play areas designed to allow guests to see, hear and interact with one another in various ways.

Throughout the project, the WDI team talked with Disney cast members in ENABLED, a Disney Business Employee Resource Group that promotes respect, equality and appreciation of people with disabilities.

We wanted to make sure we were designing for differing abilities, and creating as many opportunities as possible to play.

Elliot Rosenbaum, producer at Walt Disney Imagineering

Space For Everyone

Credit: KtP

Disney Accessibility Manager Erin Quintanilla, a leader in ENABLED, helped Disney Imagineers create a space for everyone to play. Cast from ENABLED were brought in early to provide their perspective on the reimagined land, down to the tiniest details.

“In Goofy’s House, you will see that one of the junior woodchucks is using a wheelchair,” Erin said. “Seeing that representation in the ‘toon world’ was so important.” Erin also notes efforts to make the land a place that represents cast members with disabilities as well, including podiums accessible for cast who use wheelchairs.

Allowing people who identify with a disability to be part of that conversation … was important the whole way through.

Disney Accessibility Manager Erin Quintanilla

Training and Changes

Credit: Susan

Beeta Laskowski, an operations training manager, said cast took part in “training around disability awareness, [including] using the knowledge to help provide individualized recommendations for guests.” The training dovetailed the story of Mickey’s Toontown with disability awareness, encouraging cast to interact with guests in the way each individually may prefer to play and engage with the story.

Credit: Disney

The spirit of the land is that there are experiences for everyone. Some of the ToonTown changes at Disneyland included:

  • A virtually curb-less land, to help young guests still learning to walk and those using wheelchairs or mobility devices to play, experience and get around the land with ease.
  • A reimagined Goofy’s House and the all-new Goofy’s How-To-Play Yard, with interactive elements that allow kids to explore in an approachable sensory experience.
Credit: Disney
  • A reimagined version of Donald’s Boat in Donald’s Duck Pond, which guests can engage with the interactive portholes on the boat.
  • A wheelchair-accessible food and beverage podium, so cast in wheelchairs are better able to assist guests with their orders at Café Daisy.
  • Newly designed reversible costumes that mix and match, with textured fabric to help cast with differing levels of visual ability select their costume with ease while showcasing their individual personalities.
  • Incorporating Braille into the tree roots at CenTOONial Park, so as children explore they will come across the words “dream” and “play.”
  • Open green areas with shade from trees to allow children to play in the grass or decompress and unwind on the lawn.

Water Elements

Credit: KtP

In contrast to the loud noises, bright colors and active stimuli at Goofy’s House and Goofy’s How-To-Play Yard, Donald’s Boat allows guests to interact with varying water elements as much as they feel comfortable. “Reinvigorating Mickey’s Toontown gave us a chance to dream big on behalf of our youngest guests. The most important thing we could give children and families is an inspiring place to play,” said Ryan Wineinger-Scott.

Water is one of those unique things that stimulates you and decompresses you at the same time.

Ryan Wineinger-Schattl, senior creative director at WDI

Everyone involved in the project said they have been thrilled to see how guests are enjoying the land, just as they had hoped.

There’s a new attraction, all-new interactive activations and play opportunities, new landscape and circulation layout, new colors, graphics, in-world storylines and more.

Disney Accessibility Manager Erin Quintanilla

What do you think of these changes? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments and share this post with a friend.

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