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After rethinking racist rides, Disney parks extend inclusion push to cast members, add adaptive costumes

  • April 15, 2021

As part of its efforts to create a welcoming environment, Disney Parks announced today that it is adding inclusion as one of its core guiding principles.

“We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in … their interactions with Disney,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences, and products, in a blog post introducing the initiative. “And we want our cast members – and future cast members – to feel a sense of belonging at work.”

D’Amaro said that the company will modify its policies so that park employees will have more flexibility to reflect their cultures and individuality on the job. This will include things such as gender-neutral hairstyles and costuming. For example, the parks will be introducing adaptive costumes to accommodate employees in wheelchairs. 

Disney parks will be introducing adaptive costumes to accommodate employees in wheelchairs.

The Disney parks have a history of enforcing strict appearance guidelines for cast members. For example, beards were forbidden for employees until as recently as 2012. 

According to Disney, it has long included “The Four Keys” of safety courtesy, show and efficiency as part of the training for the employees, known as cast members, which work at its theme parks. D’Amaro says that a fifth key, inclusion will now be added to the list.

Splash Mountain and Jungle Cruise.

Instead of referencing the controversial film, “Song of the South,” which has been identified as racist and offensive, the Splash Mountain log flume rides at Disneyland and Disney World will be re-themed to focus on Disney’s first Black princess, Tiana, from Disney’s animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”

The Jungle Cruise at Disneyland and Disney World had been criticized for its depictions of Indigenous people, and Disney announced early this year the attraction would be updated to better “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us.”

Jungle Cruise gets an update:Disney World, Disneyland to update Jungle Cruise’s depictions of Indigenous people

Disney’s first Black princess themed ride:Splash Mountain to get new theme amid calls to ditch racist history

Re-Imagineered Epcot, Avengers Campus and more on the way to Disney parks

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