Story at a glance
- Walt Disney’s popular content and attractions have been criticized for a lack of diversity and even racism.
- The company has updated old films, as well as rides, to be more inclusive during its closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- As part of these changes, the company announced more gender-inclusive dress codes for park staff and cast members.
For all the little boys who wanted to be princesses and the girls who wanted to be heroes and everyone in between, Disney is "A Place Where Everyone is Welcome" — at least it’s trying to be.
Ahead of their theme parks’ planned reopening, Disney announced a new addition to "The Four Keys," the casts' long standing tradition of honoring safety, courtesy, show and efficiency: inclusion. As part of their renewed efforts, cast members will be allowed "greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression," including gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, costume choices and even tattoos.
"There’s more to do, but we’re committed to listening, learning and making meaningful improvements. The world is changing, and we will change with it, and continue to be a source of joy and inspiration for all the world," said Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, in a blog post.
The changes follow recent updates to Disney classics that acknowledge the racism in old films, such as "Peter Pan," "Dumbo" and "The Swiss Family Robinson," as well as attractions. The company took advantage of coronavirus closures to reimagine old rides, such as the “Jungle Cruise” and "Splash Mountain," replacing racist tropes with diversity.
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