Disneyland Makes A Fantastic Change To It’s A Small World

Disneyland is adding dolls in wheelchairs to the It's A Small World attraction.

By Britta DeVore | Published

Disneyland has found itself at the center of several controversies over the past year with ever-rising prices and employees claiming that they were so underpaid that they were turning to sex work (which there’s nothing wrong with!) to survive. Well, now the juggernaut amusement park is back in the headlines, but this time for a great reason. In a video, which you can see above, the theme park has made the move to become more inclusive by adding dolls in wheelchairs to the beloved “It’s a Small World” ride. 

CNN first broke the news that two of the dolls featured in Disneyland’s beloved ride were given wheelchairs, with one appearing in the South America sequence while the other can be seen featured in the final scene where dolls from every country and continent are on full display. The decision was passed down from the park’s creatives, better known as Imagineers, who first approached Erin Quintanilla, the manager of accessibility for the Disneyland Resort, with their idea. Over the ride’s 51 years in operation, this is the first time that such representation has taken place.

The change was one close to Quintanilla’s heart as she uses a wheelchair and spoke about how great it felt to be “seen” and “represented” by Disneyland’s decision. She added that upon first spotting the dolls, she “teared up.” With the help of Quintanilla and her team, the Imagineers were able to craft the dolls in such a way that they accurately depicted wheelchair users, down to detailing the angle at which the dolls’ 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 roll-out of inclusivity to its attractions. Executive Creative Director of Walt Disney Imagineering for Disneyland Resort, Kim Irvine said that she and her team are pushing to continually “enhance” the already existing rides at the park while bringing in exciting and fresh ideas with their new attractions. She added that she sees the importance of “keeping timely 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 yet annoying song now stuck in their head for the rest of the day, “It’s a Small World” is a classic ride at the Disney parks that’s been a staple since it first opened in 1971. Found in Disneyland’s Fantasyland area, visitors board boats that take them around the world, putting various cultures on display as over 300 animatronic dolls sing the ride’s theme song.

Equal parts wholesome, creepy, and informative, the ride has been a must-stop for the park’s visitors. 

Keeping up with the times, Disneyland has continued to deliver when it comes to bringing in attractions that its visitor base wants. From Avengers Campus which features adventures centered around Marvel characters including Black Panther’s M’Baku and Captain Marvel to the incredibly popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the park continuously proves that it has something for everyone. And through making more characters reflect the world as a whole, Disney’s bound to only continue driving up their attendance.