This Disney Park has completely redesigned a new area to increase accessibility for every kind of Guest, upholding new disability standards in line with the Fifth Key of Inclusion.
As modern society finally becomes more concerned with equitable access and disability rights, Guests with different types of needs expect the proper accommodations from Disney Parks, often raising the issue when a theme park fails to meet those needs. But beyond just a few accessible ride vehicles, more diverse dietary options, and the Disability Access Service, what is Disney doing to be more inclusive?
The answer comes in the form of Mickey’s Toontown, which originally opened in 1993 at the Disneyland Resort after the success of 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The themed area immersed visitors in the world of Disney cartoons, allowing them to interact with characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto at their homes and enjoy family-oriented attractions and play areas.
However, after the success of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort, Walt Disney Imagineering set out to bring a second version of the trackless dark ride to Southern California in time for the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration, kicking off the Disney100 anniversary. Moreover, Toontown itself closed for a year-long refurbishment, adding accessible touches such as reducing the amount of intensive visual or auditory stimuli for those with sensory issues.
Changes include the introduction of more green spaces, such as the new Toontown Grass by Roger Rabbit’s CarTOON Spin, as well as the former site of Chip n Dale’s Treehouse, and the upcoming CenTOONial Park expansion, all of which are places Disney is encouraging Guests to sit and unwind, even having the perfect picnic!
As executive portfolio producer, Jeffrey Shaver-Moskowitz told CNBC, their intention was to design a completely accommodating space for all children and their families, including play spaces to burn off energy, increased shade, and quiet spots to decompress from the stress of a Park day, “running from one attraction to another, one reservation to the next.”
The Imagineer discussed finding a balance between crafting an exciting land that was also welcoming to all, a philosophy supported by Walt Disney himself in his Opening Day speech back in 1955. In fact, WDI has dubbed a new play space centered in the middle of CenTOONial Park will include a real-life tree picked for its “cartoonish” features, such as large limbs and leaves, the “Dreaming Tree,” itself a heartwarming reference to Walt’s childhood hideaway.
What’s more, the Park draws inspiration from children’s museums and water play spaces to provide enriching activities for various types of play patterns and developmental milestones, including sensory-friendly water tables and large sculpted roots for climbing “under, over, and through.” In addition to a softer paint job and relaxing new audio loops, the redesign also features a lack of curbs, rendering the space completely wheelchair accessible, with even the slides able to accommodate mobility devices.
The all-new Mickey’s Toontown debuts to Guests in full today, March 19, 2023!