Disney Parks To Allow Gender-Flexible Costumes


World of Color Fountains @ Disney, California (cc-by-2.0)

The Disney Parks are making a move to be more diverse and inclusive.

According to Deadline, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced on Tuesday, April 13, that Disney is focusing on a new guiding principle of inclusion by “creating a place where everyone is welcome.”

As D’Amaro wrote in a blog post, “Every Disney Parks cast member is familiar with our longstanding tradition of The Four Keys – Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency – which have guided our approach to guest service for more than 65 years.”

D’Amaro brought this up because the company is now adding on the fifth key of “inclusion.” He says this key will help “guide us as we interact with guests, collaborate together, create the next generation of Disney products and experiences, and make critical decisions about the future of our business.”

So how will the company attempt to uphold and follow this new key? First, the park itself will shift with new and improved rides or programs. This includes the upcoming Avengers Campus in Disneyland or the updated Prince and the Frog/Splash Mountain ride in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. As for the programs side, Disney is boasting about the Disney Dreamers Academy mentorship program.

Fireworks at Disney in Orlando Florida. / Image via Abacoaseo (cc)

“We’re looking at other traditions, too,” D’Amaro added, “including the policies that guide how our cast members show up for work. Our new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos. We’re updating them to not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work.”

This Fifth Key may also be affecting the filmmaking side of Disney too. Earlier this year, Disney released a new Disney princess movie called Raya and the Last Dragon. That film starred a Southeast Asian princess and was inspired by Southeast Asian culture. In December of 2020, Disney announced that Lucasfilm and 20th Century Studios are working to bring Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel Children of Blood and Bone, a YA fantasy based on West African culture, to the big screen.

But that’s not all, Pixar just celebrated the December release of the animated film Soul on Disney+ and the film is an Oscars frontrunner for Best Animated Feature. Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is revving up the beginnings of its Phase 4 of programming. Not only will the franchise include several diverse characters, in both race and sexual orientation, in the movies, but also in its several Disney+ series. The list of diverse characters includes LGBTQ heroes Wiccan, Speed, Phastos, America Chavez, Ayo, Valkyrie, and more.

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