Silletas at Downtown Disney District

New Silleta Floral Displays Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Downtown Disney District

Several new silletas – floral displays – can be seen throughout Downtown Disney District right now. These displays are inspired by the flowers of Isabela in “Encanto,” and each silleta represents a different Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) at The Walt Disney Company. The silletas and the BERGs are part of Disney’s ongoing attempts to better promote diversity and inclusion.

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Source: Disney

Silletas are arrangements of flowers, usually built on wooden structures and carried on the backs of silleteros — flower farmers from Saint Elena in the mountains above Medellin. The annual flower festival, Feria de Las Flores, celebrates the 16-mile journey silleteros take down the mountain to deliver their flowers.

“When we worked with each of the BERGs, we wanted to take the lovely floral piece from Colombian culture and combine it with the culture or group of folks we’re celebrating to create something magical,” said Resort Enhancement Design Team Lead Jeff.

“It’s Isabela who creates these massive floral displays that honor these different communities and groups,” Jeff explained.

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“Our story starts with Isabela at the Poppy Fountain and continues throughout the district,” said lead designer Brett of Resort Enhancement. “This project is really exciting for me because it’s a touchstone for bigger conversations. To be involved in designing the silletas that reflect other groups’ identities and have the level of acceptance that we’ve had is extremely rewarding and humbling.”

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“There’s also something really special about celebrating our Cast Members, who are at the core of this entire display, in the Downtown Disney District,” Jeff added.

It seems not every silleta is on display yet, but here’s a look at the ones that are and the stories behind all of them.

COMPASS

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Source: Disney

The COMPASS silleta honors the Disneyland Resort COMPASS BERG, which represents the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and allies for the purpose of enhancing Cast, guest, and community relations through cultural awareness and business practices.

“The COMPASS silleta resembles the water that connects Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Hawaii, and features specific plant materials and regional flowers that are important to the diverse countries,” said Jeff. This silleta includes traditional flowers like orchids, jasmine, and lotuses which are specific to some of the different cultures represented within COMPASS.

This silleta is not on display yet.

PRIDE

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The PRIDE silleta represents the Disneyland Resort PRIDE BERG, which is a welcoming and driving force focused on fostering an environment where all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and allied Cast Members feel encouraged to be authentic inside as well as outside Disney.

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“The PRIDE silleta was really personal to me, and at this moment may be very personal for a lot of folks,” said Jeff. “This silleta displays the progressive Pride colors, which is trans-inclusive and inclusive of folks who are of color. It is really pushing for the statement of progress here at the Disneyland Resort.”

SHALOM

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The SHALOM silleta represents The Walt Disney Company’s SHALOM BERG, which celebrates the stories and identities of Jewish employees and Cast Members while fostering advocacy, education, inclusivity, and allyship.

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“The SHALOM silleta has very specific plants that are indigenous to Israel,” said Jeff. “This includes flowers found in the springtime of Israel like poppies, cyclamen, and narcissus.”

Also found on the silleta is an olive tree with six olives, representing the six pillars of the SHALOM BERG’s mission – synergy, history, allyship, legacy, obligation, and meaning. There is also a plaque that says SHALOM in Hebrew along with a simple, inspirational message of “Peace” translated below it.

WIN

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The WIN silleta represents the Disneyland Resort Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) BERG, which embraces a world where women are inspired and empowered to achieve their greatest potential.

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“This silleta is honoring the traditional Colombian silleta and its shape by using materials like lilies and orchids that are traditional to Colombian culture, but done in colors like purple that represent Women’s History Month,” said Jeff.

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The WIN silleta also features plant materials like thistles, which were inspired by Isabela’s love of unconventional plants. The touches of white florals around the silleta represent Minnie Mouse’s iconic white polka dots.

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SALUTE

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Source: Disney

The SALUTE silleta represents the Disneyland Resort SALUTE BERG, which is committed to enhancing the Disney experience for those who have sacrificed in support of the military. The Resort Enhancement team worked closely with members of the SALUTE BERG to represent the six branches of the military – Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marines Corps, and the Space Force – with six associated colored stripes.

“Color was very important in the design,” said Jeff. “We wanted to make sure that folks who were in those branches of the military could see themselves in the display.”

This silleta is not on display yet.

NAATV

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The NAATV silleta represents The Walt Disney Company’s NAATV BERG, which serves as a place of belonging for Native American and Indigenous colleagues and allies. 

“The NAATV silleta has very specific symbolism in the plant material and color choices,” said Jeff. “We worked with our NAATV BERG to make sure that the materials being used feel personal to the Indigenous and Native American community, as well as the Southern California community.”

The silleta features a circle divided into four quadrants that represent the physical, spiritual, social, and emotional balance in a person’s life, as well as arrows from the north, south, east, and west pointing toward the middle to represent coming together to form a community. Other elements in the NAATV silleta include medicinal plants like sage and indigenous flowers to Southern California like wildflowers and poppies.

PULSE

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The PULSE silleta represents the Disneyland Resort PULSE BERG (People United to Lead, Serve, & Excel), which advocates for celebrating Black culture, nurturing educational and professional development and well-being for Cast Members of African and Caribbean descent and backgrounds.

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“The PULSE silleta has a variety of flowers that celebrate the diaspora that is the Black and African American communities,” said Jeff. “The flowers in a ring around the silleta are pulled from Africa, the Caribbean, and all around the globe to show the growth out of the continent of Africa and how the community has grown throughout the world.”

These flowers include African violets and hibiscus, which are visible throughout the outer ring of the silleta.

HOLA

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The HOLA silleta represents the Disneyland Resort HOLA BERG, which supports the advancement of Hispanic, Latino, and allied Cast Members by impacting marketplace opportunities, championing and developing Hispanic and Latine leaders, and fostering a culturally diverse environment.

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This silleta is a significantly bigger display than the others, featuring 27 flags in alphabetical order representing 27 nations of the Latine and Hispanic communities.

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The plant materials are indigenous to various countries in South and Central America.

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“Colombia is part of the Latinx community,” Jeff said, “and we celebrate that with specific materials that would be in very traditional Colombian silletas.”

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Plants like gladiolus, sunflowers, and lilies are found on the HOLA silleta and are commonly found in traditional Colombian silletas.

ENABLED 

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The ENABLED silleta represents the Disneyland Resort ENABLED BERG, which promotes respect, equality, and appreciation of people with disabilities through community, awareness, education, and inclusion.

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“This silleta is representing a really diverse group of folks,” said Jeff. The Resort Enhancement team was intentional behind every material used, specifically with the gold-colored flowers behind the cognitive symbol (the infinity symbol). “For example, gold has been embraced by the autistic community because in the periodic table of elements, gold is represented with the letters AU, which are the first letters of the word autism.”

“The silletas have little hidden meanings in them,” said Jeff. “Whether it’s the colors or species of flowers, we wanted to make sure that each silleta is honoring the community that we are trying to celebrate.”

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