Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Resort is designed to be wheelchair accessible and reduce anxiety in children who are sensitive to sensory stimulation. Walt Disney Imagineering consciously made this design effort in order to be considerate and inclusive of “every single guest.”
Imagineers Focus on Inclusion in Mickey’s Toontown
Closed for over a year as it was redesigned, Mickey’s Toontown reopens to the public on March 19. The new imagining of the space pays homage to the original land made available to the public in 1993. Iconic buildings, such as Mickey’s house, Pluto’s Dog House, and Minnie’s home are still present and intact. Originally geared towards younger children, the major changes in this land lie within its inclusive design choices.
Anyone visiting Disney parks has seen young children having less than an ideal day from time-to-time. The sheer volume of input, changes in a child’s typical schedule, and exposure to overwhelmingly exciting experiences can be a lot for a little one to take in.
Disney Imagineers have taken this idea to heart in designing new, thoughtful additions in Mickey’s Toontown, with special attention paid to audio and visual inclusions.
Existing structures have received cosmetic touchups, giving the area a clean and new appearance. Slightly muted tones have replaced the brighter colors, making the overall look a little easier on the eyes. Some characters have even received new costumes.
The music and sound in the area have also received an overhaul, with some spaces playing quieter, relaxing scores to help alleviate some audio-induced anxiety in younger guests. Some play space sound effects have been dampened to help with this as well.
According to CNBC’s Sarah Whitten, Jeffrey Shaver-Moskowitz, executive portfolio producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, is quoted as saying: “We want every child to know that when they came to this land that this land was designed for them. That they were seen, and that this place was welcoming to them.”
Imagineers have included areas to help rest a youngster’s anxiety, including accessible play spaces and quieter areas for kids and adults to relax and recoup for a moment. Purposeful shade has also been designed into Mickey’s Toontown to ensure guests can take a break from the California heat.
In addition, the entire area has been made wheelchair-accessible. Not only can slides in play spaces be accessed by guests in a wheelchair, but the new CenTOONial Park’s “Dreaming Tree” also has a wheelchair-accessible path to help all guests participate in the over, under, and through lessons taught by the tree’s sprawling roots.
In addition, many slides in the land are “roller slides,” which help younger children with less mobility in their legs. These children are less likely to find themselves stuck at the bottom of slides that include this extra feature.
Mickey’s Toontown has also considered the youngest of guests. A special section has been cordoned off just for babies, allowing these little ones to crawl and explore the area safely.
Will you or your children be taking advantage of the new inclusive offerings? What are your thoughts on them? We’d love to see your opinions in the comments below!