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Disney theme parks ditch gendered ‘boys and girls’ announcement to promote inclusivity

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Walt Disney World Resort

Disneyland and Disney World have dropped a gendered “boys and girls” greeting as “part of a broader effort” to promote gender inclusivity.

Fireworks shows at Disneyland and Disney World in Florida formerly began with: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dreamers of all ages.”

But the new announcement drops the gendered terms and instead simply welcomes “dreamers of all ages”.

Visitors were first greeted by the new inclusive message on Thursday (1 July) when the fireworks show was tested at Walt Disney World in Florida, according to the Orange County Register. Disneyland and Disney World fireworks displays had been paused since March 2020 because of COVID, but they made their official return on Sunday (4 July).

A Disney spokesperson told CBS News that the change is “part of a broader effort” towards greater inclusivity within the organisation. The spokesperson added: “It’s not about one or two things.”

A spokesperson for Tokyo’s Disneyland licensee, Oriental Land Company, told Deadline the company has also implemented a more gender-inclusive greeting at the Japanese theme park. The gender specificity in the Japanese greeting has been changed to simply welcome “everyone”.

The spokesperson told Deadline the change was made to make people of all sexual orientations and gender identities “feel comfortable in the park”.

fireworks Walt Disney World Resort

A view of fireworks, holiday lights and fanfare during a taping of a Disney Channel Holiday Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort on 5 November 2017. (Photo by Todd Anderson/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

In April, Disney announced they were aiming to make their experiences, parks and resorts more inclusive. Chairman Josh D’Amaro wrote in a statement: “We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney.”

D’Amaro added that Disney was adding “inclusion” as a fifth key component of its customer service.

These ‘keys’ – which also include safety, courtesy, show, efficiency and now inclusion – will guide the corporation 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”.

D’Amaro explained the inclusion key would also provide “greater flexibility” when it came to “forms of personal expression” for Disney’s thousands of employees. He said this would include flexibility around gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewellery, nail styles, costume choices and allowing “appropriate” visible tattoos.

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