Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cultural Diversity Gems

Two recent events in Disney news have caught my eye lately, in that they illustrate Disney's effort to respectfully appeal to a diverse audience.  First, a new children's television show has been announced, featuring the children of the world from the it's a small world attraction at the parks.  There's been a sneak peek released of "it's a Small World, the Animated Series", which depicts children exploring and learning about a new country each episode.  

I am optimistic about this effort, imagining kids meeting new friends and learning about unique and special customs, food, clothing from each region.  A healthy combination of stylish Mary Blair-reminiscient art and fun cultural diversity sounds like a winning idea to me.  And with the success of previously pioneering shows like Dora the Explorer I have no doubt many kids will embrace this fun series.

The development of this series combined with iasw's recent new merchandise line proves that this attraction truly stands the test of time and achieves its message of world peace almost half a century after its creation.

Photo from the Disney Parks Blog

Moving along to the Disneyland Resort, a new holiday celebration has debuted in Disney California Adventure park.  Disney ¡Viva Navidad! celebrates Latino culture and customs, and is currently taking place from November 15 to January 6.  Components of this new Holiday Time offering include a festive street party featuring beloved characters Jose Carioca and Panchito, live mariachi and samba musicians and dancers, and Mexican mojiganga puppets (giant figures made of paper and cardboard used in celebrations).  Other offerings include face-painting, dance lessons, and a whole menu of comida latina that has gotten some great reviews! 

Above photos from the Touring Plans Blog

This new addition to the Disney Parks' already impressive holiday-exclusive draws seems to be a huge win.  The location is prime as well, as being from Arizona I am familiar with the rich Hispanic population in the Southwest United States.  Embracing the colorful and longstanding traditions that many people who frequent Disneyland celebrate is a great way to encourage diversity and promote learning in a fun way.


  1. Just saw all this now—the "it's a Small World" merchandise is nice quality and quite attractive, as is the notion of the new animated series. But I'm absolutely stumped as to why the producers felt the need to write/compose/pay for a new theme song for the show as opposed to using the Sherman Brothers original beyond a brief musical intro? The Company OWNS all the rights to the attraction music!!! Has the synergy thing been cast aside?

    ¡Viva Navidad! is a tasteful and logical addition, it smacks of the original Epcot Center's World Showcase in many ways, which is always a nice treatment! Not to mention the always-welcome addition of our favorite feathered friends: ¡OlĂ© Los Tres Caballeros!

    1. Dan - I wonder if the attraction song will be featured at all within the series. If not then yes that would be a really confusing shame. I love the hippo plush but I always have to remind myself that I don't have any room for plush!! It's just not practical enough to warrant a purchase right now. I wish I could experience Viva Navidad, it really sounds like so much fun. Hopefully it sticks around for years to come!