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Designer Brings Groundbreaking Change to Disney Costumes

disney inclusive adaptive costumes for wheelchairs
Photo Credits: shopDisney/ Disney Parks Blog

Many Disney fans are familiar with the Walt Disney Company’s concentrated efforts to be more inclusive, particularly in the Disney Parks. Gender-neutral changes at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique recently caused quite a stir, and Disney’s notable focus on inclusivity in its most recent films has also turned new movies like Elemental into the talk of the town.

However, one of the pillars of inclusivity involves, by default, embracing any and every Disney Park visitor or Disney fan in every way possible — and one Disney employee has just made huge headway when it comes to costume designs for any individuals who use wheelchairs!

“Magic Should Be Accessible to Everyone”

Caroline Sanchez is the senior manager of product design for Disney Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing.

She has spent years designing costumes for roleplay or cosplay enthusiasts, but now Sanchez has brought her talent to Disney with a focus on creating “adaptive costumes and wheelchair wraps” that “are as magical as they are functional.”

caroline sanchez speaking with other design team members

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“Magic should be accessible to everyone,” Sanchez explained on the Disney Parks Blog. “There should be no limit to the magic that any adult or child can feel through roleplay and dress up.”

Disney aimed its spotlight at Sanchez’s work due to the celebration of Disability Pride Month and “honoring the diversity and intersectionality of the disability and neurodivergent communities through increased representation, celebration, education, and accessibility.”

“We are all greater than a single story and we all deserve to feel represented and understood, not only during heritage months but year-round,” the Disney Parks Blog stated.

A Whole New Wheelchair Wrap World

One buzzworthy new piece of apparel from Sanchez is the Little Mermaid Adaptive Wheelchair Wrap on shopDisney. This wrap cocoons the wheelchair in Ariel’s world through “a nine-piece set including colorful, whimsical details like Ariel’s rock, Triton’s shimmery castle and adorable Flounder riding the waves”!

According to Sanchez, this wheelchair wrap “was definitely a labor of love.” The design team (which was led by Sanchez and associate product design manager Julia Pita) took a huge number of factors into account, including bench locations in the Disney Parks that would allow Guests to stop and assemble the wheelchair wraps.

disney wheelchair wraps

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

There are wheelchair wraps available for Aladdin, Star Wars, Cinderella, Toy Story, and Incredibles 2 fans, as well!

Adaptive Costume Features

Adaptive roleplay costumes are also one of Sanchez’s passions. These costumes allow Guests to represent Disney princesses like Jasmine or Cinderella as well as superheroes or Pixar characters like Buzz Lightyear, but without any “feeling of exclusion.”

buzz lightyear adaptive inclusive costume features

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“I didn’t want it to feel like if you have to buy the adaptive version it’s different,” Caroline Sanchez declared.

Is There More to Come?

The designer and product manager also added that “the plan is always to expand the amount of characters we have” — so Disney fans can expect to see more and more inclusive Disney costumes coming onto shopDisney in the future!

Do you know anyone who would love one of these wheelchair wraps or adaptive roleplay costumes?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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