Planning a holiday trip to Disney World or Disneyland? You might notice something a little bit different this season.
This year, Disney's two major U.S. theme parks will employ Black Santas — a first since both parks opened, according to CNN. One has already been spotted in a very high-profile role, in the Disney Very Merriest After Hours parade at the Magic Kingdom. Guests can also expect to spot more diverse Santas at meet-and-greets around the parks.
Disney told CNN that it wants its Santas to "reflect the diversity of surrounding communities" — and it's far from the first big corporation to make visiting with jolly old St. Nick a more inclusive experience. Among the most notable: Old Navy, which is even launching a virtual Santa workshop in an effort to attract more diverse Santas. Macy's has also employed diverse Santas at its iconic Herald Square store in New York City for several years.
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Disney hasn't been shy about changing with the times. Earlier this year, Disneyland updated its iconic Jungle Cruise ride to remove what many had criticized as offensive portrayals of Indigenous people. Both parks have been updating Splash Mountain so that it is no longer based on the controversial, racially charged "Song of the South" musical. Employee dress codes have also become more gender-inclusive.
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