Disney has continued to place a larger emphasis on inclusion, including when it comes to Disney Cast Member training. In fact, Disney Park Cast Members worldwide — who have been trained in the Four Keys of Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency — are now trained in a Fifth Key: Inclusion.
As the Disney Parks continue to push for more inclusion, a Disney Cast Member is now speaking out on how he has seen the Parks make the effort.
Mark Feltner has spent the last 18 years working as a part of the Services for Guests with Disabilities team, advancing accessibility in the Parks for all who frequent them. He recently shared a bit of his journey on Disney Parks Blog:
“Disney’s commitment to inclusion means so much to me. Growing up in a small town in Indiana, I never knew someone with a mobility disability. I’m in a chair, so anyone can look at me and see that I am different. Yet, when I started my first role as a vacation planner at Magic Kingdom Park, there was someone who looked like me and was a leader. That made me feel like Disney might be the place for me.”
Mark has channeled his Masters level education, his passion for Guest services, and his personal experiences in a wheelchair to work on some of the parks most iconic rides.
“I’ve helped with many attractions including Mad Tea Party and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. One attraction will always stick out to me: Kali River Rapids. I worked with Walt Disney Imagineering and Facility Asset Management to think of a way for someone in a wheelchair to get into the ride vehicle without having to transfer out of their chair to sit on the dock, just to hop down into the boat. We were able to create a device that would allow the person with a disability to transfer straight across from their chair and then slide down steps that are wide enough. That way, each time the person transferred to another step, they felt secure.”
In new rides and existing rides alike, Mark shares that the team is proud of their continuous effort to include features such as trackless moving vehicles, captioning and audio description devices, wheelchair accessible platforms, and more.
Disney has several services available to Guests with special needs including their Disability Access Service, Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV) Rentals, Guides for Guests with Disabilities, assistance with visual, Hearing, and mobility Disabilities, Wheelchair Rentals, and Guest Health Care Services Presented by AdventHealth.
As for Mark, he writes that he’s excited to watch attractions becoming increasingly accessible to Guests with disabilities and proud to be able to have a hand in that.
I am fortunate enough that I get to be a part of a team that gets to think about the disability community and how they get to be a part of the magic,” he wrote. “There is always so much going on at Walt Disney World, so having a spotlight on disabilities from a cast or guest perspective helps all of us continue to learn.”