Disney Theme Parks Introduce Black Santa Clauses for the First Time Ever This Holiday Season

·2 min read

The Christmas spirit is getting a much-needed upgrade in inclusivity this holiday season at Disney theme parks.

For the first time in their operation history, both Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Disney World in Orlando, Florida have included Black cast members in the role of Santa Claus in their holiday character lineups.

As seen on TikTok user rozyqueenofcups's page, a Christmas parade procession saw a Black Santa waving from a sleigh parade float.

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"I can't express how magical this moment was. Thank u @disneyparks for the representation," Rozy, who refers to herself as a "#ProudDisneyAdult, wrote, including the hashtags #blacksanta #verymerriest #representationmatters and #disney.

The change in casting Santa Claus was implemented by Disney without an announcement or PR fanfare.

A Disney spokesperson told CNN that Santa Claus is represented in different ways in communities around the world, and "in that spirit, Santa Claus will reflect the diversity of surrounding communities at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort."

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Victoria Wade, a theme park social media influencer, also spoke to CNN, saying, "With Disney implementing this change as part of their diversity and inclusion initiative, it really allows me to feel more comfortable and seen when I visit the parks." 

"Ultimately it makes me feel more accepted, welcome and I'm thrilled at what this will do for children of all backgrounds when they visit Disney parks," she continued.

Disney is not the only brand to take a long-awaited new approach to the idea of Santa Claus.

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Last week a new Oreo commercial premiered featuring a Black Santa relaxing in the bathtub.

Additionally, a new ad for the Norwegian Postal Service celebrates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Norway with a heartwarming reinvention of Father Christmas.

In the ad, titled "When Harry Met Santa," Saint Nick finds himself falling in love with a man whose home he visits each year.