Black Santa Claus first appears in U.S. Disney parks this season

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Los Angeles (CNN) – Without any official announcement or fanfare, U.S. Disney parks include a black Santa at this year’s Christmas celebrations for the first time in the 66-year history of the company’s theme parks.

Both at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, a black Santa has been seen at certain out-of-hours Christmas gatherings and parties.

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

Disney parks are the last place families can see a non-white portrait of Santa Claus, with more black Santa Claus appearing in recent years in malls and at a recent Oreo cookie commercial. On Friday, Old Navy hosts Santa Bootcamp, an inclusive online training program that encourages participation from “a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural heritages to provide more representation in the role of Santa Claus.”

As expected, Disney guests and the general public have turned to social media with strong opinions.

Twitter user @maciiannn posted, “I’m sure I just caught the first black Santa who has ever been to Walt Disney World and I’m seriously crying tears of happiness.”

But Twitter user @hawksmurray commented on the news and said, “Everyone knows Santa isn’t black, they shouldn’t make a black Santa just for a public relations stunt.”

Some users responded to this, saying “Everyone knows Santa isn’t real.”

Victoria Wade, an influencer of the social theme park that is black, tweeted about the inclusion of a black Santa in the Disney parks and wrote, “Never in my life did I think Disney would put a black Santa in the parks. parks”.

The move thrilled her and made her more likely to spend money attending the parks ’Christmas parties, she said in her post.

“With Disney implementing this change as part of its diversity and inclusion initiative, it really allows me to feel more comfortable and seen when I visit the parks,” he told CNN.

“Ultimately, it makes me feel more accepted, welcomed and I’m thrilled with what this will do for kids of all backgrounds when they visit Disney parks.”

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