We are thrilled to be in full swing for “Celebrate Her Story” in celebration of Women’s History Month now through the end of March while continuing to “Celebrate Soulfully” across Disney Parks through special entertainment, merchandise, food and beverage, and more during the month of February and all year long. Earlier this month, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Cultural Advisor on Disney Pixar’s “Soul” and Author of “African Proverbs for All Ages” visited Walt Disney World to experience all of the celebrations firsthand.
Dr. Cole lent her talents and expertise from a decades-long career in anthropology to Pixar filmmakers and artists who created Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” helping to craft characters and storylines that were authentic and inspired by real-life people, down to the smallest detail. For example, upon seeing Joe Gardner brought to life in Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” Dr. Cole shared that Joe’s very socks were inspired by the socks her father used to wear. Seeing Joe Gardner, a character Dr. Cole poured so much heart and soul into, honored as part of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration was a moving and emotional experience. “It does no harm to be grateful,” is a motto Dr. Cole lives by, and she remains filled
“Celebrate Her Story” is an especially important time of year for Dr. Cole who has been a trailblazer for women throughout her impressive career as an anthropologist, museum director, and president for Spelman College among many other noteworthy achievements. She is passionate about creating open spaces for women and forging new paths for diversity and inclusion.
During her time in the parks, Dr. Cole was also able to visit EPCOT during the International Festival of the Arts and came across various works of art inspired by “Soul” to add to her own collection, including “Joe in the Flow” by artist Larissa Marantz.
Dr. Cole also felt privileged to speak to Disney College Program participants and club members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse throughout the month, imparting words of wisdom and encouragement to local students. “You must find a way to soar to the height of your possibilities,” Dr. Cole shared with the students. “You might get knocked down sometimes, but remember, ‘Down seven, up eight.’ Figure out a way to get back up and take that next step forward to go further than you were before.” Dr. Cole, along with artist Nikkolas Smith and author Fred Joseph, discussed the importance of diversity, inclusion, and the lessons from their respective work to children of all backgrounds and ages.
Disney Parks continues to “Celebrate Soulfully” year-round, and check out all the ways you can “Celebrate Her Story” through the month of March. You can also experience the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration now through March 31, 2023.